Surf and yoga retreats are everywhere… but do they give you what you need to take your surfing to the next level?
Where: Amayour Surf Hostel, Morocco, Taghazout.,
Surf spots: Panorama, Anza, Devil’s Rock and Tamri beach.
I chose Morocco because I had been before and appreciated the sunshine, Moroccan culture, food and landscapes.I also knew Morocco was Wild & Free Adventure’s next surf and yoga retreat destination. I’d been following their adventures on Instagram for a while and was intrigued to find out if a week surfing with Alan Stokes combined with yoga every day with Philly would progress my surfing. I love how different the culture is in Morocco, sometimes it's like going back in time & everything is so affordable! The driving is so crazy it’s funny; Moroccan dogs tend to like sleeping in the middle of the dusty roads so drivers have to watch out for them, as well as little cats roaming the bumpy streets everywhere you look...
A typical day at the Wild & Free retreat
After waking up rather early to prayer call, dogs having a loud chat at 6:00 AM or Moroccans shouting to their friends to wake them up instead of an alarm... I’d put my yoga gear on and wander upstairs to the roof terrace.
It was a beautiful feeling, practising yoga every morning at 8:00 AM with our yoga teacher, Philly. Yoga was the perfect way to wake up and get us nicely warmed up ready for a day of surfing. I think it was the feeling of the sun rising on our faces and the sound of waves in the background that made it extra special. Yoga was shortly followed by feasting on delicious breakfast straight from the tagine, fruit, orange juice and of course; Moroccan mint tea.
SURF TIME! We split into groups of beginners and intermediates and went to different beaches each day, wherever the surf was looking best; Panorama, Anza, Devils Rock or Tamri.
We ate some lunch and then it was time for a relaxing, yin yoga session before dinner.
OHMYGOODNESS THE FOOD. The food at Amayour Surf was divine, out of this world. Local cooks put on a spread every day without fail.
Tagines, including the house speciality; Octopus Tagine, Rfissa, Sardine Kefta (minced fishballs), and of course Friday CousCous every meal had a tasty veggie or vegan option too. The Octopus was absolutely incredible; I can't believe how quickly it all vanished; the food at Amayour Surf is the best in Taghazout.
Did yoga help me with surfing progression?
Yoga and surfing go very well together, both are about being in the moment, not thinking about anything else but the activity... Often in surfing, you’re just looking out to the horizon, where you see nothing but water and the sun glistening as it reflects on the ocean. There is nothing to worry about, your mind has a chance to escape and relax. When you’re riding the face of a wave, it is impossible to think about anything but the moment and this is what I love about surfing.
But how does yoga actually help to progress your surfing level and ability?
When I first started hearing about surf and yoga retreats, I wanted to find a good one to progress my surfing. I wanted to treat my mind, body and soul to an active, healthy week in the sun. My surfing is an intermediate level and I’d argue that this is the most frustrating level of surfing; in the middle of progression and stagnation.
During my week on the retreat, I noticed that our morning energetic yoga helped to prevent surfing injuries by practising poses that involved lots of hip and shoulder openers and twisting to warm up our surfing muscles as surfing creates a lot of tension in the hips and in the shoulders.
I really felt a difference in the stability of my legs, Philly said that this was probably from the Warrior Two pose which helps surfers prevent groin strains when slipping off your board.
Of course, yoga involves a lot of core strength movements and balancing poses good for balancing on the board. Each yoga session would include the Cobra pose which is amazing for your back strength needed for paddle power and strength; the Cobra pose is definitely one of my favourites. In the evening, Philly walked us through poses to release the muscles we had been using whilst surfing, as well as meditation to help relax our mind and body.
Alan Stokes surf instruction
Alan's coaching had a relaxed feel with some solid surfing knowledge behind it. In the first day, I had already progressed thanks to his instruction on mastering the bottom turn.
We were a group of 6 (intermediates) and he managed to keep a watch on all of our waves, commenting on the tiniest things, that made the biggest difference to our surfing
Thank you, thank you!
Many people have told me I need to do things like paddle more but never explained why, so it never clicked. But Alan explained how and why and so, for the first time, everything clicked!
To make that post surf feeling even more enjoyable, we were welcomed by mint tea and doughnuts on the beach from the Moroccan man who would wander the beach. A wonderful post surf snack…
Thanks for a lovely time,
Krissie Claire xoxo
If you’re thinking of booking a surf and yoga retreat, I would highly recommend Wild & Free Retreats at Amayour Surf Hostel in Morocco, Taghazout. But if you can not wait untill December 2018 then Amayour Surf have an in-house yoga instructor and local surf instructors, check out their surf and yoga packages here.