is so addicted to snowboard that he can no longer wait for the
snow to be there. There's only one solution for him, to go straight
to the desert in order to find the greatest dunes and to leave
his tracks there !
- Text and pictures by Jean-François
- "I believe that surfing
among palm-trees and camels is a bit like if our Nicolas Hulot
started to present dance machine on Television', Antonin Lleutaghi
says once back to the south of Morocco. Antonin is well known
by the editorship (see XL n° 5), therefore when he told us
he wanted to surf on sand we were ready to follow him, even if
this meant journeying across the desert ten days long with a
Land Rover ! What an adventureit was, meeting nomads, sinking,
and he even cannot find a beginning to his story.
- The thing is that such a professional
snowboarder like Tonio is not used to travel in warm countries
that often, he would rather travel to Canada, Colorado or to
Japanese ski stations where the skiers stop at traffic lights
put on the ski runs.
- With a start in Marrakech, here
we are near the Algerian frontier, at the foot of the dunes of
Merzuga, after two days of travel, five couscouses and something
like twenty mint teas offered all road long - here, offering
some tea is like shaking hands at home. The dunes are huge and
with good slopes, and Tonio is jubilant. But before surfing,
one has to climb on first.
- And here is the problem with
such a light sand, it gets really hard. By chance, nomads helped
us by transforming their camels into T-bars. 'From the top of
those creatures, you have a wonderful outlook, but it sways and
makes you puke. Even if it stinks and it is really a stupid animal,
the camel is the desert surfer's best friend, he concluded'.
- He finally arrived at the top
of the highest dune and started to surf down. 'At first, it will
not really slip but when you stand on your back and keep going
straight, you get faster and faster and it becomes like real
skiing. You can make curves and get fster and faster. You can
also jump and fall down. After such a fall, you have sand all
over, even in you briefs. You'd better wear gloves because the
sand is like emery paper'.
- Antonin multiplies the descents
and draws big 'S' in the desert. One could really believe he
is surfing on snow, if it was not that wheat and these incredible
colours. The sand is red and the sky is bluer than blue. He makes
great curves in front of hallucinated nomads who will not forget
this wired show. In order to thank his new friends, he proposed
them to try surfing. Just imagine the scene : the nomads putting
ski shoes on, in front of the camels' jeering eye... Now there
is the miracle : here they are, surfing in front of Antonin,
who nearly died of laughter !
- But this was not to remain the
only surprise. By a dune, we met a surf teacher ! Hammad, who
really looks like Eddy Murphie, owns a real pair of skis which
were given to him by an Italian mountain dweller ten years before.
In exchange to some dirham, he rents his ski shoes and give lessons
with a very little academic style ! A race is organised and Antonin
has a narrow victory. But the sun gets already high and we must
shelter in an oasis ; there we keep eating dates for the rest
of the afternoon. This evening, after a huge couscous, we will
go on, looking for new dunes. Meanwhile, the snow covers the
- You can also go there
- It's cool to surf on dunes
and it's a good reason for discovering an incredible country.
It would be good for you to make a trip outside. As our ederly
people would say, this makes youth !
- The Adventure Raids. In order to discover the Great South
of Morocco, by foot or with camels, biking or riding, the UCPA
proposes real raids during between 8 and 15 days, reachable by
all levels : UCPA. Tél.
: 0 803 820 830 www.ucpa.com
- The Made to Measure Great
South. For the resourceful
ones, who would wish to organise something special for surfing,
riding or biking..., here is a specialist of south marocco :
Sport Travel, 154 Bvd Mohamed V, Guéliz/Marrakech.
Tél. : 00 212 443 05 59. Fax. 00 212 443 99 69
- Yasmina the Inn of the Desert. At the bottom of the greatest dunes,
the inn is a former mosque, built by nomads. It is a few hours
far from Erfoud by car. One can find there a shower, three camels,
a tent and a pair of authentic old skis, left behind by an Italian
who went skiing there some years before. Behind the inn, there
is only sand until you reach Algeria. No address, no phone, no
reservation : you just have to ask for Yasmina, the Inn of the
Desert once in Erfoud.
- What Kind of Surf for Sand
- Glasses, kneepads, elbow
ones may be useful as far as they don't make you feel too warm...
Don't forget you have to climb on before going down !
- For a special slip, a special
equipment ; one has to avoid wide and short surfs. After this,
the surf won 't be able to be used on snow again. Whatever boots
one chooses, it is important to take care of the automatic fixing
systems because of the sand.
- Découvrir également
la parution de ce reportage dans Newlook (juin 2000)
- © Jean François
VIBERT - Journalist and photographer - Paris -
- Specialised in travels, extrems
sports, leisure activities, adventure trips, outdoor sports,
deserts and mountains... Trekking, ski, snowboard, mountain,
bike, sailing, scuba diving, hiking, in line skating... Texts
and pictures for the press and the web, illustration, digital
- Journaliste photographe - Spécialiste
des voyages, des sports de glisse, des loisirs, de l'aventure,
de l'outdoor, des déserts, des montagnes. VTT, trekking,
ski, snowboard, parapente, voile, plongée sous marine,
randonnées, roller in line... Textes et photos pour la
presse et internet, illustrations, photographie numérique,