We recently caught up with Peter Peherstorfer, founder of Camino Surf Camp which is located in Sidi Ifni, Morocco. He shared why the more remote Sidi Ifni is such a rad place to surf.
Where do you hail from and what brought you to Morocco?
Hi guys, my name is Peter and I am from Austria – yep, right: Austria. As landlocked as one can get. Well, what brought me to Morocco? Basically it was thanks to some of my mates from back home who had been travelling to Morocco and told me about this place called Taghazout where people were surfing.
That was back in 2000 when I had just came back from a trip to Australia after getting infected with a surf-virus. As Morocco is easily accessible from Europe it became my winter surf destination.
How long have you been surfing for?
I started windsurfing when i was 10. My first time surfing was in February 2000 in Terrigal, Australia – a small village north of Sydney. I was 19 and was immediately hooked. After 7 years of surfing sporadically I decided in 2007 that it was time for me to move to the ocean. I now spend my summers in Spain and my winters in Morocco.
What makes surfing in Sidi Ifni so special?
Like many others, we first had a surf camp first in the Taghazout area. But after some years we moved further south. Basically, there are three main factors why we chose to move to Sidi Ifni.
As the majority of surfers heading to Morocco end up in the overcrowded area of Tamraght/Taghazout there is almost nobody further south. And that’s what we want to offer to our guests: They should be able to actually improve their surfing and not be fighting for waves with hundreds of other surfers!
There are basically four quality waves at the surf camp’s doorstep. To be honest, it’s not the same quality as Anchor Point in Taghazout. But then again most of our guests are not able to appreciate such a powerful, tubular wave.
We believe that it makes way more sense in terms of improving your surfing if you go for more easy and smooth waves and have less people in the water. This is what you find in Sidi Ifni.
While the Tamri peninsula to the north of Taghazoute makes this stretch prone to long flat spells this doesn’t happen in the Sidi Ifni area. It’s north-west oriented coastline picks up pretty much all of swell that is out there. For the bigger days there is a protected wave – perfect for intermediate surfers and longboarders alike.
How have things been in since the pandemic hit?
In March 2020 we were pretty lucky. The pandemic hit right after we closed our camp for the summer. Since then we could not open anymore. But with the ongoing development and administration of vaccines I am positive that we will open again in October 2021.
Where are most of your guests from?
The majority of our clients come from german-speaking countries – Austria, Switzerland and Germany of course. However, we do have international clients as well.
What services does your surf camp offer?
We have a wide range of services available for different budgets. From sharing a dorm dorm to private hotel rooms. Families or groups might consider renting one of our apartments. All accommodation options are 50m from water’s edge!
Surf wise we welcome all levels. From the absolute beginner to the advanced surfer we can offer tailor-made surfing classes to help our guests reach their goals. Also free-surfers are welcome of course!
Our surf courses include 3 hours of water-time per day, 1 hour of surf-theory, free equipment and beach-transfers if necessary, as well as video-analysis and a free organic-cotton, fair-trade surf camp T-Shirt.
To complete the surf-sleep-eat triangle, we pride ourselves on offering a tasty and nutritious combination of Moroccan and international cuisine in our surf camp kitchen.
We also have an ocean view rooftop terrace with a Sahara tent which is ideal for a post-surf chilling. There are also free mountain bikes, surfskates, a common-area with tabletop-games, and PS4 available at all times.
How have surf camps in Morocco evolved over the last 10 years?
Puhhh – a tough question. I would say it totally depends where you are looking. The most famous stretch of surf-spots in Morocco is undoubtedly in the area of Taghazout/Tamraght. While at my first stay in Taghazout in the winter of 2000 there was a handful of surf camps mostly run by locals.
The last time I researched it in 2018 I counted 48! Many of them run by Europeans. And many of them illegal. Meaning they rent a place, put up a website, get clients from Europe but don’t employ locals and don’t pay taxes. It’s a shame!
From the very beginning, Camino Surf followed a different ethos. The business is officially registered in Morocco since our very start in 2009 and is shared between myself and my Moroccan partner Abderrahim 50/50. We employ both Moroccan and European staff to provide a balanced experience, and of course we pay our fair share of taxes in Morocco as well!
You also operate surf camps in Spain. Tell us more about them.
There is no good surf in Morocco in the summer-time. Mainly because of the howling onshore-winds. The so called “sea breeze“, which develops because of the huge temperature difference between the cold Atlantic ocean and the hot landmass of the African continent.
Throughout the summer months we have our Galicia camp open. Located in the north-west of the Iberian peninsula. This area is blessed with a moderate climate and hence less of a “sea-breeze“. It also gets some of the most consistent swell in mainland Europe.
Thanks to it’s exposed position it picks up every swell from the south-east to the north-west. To top it all off it’s still kind of uncrowded.
Throughout the winter-months we also run a camp in the south of Spain, in a region called Andalucia. A wave wonderland which awakens only once the stronger autumn and winter storms send powerful swell from the North-Atlantic to wrap around the Sagres Peninsula in Portugal, leaving only clean high-period swells to enter the bay of Cadiz.