Watch Video23 min
Surfing

Join an all-star No Contest crew for perfect pointbreaks in Morocco

Canarian big-wave surfer Laura Coviella breaks down the latest episode of No Contest as Ashton Goggans and his squad set off for North Africa.
By Chris Binns
5 min readPublished on
"For the last decade Morocco has ranked as the most visited country in Africa," says No Contest host Ashton Goggans. "By the end of this episode we'll find out why, out of the 10-million foreigners arriving here each year, a million of them are surfers."
The arguments Goggans makes are pretty compelling: amazing waves, hospitable people, a thriving local surf scene and incredible food that blends the best of Africa and Europe are just the starting point. Don't take our word for it, though, hit play above and soak up the action as Moroccan surfers Ramzi Boukhaim, Soufiane Cheroub and Othmane Choufani play host to Kauli Vaast, Natxo Gonzalez, Laura Coviella and many more, as well as introducing us to some of the interesting characters who make up the diverse fabric of the local surf culture.
To recap all that went down while filming for this episode we caught up with Laura Coviella, a hard charging surfer who grew up a short flight away in the Canary Islands and leaps at every chance she gets to hop over to Africa and surf her brains out in the land of perfect right-hand pointbreaks. Dive into our chat below and then hit play on the latest episode of No Contest above.
Surfer Laura Coviella pictured on set shooting for No Contest in Morocco.

Laura Coviella is all smiles on the road in Morocco

© Alan Van Gysen

Tell us about your first No Contest experience in Morocco.

Laura Coviella: I was there for 10 days and although I didn't get the best waves, I had the best time. We were staying in Imsouane. It was great and the people were sick. Easily one of the funnest trips of my year.

You come from the Canary Islands, so is it pretty easy to get to Morocco?

It is. I ended up going five times over the past winter. It's super in-fashion at the moment and it's a very different culture. It costs maybe 10-15 Euros and it's only one hour by plane, but it looks like you’re on the other side of the world. Different cultures, different food, there's only the weather that’s similar.

A perfect wave breaks in front of a road in Morocco.

Off-peak parking in Morocco

© Alan Van Gysen

It looks like you have to do a lot of driving to find waves?

Morocco has a really long coastline and most of the best spots are really far from each other, unless you're in Taghazout, where there are a lot of sick waves really close together. Otherwise, you have to move if you want to surf good waves.

It looks like you do a lot of eating as well...

Yeah! It's so good and it’s so cheap, but it's quite healthy, so that's good.

Laura Coviella and Othmane Choufani head out to surf at the base of Casablanca's Hassan II Mosque in Morocco.

Casablanca's Hassan II Mosque is one of surfing's most spectacular settings

© Alan Van Gysen

Ashton Goggans always has a great crew with him. What was your experience like filming for No Contest?

I loved it! There was Gony Zubizaretta, who's been a really good friend of mine for a long time, so it was good to spend some days with him. Natxo Gonzales has always been such a good person. Super down to help and super motivated. I also met a lot of people from Morocco and got closer to guys like Othmane Choiufani. He's always positive and happy, and obsessed with his protein diet, but always down to surf and to have fun.

No Contest host Ashton Goggans readies himself to surf in Morocco

No Contest host Ashton Goggans studies the Imsouane lineup

© Alan Van Gysen

You came quite late to surfing, right?

I did. No one in my family had surfed before. I used to spend my summertime in the south of Tenerife and then one day, when I was 12, I did a class. I loved it, but my closest wave was 45 minutes by car and I was in school. My parents were working all day long, so I couldn't really surf as much as I wanted to. Then, age 15 was when I really got obsessed with surfing and was spending hours watching videos.

One day, I said to my friends 'I want to surf like this! I want to compete, I want to be super professional.' After that we started to train more, like full weekends and a little bit in between during the week with my trainer. I started to compete and a few months later I started doing the Canarian Championships. Then, when I was 18 and had my license drive license, I could really put everything into my surfing and go wherever I want to surf without depending on others.

Gony Zubizaretta pictured surfing in Morocco.

Gony Zubizaretta and the kind of wave that sees surfers flocking to Morocco

© Alan Van Gysen

These days you're charging serious waves too?

Big wave surfing came into my life in the last few years. Competition was never my strong point. I could never really control my nerves, but I had good sponsors like Volcom, who told me they didn’t care about contests, they’d be happy for me to travel and create content and do projects, so No Contest fits perfectly into that.

Competing keeps me motivated in some small way and surfing big waves is another thing that only happens a few times a year. That's more of a personal challenge to conquer my nerves, so that keeps me motivated, too. Now I've joined the Red Bull team I've had the opportunity to go to Nazaré for the Red Bull Big Wave Surf Camp and push myself there.

Kauli Vaast on the road for No Contest, in Morocco.

Tahitian surfer Kauli Vaast hits the road in Morocco, No Contest style

© Alan Van Gysen

What's it like growing up in the Canary Islands?

It's amazing! I grew up here, my parents are from here, and I feel more African than Spanish to be honest. It's a Spanish culture, but lifestyle it's totally different to the mainland. Everything is so different: the weather, being surrounded by water. When people ask me where I come from I always say the Canaries, not Spain.

Perfect pointbreaks line the Moroccan coast

Perfect points as far as the eye can see

© Alan Van Gysen

Would you ever invite Ashton to come and film No Contest in the Canaries?

We were talking about this. We'll see. I'd like to, but I'm not sure. The localism is crazy here so it might be quite hard, but maybe we could talk with the crew and see what they think about it. Honestly, it would be amazing. It could be one of the sickest trips of our lives for sure.

Part of this story

Laura Coviella

Hard charging Spanish surfer Laura Coviella is determined to change the face of women's surfing, one perfect tube at a time.

SpainSpain

Natxo González

Possessing an enormous amount of talent, Basque shredder Natxo González is one of Europe’s most prominent big wave surfers.

SpainSpain

Kauli Vaast

Born and raised in Tahiti, Kauli Vaast might just be the best up and coming all round talent in the world.

FranceFrance