The sky is clear, the water glossy and the white–sand beach, pretty much empty – unless you count a pair of camels lying by the shore, bright boucherouite rag rugs strapped over their humps. “A lot of people think a windy day is great for surfing, but off–shore wind is what you want,” says Graeme Barker, peering out over the Atlantic Ocean. “You couldn’t ask for a better spot to learn.”
We’re in Sidi Kaouki, Morocco, 30 minutes from the fortified port city of Essaouira, and a five–hour drive south of souk–soaked Casablanca. It’s my first time in this resort town made up of surf shops and fast–food restaurants, the sparse crowds comprised of wetsuit–clad locals. It’s Barker’s first time, too, and that’s crucial: Today he’ll decide whether or not Sidi Kaouki is worth returning to – along with hundreds of clients.