Morocco has always been the center of all the world’s trade routes. Ships from all the countries passed through North Africa and stayed in Morocco with their goods. That’s why this country is influenced by many different cultures and nations. Especially if talking about its food. Moroccan cuisine is considered one of the most diverse in the world. And you can be surprised with very unusual, special and sometimes even odd combination of tastes in the dishes. The reason is that there are the ingredients from all the world’s cuisines in Moroccan dishes. The country has a big and rich history, so it was taken a lot from French and Spain cuisines, Arabic and Jewish traditions in cooking. From every nook and cranny you can feel the delicious smells of fresh bread, mint, meat grilled with different spices or hot almond bakery. All the smells and meal itself are so appealing and delicious, make you want to try it all the time. And the most amazing is that these dishes can unite together sweet, salt and spicy tastes which makes the national cuisine so special. Not only dishes but the way of eating is unusual in Morocco and can seem strange to a foreigner from the first sight. Originally Berber people don’t use any utensils while eating. No knifes, no spoons, no forks – just use their hands, and a piece of bread. Bread is a big part of all Moroccan food. Wherever you go, whenever you decide to have an eat break – you will start with bread. It is served to any dish in Morocco. And it is always so fresh and hot that you can’t stop eating it. The popularity of baguettes came from France, so no matter which cafe or restaurant you will choose to have your meal – first you will get bread along with olives and butter as a necessary option. Apart from olives Moroccan land is rich of vegetables and fruits, herbs and spices, meat and seafood. Moroccan people use spices everywhere, they like chili pepper very much, use a lot of ginger and coriander, cinnamon. Grind caraway is added to meat dishes, rice dishes flavored with saffron. People all over the world know about amazing Moroccan mint tea. It is so special in Morocco and the tradition of cooking and drinking it has become kind of art here. It is not only about mint and the taste of the tea, but the technique of making and pouring it out, drinking from small glasses then – is so different from other countries, that you can wonder and enjoy just the process itself when you see it the first time. You will find coffee in Morocco with specific cardamom taste. So anything you eat or drink in Morocco will seem to you different and unusual mostly because of all these spices and flavorings. If you walk through the souk or just any grocery rows you can watch these various little piles of fruits, nuts and spices, different colors and smells that make your head going round. That’s Moroccan style. Moroccan food really stirs up your appetite influencing all your senses – your eyes, smell and taste. Usually it is a lot of different dishes on the table. It can be Pastilla along with Tajine or Couscous and some salads. And all the family usually shares one big plate when eating. Salads can be served to each person by portion. A well-known Moroccan salad is cooked of boiled potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper and olives. Another one called Shergi is a rice salad. It has also parsley, radish, greens and some citrus fruits. There are popular salads with fried aubergines and oranges, mint and wheat. Some of them filled up with tomato sauce, others – with olive oil. Another favorite dish in Morocco is hummus which is mashed peas with benne or olive oil, garlic and lemon sauce. Talking about main dishes – if you have already been to Morocco you know for sure that it is Tajine and Couscous. Tajine is a mixture of meat, different vegetables and spices, all stewed and cooked in a special argilla ware. Couscous is a national Berber dish and made of tapioca groats with stewed meat and vegetables on top. They can add nuts, raisins or peas and various spices for better taste. Both Couscous and Tajine can be cooked with all kinds of meat (except pork), all kinds of vegetables and many different ways of cooking, all chiefs have their own secrets. There are also some national soups like Harira or Chorba. Harira is made of lamb with some beans. It is often eaten during Ramadan. And Chorba is a chicken soup with herbs and spices. There are a lot of dishes with seafood. Fish can be grilled or stewed, added to Tajine or even bakery. Many kinds of seafood you will find in local souks of Agadir, Essaouira or Rabat. Tunny, sardine, perch, shrimps and octopus. Everything is fresh and just from the ocean. And of course the awesome oriental desserts. Most of them have origins from Arabic culture and are made from fruits and spices again. Kaab el gzal, baklava, makrud and shebakia. All is full of nuts, honey, raisins and chocolate. You will definitely be touched by both its look and incredible taste. Moroccan cuisine is one of the tastiest in the world. Moroccan people really know the sense in cooking. They got used to eat and serve their tables like Kings in palaces as inherent to monarchy culture. So you will never stay hungry after having your meal and will always have your power and energy for surfing during all the day. Good waves and Bon appetite to everybody!;)
