Kitesurf at Essaouira Bay

Wind, Waves and Culture

  • Overview
  • Good to know
  • Getting there

Overview

Essaouira is a small UNESCO protected coastal city located on the western part of Morocco at the Atlantic Ocean. The town has a vibrant history and a diverse culture. The Old town Medina still looks like something from the past with all the different merchants and artisans selling their goods, clothing and spices in the narrow and enchanted lanes. For many years Essaouira has been a hub for diverse artists drawn to the colourful and ‘free spirit’ ambience. The locals are very friendly and happy to help, and the city has an easy going vibe. In this old fort town, everything is within the walking distance. Most of the accommodations (Riads) are located in the old town Medina, surrounded by many cosy cafes and markets, souks and bazaars and the central kitesurfing bay are just 10 min walk away along the beach front. Only a short flight away from Europe, Essaouira became a popular kitesurfing and surfing destination because of the notoriously known all year round wind and epic surfing conditions around the coast, great for both kite and surf beginners and more experienced riders. You can find anything here, from flat water river estuary to huge sandy bay with small kickers to world-class waves. It's windy and warm all year round; moreover, it's safe and family-friendly, extremely authentic and historical. This location is excellent for anyone wanting to relax, explore and enjoy watersports. It is a Muslim country, so nightlife is not big here, but some bars offer live music and other entertainment. If you get tired of the wind, you can always try surfing, SUP or yoga. Mountain biking, quad tours and of course camel or horse riding is also very popular here.

Good to know

VISAS: Visas are not generally required for stays up to 90 days. More information can be found in this guide. CURRENCY: MAD (Moroccan Dirham), EUR PRICES: Beer: €1-2 Food: Lunch €10-25 Accommodation: €10-80 pp Kite Lessons: 2H €64 Kite Gear rental: €35 per hour LANGUAGE: French, Arabic and Spanish INTERNET: Offered in most accommodations, but the signal can be weak. We recommended getting a Local SIM card. TRAVEL ADVICE: Don’t bring your drone to Morocco unless you have a special permit, it will be seized at the airport, and you will be fined. Moroccan Dirham is a closed currency therefore, you can only exchange in Morocco. Make sure that if you want to exchange some leftover bills, you do it before you go through security in the airport when leaving the country. Check this Lonely Planet guide for detailed health and insurance advise while traveling to Essaouira, Morocco. TEMPERATURE: Water temperatures range from 15 – 22°C / 59 - 71°F depending on the season, so a light 3/2 wetsuit is required most of the year. For the windy days, a windbreaker jacket and for the winter months a 4/3 wetsuit is recommended.

Getting there

NEAREST TOWN: Essaouira NEAREST CITY: Marrakech NEAREST AIRPORT: Essaouira [ESU], Marrakesh [RAK] or Agadir [AGA] Essaouira airport is only 16km away from the old town, and taxis or buses to the town are very easy to find. Taxi will cost around €25 (ask your accommdation to organis it for y and the bus is less than €3 per person. Transfer time from Marrakesh is 2,5h and Agadir 3h, request your accommodation provider to organise you reputable transfer (please note that transfer can cost you around €70 - €100+ each way). For a more cost-effective option, you can get a bus (Supratours) or rent a car. GETTING AROUND: Everything is effortless to reach by foot in Essaouira, to get to kite Beach from Medina is only 10 min walk. If you want to explore the surrounding area a bit further, then a rental car would be a good option.

