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.