Imsouane surfing: the secrets (2020)
The Bay of Imsouane is a very very special spot. On the best days of the year you can surf waves with a length of over 700m. It will take you more than 1 minute and 30 seconds from take off to the end section. Your legs will be burning like never before.
After 15 years of surfing the wave it's time to summarise all I know to help you surf the longest and best wave of your life.
This post is about:
- Forecasting the best days of the year
- Using the currents in your advantage
Imsouane surfing: low tides 2020
Swell forecasters like Magic Seaweed give stars based on swell height, direction and wind conditions. They do a really amazing job. I'm a big fan and even have a pro account. But when it comes to forecasting the bay of Imsouane there is 1 particular thing that is more important than all above: LOW TIDE!
Forecasting the bay is really hard. Here's why:
- If it's really really big, the reef filters the swell and the bay will still be surfable.
- If it's really small and 99% of the spots around are flat, the waves wrap around the peninsula and produce small but surfable waves. It's crazy.
- If the wind from the north/northwest blows out all spots around, the bay will turn side-offshore.
So because swell and wind are mostly always OK, there's 1 factor that is the MOST important: Low tide. (But you already guessed that...)
Here are some Swell Forecasts on Imsouane:
Imsouane Surfing Tides:
As you probably know you have low tide and high tide aproximately every 6h and 15 minutes. For the bay of Imsouane low tide is the moment to be there. At high tide there might not be one single wave, but six hours later it can be firing.
Still there's more to know to really pick the right day of the year:
Before I reveal my secrets, check out the master of the bay Youssef Drewich surfing 2 full minutes on 1 wave!
Here's my Imsouane surfing secret:
Even in the low tide there are big differences depending on the day. On some days the water level at low tide will be around 1.5m. But around full moon days, it can drop under 1m. Those are the days.
And if you do your research, about 15 days a year, it can even drop under 0,7m. Those days the sandbank is so exposed, waves break in shallow water and for 3 hours waves will be firing.
If you are a beginner, those moments are probably not the best for you. But if you are an intermediate or experienced surfer... my friend... you will take the best waves of your life for sure. If surf is life, this should be on your bucket list.
So I made it easy for you.
I listed all Imsouane surfing SUPERDAYS of 2020 with low tides under 1m. (bottom of the page) I gave those 4 stars.
Days when the water level drops under 0,7m, I gave 5 stars.
I am really focused on the first hours of the day. 10 Years ago we had it for ourselves with 10 guys out, but in 2020 it has become really really crowded. So If you paddle out at first light you will still have more than 1 hour before the sun comes over the mountains. That hour is golden. Be there!
Imsouane Surfing: How to use the (strong) currents.
One thing that makes The Bay so unique, is that after a long wave, you don't have to paddle all the way back to the main peak. You can easily stear your board to the beach and take the walk to the harbour.
Which benefits in two more ways:
- There are less surfers in the way when you are riding the wave of your life.
- When there are 100 surfers, 50 will be in the water but the other 50 are taking a walk :)
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be well trained before coming to Imsouane: there's a lot of water moving around and the currents can be killing.
So before you go in, I want you to understand how the currents work so you can take advantage of it.
1) Water from the reef
A set on the reef is a set in the bay. So when you're waiting in the line-up and you see a big set breaking on the reef, you'll probably have 1 minute to get yourself in position.
But all the water from that set moves into the corner between the reef and the harbor wall. And then it moves from point 1 to point 3 which is the main peak.
On big days it can be worth taking a short walk up the reef and jump into the water at point 1. Although there's a lot of water moving around, there are not so many waves breaking in that corner. You'll possibly arrive with 2 strokes and dry hair at the main peak.
2) Water from the Harbor
When a set wraps around the harbor wall it circles around and moves from point 2 back to point 3 (main peak). Now you have to make sure you're not making the biggest mistake you can make: paddle straight to the main peak.
What you should do is walk as close as you can around the harbor wall and paddle south east. The current will take you to the peak. If you go in a straight line to the peak, you will waste lots of energy battling against the current. This is wat most beginners and surf schools do. And thank god for that so they don't arrive all at the main peak. :)
3) Currents on the main peak
Now that you've arrived at the peak, your next job is to stay at the peak (until the wave with your name on it arrives).
Some days the current will be killing, other days it can be easy peasy. But be prepared.
In between sets on the peak all surfers will move slowly north east. So find some landmarks to fix your ideal position. Personally I use the harbor as my support. But when a big set arrives a lot of water flows in, you might be moving faster than you can paddle. If you take a wave in the head, you risk to do the big tour to the beach, the walk and the restart from the harbor or the reef.
So if you're really looking for THE wave, you should always be focused on your position.
Oh... one more thing... the wide ones are the best.
So now you know how to choose your dates and waves for 2020! And if we meet that day in the line-up, throw a Shaka and keep the good vibes.