After a few emails and lots of helpful advice from Sara, who co-owns the company with her husband Nasser, I packed my bag and took a flight to Marrakech. Just over 2 hours after landing, there I was, stepping off the bus in beautiful Essaouira.
Day 1..I arrived at the surf centre feeling a little apprehensive. What had I got myself into? I met Sara and Nasser and their team and they were all so welcoming and friendly so I started to relax a bit.
Over a tasty cup of Moroccan tea we talked through the schedule for the week and I met my instructor, Aritz, and the rest of the guys I would be learning with. Then it was straight into the first lesson.
Thankfully there was no need for a wetsuit at this stage and I was kind of relieved about that as I hadn’t worked out how good I would look in one. However, I did have to wear a funny seat harness over my shorts, which wasn’t the most flattering of looks - maybe the wetsuit would have been better after all!
Anyway, an easy first lesson done and I survived, not only did I survive I actually really enjoyed it! Aritz explained everything step by step and instead of being dragged off down the beach with my kite I controlled it and actually managed to do figures of 8 and even move to the 4 line kite, which is the same one you use in the sea. Not bad for my first go! After this taster I couldn’t wait to get in the water!
With a big lunch gobbled down and no time to waste, I was keen to crack this kitesurfing thing! So it was on with our wetsuits (it looked a bit better than I thought!) and lesson two began. After a little reminder of what we did in the morning session I then learned body dragging!
Everything about this sounded frightening but it was so much fun! Basically, you take the kite and use it to propel yourself through the water. After a few false starts and being slightly over zealous with the kite (I went upwards instead of along!) I finally got the hang of it and eventually learnt to move through the water.
At the end of the day, students and instructors all headed to the beach bar next door to the surf centre to relax and have a good old natter about the day. With a cold drink in our hands we watched the sunset as the camels walked home. It was such a beautiful sight and the perfect way to wind down after a lively day.
The day was made up of more body dragging and trying to do it with one hand. Once I had got this cracked Aritz said I could try the board. I was hoping I might get that far in day 2 but it was not to be. A moment of frustration was dispelled as Aritz explained that the better I am at controlling the kite the easier the water start would be.
Day 3..After a morning session with the kite, Aritz finally said I was good enough to try the board... Big smiles all around.
After a lovely lunch to prepare myself, I walked proudly from the centre to the beach carrying my board... Aritz explained the next steps in the sand and demonstrated it in the water making it look so easy.
Right…My turn. Gulp! Deep breath…I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.
Aritz stands next to me and I sit down in the water and put my feet in the straps... I move the kite and for a moment, a split second…I stand!
Okay, so I won’t win any championships just yet but it felt great and motivated me enough to give it a go again and again and again until eventually I spent a few seconds longer standing up.
Exhausted but exhilarated I returned to the centre looking forward to my celebratory drink and high fives with the team!
Roll on the next few days when I get to do it all again.
Carmela Pickering, a photographer and travel writer from Scotland, travelled for 5 weeks around Morocco in June and spent a week learning to kitesurf with Explora Morocco in Essaouira.