You’d be forgiven if you think time is slow as you walk along the Moroccan port town Essaouira, with its camels and horses, large dunes, and friendly locals.

Since the 18th century, Essaouira is a favorite among creative types. It is a vibrant Medina that is rich in culture and has many old traditions. There are restaurants, shops, boutiques, and a rooftop bar called Taros. These are magnets for artists, writers, musicians, and actors.

Jimi Hendrix is Essaouira’s most famous visitor. In 1969, he visited the city for eleven days. The Medina has not seen much visual change since then.

Kitesurfing in Africa: Where is it possible?

Many Moroccan destinations are popular with kitesurfers, including Tangier and Tahaddart. Because of its wind, Essaouira attracts kitesurfers from April to September each year. It is known for being the windiest African city.

The air was still on my first morning in Africa’s windiest city. These conditions are not ideal for kitesurfing.

Explora WatersportsExtreme water sports are a top priority in this area. To find out why, I was in Essaouira.

I joined a group of people on the beach to do a stretching and fitness class. Everyone was there to have fun and learn how to kitesurf. It was easy to make friends.

James Clark

While waiting for the wind, we spent the morning learning to surf. We were all dressed in wetsuits and surf boards, with enthusiastic attitudes.

Momo, our guide, took us to the beach edge and explained the basics to us. She also showed us how to balance. We did the rest as we headed out into the Atlantic Ocean on our surfboards.

It was an easy learning curve. After being battered by waves and the power of the boards a few times, I was able to get on the board and ride the wave. It was patience, great instruction, and balance that made it possible.

Kitesurfing: An introduction

Our hard work paid off later that morning with wind. To get our harnesses, we ran back to Explora Watersports.

The intensive training session taught us about the kite, how to use it and how to safely control it. Before our instructors deemed us ready, it was clear that we could not get near the ocean.

We were ready to fly the kite attached to our waists with the harness a couple of hours later. The kite was slowly thrown into the air, one at a. As we tried to hold on to the bar, our immediate reactions were overwhelming. This was exactly the opposite of what we were supposed to do.

It is important to keep the bar steady in order to control the kite. As the wind picked up, it was hard to control the kite. I was dragged along the shore for a while. With practice and the desire to not be laughed at by passers-by, we were all ready to jump into the ocean with the rest of our group.

We were able to understand that a kite can carry our body weight through the water.

I began to feel pulled through the water by gently steering the kite and rotating it in a figure eight pattern. We felt a sense of accomplishment and decided to stop for lunch.

James Clark

The moment of greatness

With a guide and at least 30m of ocean between us, it was difficult for me to get up in the water without the kite pulling me in opposite directions. I crashed the kite several times.

Mehdi, an instructor, helped me turn the board while the kite lifted me up into the air. I was carried for about a meter before being thrown into he sea.

You can only stay on the kiteboard if you keep trying. After a while, I was gliding between waves on the kiteboard with sea spray and wind in my face.