  • Beach
  • Wind
  • Rules/Hazards

Beach

Essaouira Bay is a long stretched sandy beach located just outside of the town walls. The water is clean and shallow with a sandy bottom; a side onshore wind and plenty of space provide a safe environment for the learning kitesurfers. The island of Mogador, located just outside of the bay, stops the swell coming in the bay in front of the kite beach offering slow rolling and small steady waves with long intervals for beginner kitesurfers to learn. If you are a more advanced rider, you can go further left (south) of the bay where the island doesn't stop the swell, and the waves get bigger. In high tide, the river mouth further south of the kite beach fills up providing glassy conditions for some freestyle sessions. This river mouth lagoon is very dependent on the tides and is relatively small, fitting only a few riders at the time. Depending on the time of year and the wind direction you will hear kitesurfers referring to a ‘second beach’ 2km south of Essaouira. Diabat, a calm beach with beautiful small waves for surfing and great for kitesurfing. Many kiters choose to kite downwind there and get picked up by a quad or a camel for the return journey. More advanced kitesurfers have a great variety of wave spot for different level riders around Essaouira: Sidi Kaouki, The Cave and Moulay are only a few, most of the centres will run trips there almost every day. AMENITIES: Kite School, Gear Rental, Rescue boat, Beach Assistance, Gear Storage, Kite Shop, Kite/Gear Repair, Toilets, Shower, Parking, Cafe/Bar, Camping, Accommodation, Food Shop.

Wind

Essaouira is called ‘the city of the wind’ for a reason. The North - East trade winds Charkhi, bringing strong cross-on-shore/cross shore winds to Essaouira almost all year round. In the summer season, March to November and especially July to September the hot climate adds to the wind, and it can increase up to 30+ knots. The rest of the year there are often winds that come mostly from the south-west, creating some days that the wind may not be as predictable and slightly more cross-offshore but never the less still windy. Winter also brings some epic swells for surfers and wave riders. Generally, wind can be slightly more off-shore in the mornings, swinging and gradually increasing throughout the day and getting stronger in the afternoon. The wind can feel gusty as it is increasing, also depending on your position at the bay, due to the wind coming over town some areas are gustier than others. The average wind speed is 15 to 25 knots, but the thermal wind can add to the wind forecast by 5+ knots; therefore bigger kites will be used in the morning and the smaller size ones in the afternoon. If you are there in the summer and for wave riding smaller 7m or 9m kites will be used the most. For the winter months, occasional 12m days are expected. The air temperature can reach 27°C / 80°F and more in the summer months and can drop to 11-20°C / 51-68°F in the early season. There is plenty of sunshine all year round, and the weather is warm, but it is called ‘Windy city’ for a reason and a sweater/jacket and a beanie will come in handy at any time of the year especially after sunset. WIND DIRECTIONS: N, NE, S, SW WINDIEST MONTHS: High Season: May, June, July, August, September, October. Mid Season: March, April, November.

Rules/Hazards

There are no such rules, just a common sense - the main kite beach area is relatively large, sandy beach, no strong currents or rocks at the beach, therefore, the usual precautions when launching and landing the kite should be considered. Avoid kitesurfing near the town (the right side of the lagoon) as the winds are gusty and you can find hidden large rocks in the water. There are no such hard obstacles at the beach, but be aware of the horse and camel tours and the general population of tourists and locals at the beach, try to set up your equipment out of their way. *If you need kite related service like kite repairs, lessons or beach assistance please contact with the locally operating kite centre or camp. ** We always recommend seeking additional knowledge about the spot from local kite school or qualified instructors.

Info

Rider Level:
beginner, intermediate, advanced
Discipline:
freeride, waveriding, foiling
Spot Type:
Choppy, Small wave (up to 1m), Medium wave (up to 2m)
Launch area:
Sand
Tidal:
yes
Windiest Months:
Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov,

How it measures up

RATED
7.5
Beginner Friendly
Wind quality
Non-kiting activities
Nightlife
COSTS

    Around Essaouira Bay

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    The reviews say it all

    spot reviews

    7

    Good

    Essaouira Bay, Morocco

    Waves, gusty wind, fun town

    3 months ago
    8

    Large long sandy beach

    Essaouira Bay, Morocco

    Not much luck with wind during December but does get busy when it blows. Especially with kiting schools. Stay clear from the teaching area as some schools feel they own that public area when they stick their school pole in the sand :) Plenty of quieter areas down the beach, 7km downwind fun with a long walk back.Very cheap food and nice airbnb places to stay in, the locals are fairly friendly. Downtown gets busy and lot of things to see and buy. Do negotiate prices or look more into the non-touristic areas. Plenty of seafood at the port. A small non-professional Essaouira video on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8h0sbrPab4

    Wissam Annous
    Kingston Ontario Canada
    4 weeks ago