A passion to your favorite sport is always stronger than any fear. Surfing is not an exception. First you learn to stand up on your board just in a white water. Learn to turn it to the left, turn it to the right, to ride it. Then you go to line up and learn to catch real waves. And when you got it – that new feeling will never let you go anymore. The feeling when you finally feel yourself a part of the wave and a Lord of your board. You will desire more and more, more surf days and bigger waves. Some of surfers don’t want to stop on just medium height ordinary waves and go really big, they go for real risk searching for huge waves, 6-8 m height waves that look like a building or a little mountain. There are some places in the world where best surfers can ride such waves, and one of them is called Mavericks. You must have heard this name many times before because it became common nowadays and people can call any big waves in the world mavericks. But originally it is a location in Northern California near the town of Half Moon Bay, where the first Maverick surfer grew up. His name is Jeff Clark. He was watching these big waves all his childhood during the high season. And you can imagine how hard he must be wanted to catch one of such, to surf it. And he tried once at the age of 17 in 1975, when he became the first who could tackle Mavericks. The story of the name is also interesting. In March 1967 three surfers Alex Matienzo, Jim Thompson, and Dick Knottmeyer surfed that place called also Pilar Point. And they had a dog with them called Maverick. Dog was everyone’s favorite pet who got used to swim and have fun while surfers enjoyed their riding. But that day Alex decided to tie up a dog, finding the waves big and the conditions dangerous. Surfers tried to reach those frightful waves but there was no way for it, the swell was so huge. And since then everyone started call that place with the name of the dog who was the part of the team that day watching such giant waves breaking in front. So what does exactly make these waves so big there? It is simply explained with the geology of that place and the underwater shape of the ground. California is the seismologically dangerous region. Geologists found out that there were serious earthquakes in the region of Pilar Point about 4000, 3000 and 500 years ago. It caused a big snap that goes right through the Mavericks’ formation point and influenced a lot the whole relief of the region. In winter time when there are big storms in the Pacific ocean it causes wind, bad weather sometimes and our Mavericks. So this time the wave can routinely crest at over 8 m and top out up to 25 m. These waves are monsters! Only few surfers in the world are able to ride mavericks, and every time they risk. Even pro surfers with great experience confess that you can never control it there completely. The conditions are so difficult that each little mistake can cost you a life. You can fall into so called the Cauldron, which is the trap with shoals where waves won’t let you come out rising one by another. Many young surfers, good surfers come to Pillar point to find their luck and become famous with Maverick. But most of them appear to be not good enough for that spot. The maverick wave is cold, hard, horrible and unpredictable. You have to know these waves, to watch and learn them for years. Only your courage is not enough for Mavericks, you have to be ready and taught by a local surfer, have to be prepared special way for it. But still there are annual contests every winter where you can participate only with a special invitation. Of course the show is thrilling and really breathe taking! Apart from Mavericks there are some other world known places for big wave surfers such as Hawaiian Pipeline and Jaws, Teahupoo at Tahiti, Shipsterns Bluff in Australia. All of these waves are legendary, the same as surfers that can ride these difficult spots. It is real extreme and these brave people are must be ready to anything. But as we said at the beginning – the love to such kind of sports will always win the fear. And once you try – you can never stop. Remember about it before start surfing, you can become addicted one day;)
From Berber language Taghazout is translated as a ‘field’. So it used to be a field and a land of fish and fishermen before it became a field of tourism that we have now. In XVI century there were Berber tribes living at this coast called Taghazout nowadays. And there were always battles and wars between the tribes and other foreigners. It’s interesting to know that people who died those hard times were buried on the rock, which all of us know now as Devil’s rock. Among locals it is also called Imouran beach which comes from the word “dying”.
