3FWB – Three friends on the road from Austria to Morocco
While language can be a major barrier when traveling abroad, snowboarding is the one thing that can be understood no matter where you call home. Three friends with boards—3FWB—Benno Postert, Matze Reif and Maximilian Meisberger took to the road in the winter of 2014 for a lifetime achievement—a road trip from the mountains of Innsbruck, Austria to the waves and slopes of Morocco, and everything in-between. – Jens Heig
Snowboarding in Spain
We skipped France and drove through the night straight down to Barqueira-Beret in the Pyrenees. It took us a bit longer than expected as our van Horst was ‘taking it easy’, yet we arrived highly motivated at 2pm at the snow resort. We discovered a nice tree run to hike where we found a little natural hit, the perfect opener for our trip. That night we slept in the van at 2200m with -10 C° and heavy wind. These conditions with no heater meant a chilly night for us. Back on the road we continued south, direction Madrid. Close to the capital city there is a ghost town called Valdeluz, everything new and fit for inhabitants, but completely empty. A perfect example of the economic crisis of 2008, when the money was running out and building was abruptly stopped before even the public school and church could be finished.
Next stop Sierra Nevada National Park, located in the southern part of Spain close to Granada. The highest point in the resort is at approximately 3200m providing a magnificent view of North Africa. When we arrived in the evening a heavy snowstorm swept across the region, cars next to the street where covered with snow up to the windows and we had to shovel for hours to dig out a parking spot. Here we met with Pablo Aristegueita, another Light team rider who lives in near the Sierra Nevadas.
The next morning: blue bird! We rode through the resort and found natural spots everywhere. What a start! On the way back to Pablo’s huge apartment with we found several street spots in town. Just a short break and we were right back into the boots. At night we had drinks and awesome tapas in a small bar around the corner. This was our daily life for the next four days. It was a glorious time with each day better than the last. Thanks again to the resort and especially Pablo aka Chapa. You are the man!
Surfing in Immesouane
We were really excited to cross Gibraltar and dive into African culture. Morocco’s slow pace hit us straight away at customs when the policeman who was to enter Horst into the system basically took a two-hour long midday break and didn’t care about us sitting on hot coals in the van keen to go surfing. We had a short stop close to Kenitra where the parking guard stole the blanket we lent him and a group of drunken idiots decided to have a little rave directly next to us while we tried to get some sleep. The first surf in the morning was relieving. Driving down to Immesouanne the culture shock continued. People, often accompanied by their sheep were constantly walking across the highway and policemen in white dresses protected each driveway. At one point a group of new black Mercedes Benz overtook us followed by another 20 policemen, must have been the King Mohammed VI. In Immesouanne we stayed in the O’Neill BoardX house, a huge modern flat. Here we could spread our stuff out over the entire apartment, a big change to cramped space we had in Horst. Luckily the bay was protected from the strong northerly wind that destroyed the surf for all the other spots around the little fishing village. We were definitely more motivated than the rest of the sleepy village, so we had the pleasure to enjoy the waves in the early morning just to ourselves. While searching for a spot that works on high tide we organized a donkey to carry our stuff to a remote spot. With the strong wind destroying the nice swell, Matze desperately tried to catch some waves while Benno and Maxi just ended up riding the Donkey’s along the beach.
Surfing around Taghazout
After a week we squeezed our stuff into Horst again and were happy to discover new spots further south. After having classic conditions at Boilers and Anker Point with reasonably small crowds our dreams came true. Along a coastal stretch that appeared to have potential we checked a couple of spots and came across a small path with a dead dog at the entry. We arrived at the perfect tide and happily jumped into our new discovery Dead Dog Point. Here we surfed a powerful fast right-hander mostly alone for the next few days. After a lot of paddling for very few waves in Immesouane we were now rewarded with a super relaxed point without a strong current or people. All of us scored wave after wave.
Time was running out so we headed to the Atlas Mountains. On the way we planned a one day visit to Marrakech. Arriving at the plaza “Jamal al Fna,” it felt like the Moroccans were tearing us into pieces to get us into their restaurants. We chose a “we fry everything” street food shed and enjoyed our long-awaited dinner. The next morning our extreme cinematographer Markus got food poisoning and couldn’t leave the van. After tea and breakfast we decided to drive straight up to the ski resort Oikaimenden and prepare some spots for the next day. The people looked at us as if we were from a different planet. It was Friday afternoon and it was super busy. Hundreds of Moroccans were hiking and riding down the snow with vintage ski gear, hundreds of different self-made sleds or simply plastic bags. But this wasn’t the real deal yet, the next day we couldn’t believe our eyes. From a distance it sounded like a packed summer city pool. Walking into the resort was like walking into a huge fair. The streets were full of cars, motorbikes and coaches coordinated by dozens of policemen in a seemingly messy useless manner. Accompanied by the background sounds of street musicians, we found the street dealers were selling pretty much anything and everything, from simple tea leaves to Berber jewelry, crystals, food, handbags. The ski gear for hire was older than anything you could even find at a European second hand market. So many happy Moroccan faces, an extraordinary experience for them as well as for us. Away from the crowds we had a fun spring shred jumping over little stone houses that are used by shepherds in summertime.
The Moroccans that passed us were extremely kind, always asking if they could watch us and take pictures with us. So, of course, we made some new Facebook friends. We all got nice shots and as we were ending the day with some snacks a group of Moroccans came by making themselves comfortable on the roof of the stone house next to us. One guy played a traditional 12-string Moroccan guitar, while the others sang along. This epic private live concert made for the highlight of our trip, and unfortunately also the end. Time to go home full of memories from our best trip ever.