master blaster morocco 1995

13 November 2009 13:11:00 AEDT

And Start West...

2'oclock in the afternoon was a strange time to arrive in Casablanca. It was late October, mid 90's. The two of us had flown in from London so the trip was an easy two hours. Everyone around us was burnt out though. Busboys and airline hostesses sat fanning their faces in the humid breeze. The trinket and fake rolex salesmen were curled up under their decaying panama's in the shade and didnt show the slightest interest in trying to sell to us. We cleared customs in a heartbeat, picked up our boards from special baggage and went to find our driver. The concourse was basically empty, and so when we saw a short stout driver in shithouse brown slacks, sandals and a stained business shirt holding a sign that said "Mr Adam" we knew we had found our man.

The figure standing before us held the sign close under his chin, above it, nervous eyes shifted left and right like an extra from a Moroccan film set. Thick, jet black curly black ringlets of hair were oddly parted to the side under the weight of a solid slug of poppy oil. The oil and sweat blended toghether staining his collar. I knew him from his photo, I knew him to be 'Driss Gellhab'. Surfing forums were still fairly new in the UK back then. Those that did exist were full of fifty posts by guys called 'Daz' from Linconshire that were trying to build their first 8 foot single fin kook shitbox and wondered why every time they try to glass the board it ran onto the garage floor. 30 posts into the thread it would become clear that 'Daz' didnt know he had to add any hardener to the mix. Inside every forum was a gem though, and Driss Gellhab was a diamond in the rough. We had spoken a lot over the past months and I had him on standby for the first big clean swell of the season. We wanted to get down to Safi as soon as possible because it was a given it would be epic in this swell but from there the boh of us had always wanted to see what the options were like as far south as we could get, right up to the border with Western Sahara. The known spots were places like Anchor Point and Boilers but down further from them, a kilometre from the line was an amazing right hand reef / point combo that I wanted to check out. These were the days before google earth and satellite imagery was the only way to get good surf intel like this. I took great pleasure in abusing my status as a Navigator within the Navy to spend as much government money as possible in securing this imagery. The challenge down here though was getting the swell to angle in just the right direction for the deep southern points to work. The blocking Spanish Canary Islands lie only 30 miles directly west, so the swell has to be either NNW or you can forget it. The satellite photo showed a two stage wave, first a point and then it seemed to wrap around into a reef, we named it Master Blaster. There was a small un namedtown right nearby, we named it Bartertown...we watched a lot of TV back then.

Driss was happy with the plan. Master Blaster was on the Moroccan side of the line so that would be fine. He couldn't promise taking us over into Western Sahara but said he would do his best. We set out immediately and made Safi by late afternoon. Clean, uncrowded. Next day we got to Anchor Point and Boilers which were good but not epic, a dozen frenchmen to each wave. We pushed down to Master Blaster. The land was different down here, burnt brown, offshore wind whipping sand around your ankles from the heart of Africa...apocalyptic.

The set up was beautiful, a million years of offshores had built and groomed the sand around the point and reef. It was about a 500 metre paddle through deep cool water and then you were on top of Master. Heaving right hand faces that sped along to the hollow end game that was Blaster. We surfed it by ourselves for four hours, Driss stood by the van on the beach the whole time smoking foul smelling Russian cigarettes. Out the back we could see the swell wrapping further south over the border now into the Western Sahara. I could see that every point for 1200 km's right down to the border with the hell that was Mauritania would be firing. We got ashore and put the word on Driss. It took him a little while but he soon came around. I gave him all of the US Dollars that we had left for the border bribe. Driss pulled the van up to the line and there they stood, obsidian skinned teenagers with early model kalashnakovs in uniforms of a country that didnt exist, manning the border that flew a flag of a country no one recognised. One of them had spray painted a Transformers stencil onto the magazine of his rifle...I think it was the autobot one. I had a brief image of Driss getting out of the car to talk things over and then when it all broke down he goes running off into the desert, bullets cutting all around him. As it turns out it all went pretty smoothly; so we put away the passports, roll up the windows..and start west.

Go Back

You must be a registered user to comment. Click here to register.