Hand Luggage Only

As I await my 07:10 flight to Agadir from Gatwick Airport, I begin to anticipate the blue skies, the promise of plentiful clean waves, the company of old (and hopefully new) friends, and the sensation of the Sun’s warmth upon my skin – the things which I will be (gratefully) experiencing throughout my forthcoming week in Morocco. Only 12 hours and I’ll be there. During my wait I also begin to reflect on what I’ll be leaving behind for the week – and why…

I genuinely do feel extremely blessed to be able to live and surf where I do. However, that said, the winters in Cornwall can feel horrendously long, dark, and bitterly cold! Any surfer in Cornwall (or the rest of the UK and northern Europe for that matter) knows all too well how hard (both physically and mentally) our winters can be to endure. Consequently, despite any loyalty to your homeland or local break, you sometimes just have to give in to those cravings for vitamin D and 3mm neoprene/boardies and book a flight to warmer climes! Social isolation also has a tendency to kick in during Cornish winters: a situation exacerbated by the act of exposing oneself to a constant stream of friends’ photos depicting their exotic surf pursuits and/or vibrant city lives. This never makes staying put any easier (FOMO)!

This is part of the reason (asides from surfing itself of course) why I’m Leaving home for a seven days to take a (my second) surf trip to Morocco. The other reason is that one of my very good friends and his partner are currently working aboard a new mobile surf wagon (www.wagonsurfadventures.com) which is currently touring Morocco, having traveled southwards from Portugal over the winter season. I’m really excited to catch up with them, see how the wagon works, meet their friends, and, of course, catch lots of waves together!

An apology is due as I’ve realised that I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent from what it was I wanted to say (I’m sure people who become regular readers of The Salty Vegan will probably get used to that though!). I’m blaming a combination of sleep deprivation and the fact I’m being distracted by mind surfing in this instance… Anyhow, to the point I wanted to discuss…

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Although, thus far, my trip sounds like (and in essence is) the cliche scenario of a cold water surfer taking a winter escape, there’s something fundamentally different about this trip compared to my previous surf-cations. The thing that’s different about this surf trip for me is that, for the first time, I’m not taking a surfboard with me. That’s right, no surfboard. Just hand luggage…

Generally, like many fellow surfers, I’d carry my ‘all-rounder’ (a 6ft fish in my case): leaving me £60 worse off (thank you easyjet) but pretty much guaranteeing me a respectable wave count and some memorable rides. I decided this time though that I would leave my comfort zone and take advantage of (or a chance on) the surf wagon’s quiver available to myself and other guests.

It would be easy for me to take along a board I’m already comfortable on – but I just know that I’d arrive in Morocco with too many expectations… Too many expectations of my board and of my own surfing (and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about myself over the past couple of years it’s that my high expectations and optimism can often lead to sobering disappointment – which can be like a constant headache when you’re mostly an idealist). So, with the encouragement of insights from Jernej Rakuscek in his Teachings Of The Ocean (read my article here), I’ve decided that I’m going to make more of a conscious effort to ‘go with the flow’ – both during this trip and in everyday life.  I’ll ride whatever is on offer to me, in whatever conditions are presented to us (within my own limitations of course), and try to relish and learn from the resulting new/different experiences. At the very least it’ll be refreshing to try out new boards all week – even if I don’t surf my best. The best possible outcome would be that I’d be returning home a more diverse, mature and stoked waterman with a renewed perspective(s) on wave riding and with memories of waves and friends that I will cherish forever. Sounds like a no-brainer to me! I suppose I’m doing this to test and push myself, but also to make my trip more of an adventure and personal exploration – and to see what I will gain as a result of the process. And, as a bonus, I’m able to go on a surf trip, to somewhere as far away as northern Africa, with just a backpack – small enough to take on my flight as hand luggage. I’ve been meaning to travel more lightly…

It’d be great to know if there are other travelers and surfers reading this who have taken, or are aiming to take, a similar approach to travel and/or surfing. What are your reasons for doing so and what do you aim to achieve? Let me know!

Until I come across an internet connection in sub-Saharan coastal Morocco –  keep surfing and keep healthy!

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1 thought on “Hand Luggage Only

  1. Nice read Alex. Enjoy the waves and vitamin D in Morocco!

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