Dakhla’s spots on fire!


Mentre Dakhla dava il suo benvenuto a tutte le star internazionali dei vari watersports che stanno arrivando nel sud del Marocco, domenica e lunedì sono stati incentrati sui trials di qualificazione per selezionare i partecipanti all’evento vero e proprio per quanto riguarda i giovani surfisti locali ed i molti amatori accorsi alla gara. Domenica si sono “giocate” sia le “racing” discipline (windsurfing  e kitesurfing)  che le waveriding discipline (surf - longboard, shortboard and bodyboard). Lunedì è stata la volta di una bella «free session» di wave,  baciata dal sole, con onde sui due metri e vento perfettamente side offshore… Che dire?! L’action non manca di certo al Dakhla Festival!
Report by Steve Palier - photo © Jean Souville
Website - http://www.dakhla-festival.com/


Interview with Jamie Hancock
Freshly landed Sunday night, the English windsurfer was pretty well welcomed today in Dakhla with a nice session in the waves of Foum Labouir. We managed to catch him quickly as he was coming back from the water …
Jamie, how do you find the conditions here in Dakhla?
Excellent, just excellent! I was in 4.5, ideally powered. I saw the pictures of last year but it is always difficult to expect to find the same conditions. You watch the weather forecast 6 times before heading out but it’s always different every time, depending on the spot.
This is your second trip to Morocco, after visiting Essaouira last year in May. Do you see a difference between the 2 spots?
Yes, there is a big difference. Here, the wave breaks differently as it wraps around a point. This provides a better quality of waveriding with a right that opens all the way down, allowing 4 to 5 turns on each wave.
Glad to be back in Morocco, then?
In all cases, yes, very happy!


Slalom and Surfing qualifying trials: Dakhla’s spots on fire!
While Dakhla welcomed Sunday and Monday all international watersports stars, these two days were focused on “qualification” trials to the attention of young Moroccan and tourists amateurs eager to take part in official competitions. On Sunday, challenges were related to “racing” discipline (windsurfing & kitesurfing) as well as « waveriding » (surf - longboard, shortboard and bodyboard). In the surf division, 14 local competitors faced off in their favorite discipline and the 2 first locals in each category got the wild card that will allow them to compete with the best surfing champions from Tuesday. Monday was dedicated to another waveriding trials but this time for kitesurfers…
Sunday / Windurf trials for the slalomers!
Located at just 2 km off the spot of Foum Labouir, but this time on the lagoon side (this is where all the magic of Dakhla operates, we move from a wave spot to a flat a spot in no time !), the beach  of “camping Moussafir” is a nice white sand bay. Ideally exposed to the wind that blows almost parallel to the beach, this is the place chosen by the team of Philippe Bru, sports coordinator of the festival, to launch an open slalom course to enthusiasts Moroccan windsurfers and kitesurfers, but also a few tourists. 25 knots of wind, sunshine, choppy water, a long downwind run with a buoy to jibe far off across the lagoon, followed by another full downwind run back to the Nbaika beach located almost in the center of Dakhla, a long distance of 25km… 2 windsurfers (a Belgian and a young moroccan from El Jadida) fought with 17 Moroccan but also Italian, English and French kitesurfers. At 1pm, the start is on. Soon some difficulties appear but thanks to the help of the local soldiers available to ensure the safety of participants, all participants came back safely. Approximately 40 minutes have passed when the first kitesurfer crossed the finish line, the Dakhla local Faiz Khalid. Favorite in windsurfing, the Belgian rider Alain de Gendt unfortunately broke his mast and let Alaeddin Enahar from El Jadida take the 1st place in this division. In addition to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th kitesurfers, Faiz and Alaaddin are qualified and so get their « wild card » on the official event of Long Distance which should begin on wednesday. Alongside the professional sailors that run over 60km/h, it will be for all these amateurs the opportunity to see if their speed and endurance will allow them to be placed correctly on the next race that should be 2 times longer! Fair play, the race direction decided to also deliver a wild card to the belgian De Gendt as he was definitely leading the race before his crash.
Yann Berthemet, race director: « the conditions were tough with an incredible chop in the middle of the bay. Many riders went too much upwind as they were following a fast local kitesurfer after De Gendt broke his mast. So many of them could not make it to find the buoy to jibe. Only 8 competitors out of 20 could finally make it to the end but all of them came back safely. They were all happy to see what is a long distance about even if they were all tired ! »
Monday / « free session »  for the riders !
2m in the biggest sets, a perfect side offshore wind, great sun… All the best elements you need to enjoy a good wave session were gathered on this day. Were just missing the hot local kids from Essaouira, still on their way, to make the windsurfing wave trials happen. Whatever, Bruno André and Jamie Hancock, could appreciate the uncrowded spot today and show their potential while head judge Didier Lafitte, in charge of the « waveriding » division on the festival, launched the wave trials for the local kitesurfers only. On the lagoon side, Tine Slabe and Sarah Hébert went testing their gear and speed in 25 knots of wind while on the spot « camping Moussafir » were organized the first « watersports » workshops by the windsurf school « Bouj’Windsurf Aventure ».
Tonight we expect the arrival of many other sailors like Boujmaa Guilloul, Ruben Petrisie, Diony Guadagnino, Jochen Krauth, Fred Jézéquel, Stéphane Etienne and the very expected Bernd Roedinger from Hawaii!
Tomorrow, if the wind and waves are still pumping, all the waveriders will hit the water for the first official wave challenge, while the slalom addicts will race on the lagoon.
Feel free to use our communication tools that are at your disposal to stay in contact with the festival:
Website - http://www.dakhla-festival.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/Festivaldedakhla
Twitter - http://twitter.com/festivaldakhla
You Tube - http://www.youtube.com/user/dakhlafestival
Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/dakhlafestival






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One reply

  1. Very good article. I certainly love this site. Keep it up!

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