So, the village is surrounded by mountains and people used to live just in the foothills, fishing every day. But in XIX century Taghazout started to grow, some small houses appeared for local fishermen and their families. And later in 1960s the village attracted some hippies of those times which realized that there are waves in the ocean that are not bad for surfing. Taghazout started to take popularity. In early 90’s the full buses and vans of surfers arrived here to check the spots and find some new adventure. Nowadays, during the surf season Taghazout is a multinational small planet full of surfers from all over the world. And everything here works for them – a lot of accommodations on your choice, cheap hostels, surf shops and boards repair points. And it will be even more in several years. There is a huge building now between Taghazout and the neighbor village Tamraght. It will be a big resort with hotels, cafes and restaurants, shops, camping places and even a golf field. This project is a part of Moroccan tourism plan called “Vision 2020”. That way our favorite place will grow soon from the poor little village to a bigger charming surf town 19 km from Agadir where everyone will find its paradise and best wave!
Most of the people here in Morocco, especially in Taghazout are united with one common hobby, one common culture – surf culture! We are carried away with the ocean and a wave. Every morning do the same – our yoga exercises to prepare our body and mind for surfing, go to the beach, greet other surfers with strange combination of fingers called Shaka, take our boards and run to the ocean. Do all of you guys know what exactly that gesture that the surfers like so much means? In this blog we want to share some information with you about this greeting, which looks like you have only two fingers – a thumb and little finger. You can see it every day and everywhere – at photos, in the hostels, on the beach, on the wave, people use it both to say Hi and Good bye, to express both pleasure and sadness. It’s like the part of a culture. We tried to find out where this Shaka’s origins come from and why it is so popular among surfers in particular. First of all, this gesture comes from the Hawaiian Islands. And it is well known that Hawaii is all over the world surfers’ mecca with the best spots! The place where you can find good waves all the year round. Among surfers it is always a positive and relaxed atmosphere when you don’t have to rush anywhere, just enjoy the life and surf, be alone with the ocean not worrying what is happening around. It is the main philosophy of surf culture and exactly the meaning of Shaka gesture: « Relax, take it easy, don’t worry and be happy!» Like a symbol of islands’ ocean life. One of the versions says that Shaka started from the story of one of the first surfers who was attacked by a shark once and lost his 3 fingers in that fight. Then he signalized about the triumph in the fight with his remained two fingers and it was the beginning. Another theory says that earlier it was on Polynesia islands that colonizers punished the local surfers with cutting the fingers off. It was the forefinger for the first case of riding, middle finger for the second one and third finger if a local was caught for the third time. They kept only two fingers for slavery so that people were able to take the load or the tool for working into their hands. Other version is connected with one Hawaiian workman Kalili Haman who had an accident at sugar factory where he lost his 3 fingers. And then he always used that injured hand for greeting people. Local children liked this gesture a lot and started to use it as well. That way it became spread around all the Hawaii islands. No matter what theory to consider true – anyway the Shaka gesture has its roots in the times of first surfers who are the native beach inhabitants and ocean conquerors. That’s why it is so admired among surfers! Shaka, friends! And new adventures with Adventurekeys surf camp! 😉
December is the most pleasant time of the year! When everything around shines with new year’s lights, people search for the Christmas presents through the shops and malls. And it is a nice atmosphere to prepare for the most joyful festival – a New Year!
This festival has been celebrated for years and centuries, the history of it is very long. And a lot of different traditions, legends and omens have been built with it throughout all this time. All the countries have different traditions and ways of celebrating happy new year. And as we are an international surf camp and have our surfers from all around the world – we made a little survey among our guests on how it is celebrated in their countries and if there are some special and unique traditions for this event. It was interesting to know that in Italy on December 31, midnight, people throw from the window out all the old and useless stuff. They believe that it is necessary to shed all things that they don’t need anymore before new year comes. In Australia people arrange different rodeos and carnivals for surfers, barbecues on the beach.
In Britain people open the backdoor in the house with the first chime of the clock in order for the old year to leave the house. And with the last chime of the clock they open the front door to meet a new year.
In Russia there is no Santa Clause with all his elfs and animals to help him. There is an old man called Father Frost and his granddaughter Snegurochka, that helps him to communicate with children, give them presents and do other winter work.
But all the countries still have one thing in common. People write millions of letters to their Santa Clause every year where they describe their wishes for a present. It is interesting to know that earlier people didn’t wait for gifts from Santa, even the opposite – they made presents for Him. Nowadays not only children but many adults write their letters to the North Pole waiting and hoping for a miracle. According to statistics the present day children ask Santa Clause mostly for the different Apple company’s gadgets as a present – like iphones, ipads. Also X-Box games. Some adults especially office workers are more creative and ask Santa to freeze their bosses
The tradition of fireworks at New Year’s night is also an old one.
People believed earlier that the noise and fire scare away the ghosts and evil spirits. So, all the Adventurekeys surf camp’s team wish you to watch the most amazing fireworks this new year’s night, scare away all the evil spirits and everything bad from your house with a lot of laughs and joy! To spend the most beautiful time with your friends and interesting people around.
With presents and your surf board next to you! And to be already on the wave the next morning Cause it is well known that how you celebrate a new year is exactly the way you will spend all the year;) Try to make this night unforgettable!
No one can deny the recent boom in surf-yoga retreats/holidays. If you have not experienced it yet, you cannot lie it sounds enchanting. It has been proven time and time again that surfing and yoga go hand in hand. Both affect the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels of human beings. Every time I teach a yoga class after a surf lesson my students are amazed at how good their bodies feel. Even more so surprised at how much energy they regained. All day paddling out into the ocean, telling yourself to push because you are so close to passing the break. Then comes that perfect wave, rolling in at just the right angle. Paddle, paddle, paddle and when you reach the peak of the wave, just before it breaks you push against the board to pop up. Keep those legs bent and strong, while igniting the abs to keep your center of gravity. There is no wonder why surfers bodies are so cut. Yoga practices many of the same muscle movements. Laying on the board paddling out is much like Locust Pose in yoga. Popping up on the board for the perfect ride is the same motion as Chaturanga and Cobra Pose. Finally, riding the wave is like doing Warrior Two on the board. The benefit of yoga is the slowdown of the movements making the mind and body embrace, understand, and go deeper into the poses/movements. Yoga not only improves the body’s strength, but also flexibility to prevent injury, stamina to last longer in the ocean and catch more waves, balance to get up and remain on the board, and coordination to be able to maneuver the board as well as the body. Not only is yoga about the asanas, it is largely about the mind and being able to control the mind. Yoga can help with the mental and emotional difficulties that can arise while surfing. Practicing yoga teaches the mind to be calm and relaxed so it can remain focussed. Some of the greatest loss of control of the mind comes after a massive wipe-out and the wave takes complete control. If the mind becomes scarred and freaks-out the body will follow. Arms and legs will start flailing about trying to fight the wave and getting nowhere. If the mind can remain calm the body will follow its lead. Let the arms wrap around the head for protection then simply let the body become one with the wave. Embrace the wave, soon it will end and all will be safe. To be a good yogi and a good surfer the mind must learn to tune all else out. How many times has professional surfers said that when they are surfing it is just them and the wave, nothing else exists. That is yoga, a surfers yoga. They have a connection to the ocean. They thrive off the energy of the ocean. Yoga is all about receiving energy from nature and others to in turn return that energy back to the universe. To surfers that universal energy comes through the waves and becomes one with the surfer. Yoga can help that surfer remain present and aware in that moment, riding that perfect wave, and even deepening the experience. Asanas/Poses to better one’s surfing: Downward Facing Dog Adho Mukha Svanasana Eagle Pose Garudasana Locust Pose Shalabhasana Upward Facing Dog Urdhva Mukha Svanasana Warrior 2 Virabhadrasana 2 Four Limbed Staff Pose Chaturanga Dandasana Extended Puppy Pose Uttana Shishosana Boat Pose Navasana One Legged Kin Pigeon Pose Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Dolphin Pose Ardha Pincha Mayurasana