Return to Dakhla Attitude – Kitesurf spot guide for May

Date: 4 – 9 May
Rideable days: 6 out of 6
Wind: 12 – 40 knots
Air temp: 22 – 26˚C
Water temp: 19˚C

Last year in March I visited Morocco’s top kitesurf spot, Dakhla, for the first time (read more about that trip and a full review of the spot). This year I could not resits the allure of constant wind, sunshine and guaranteed good times on and off the water, and so once again I made the eight hour journey from England to Western Sahara.

When Lisa told me that she was going to be in Dakhla during May I took a quick look at my annual leave allowance, queried Skyscanner for the cheapest dates and booked my trip. I met Lisa in Dakhla last year. Dakhla Attitude, which is the largest and oldest centre is anything but intimate. If you stay at one of the smaller centres it’s very likely that you form bonds with everyone else there, but at Attitude, people tend to arrive in large groups. If you’re a solo traveler you will want to pull out all your social skills if you want some company during your stay. In my case, I met up with Lisa and her friend Barbara and we also made friends with the CKP clinic people, a group of 10 who were there to hone their skills with Christian and Karine famous from IKSURFMAG.

Dakhla Attitude

May was just as busy as March, at Attitude as well as the lagoon in general. This is to be expected since summer is their peak season. On top of this, Attitude has recently added a completely new accommodation area to the camp overlooking the Speed spot, which can host another 100 guests or so. Most guests at Attitude are French speaking, and this goes for the staff as well. English is spoken to some degree.

The areas of Dakhla Attitude

When I asked around about the kite centres around the Dakhla lagoon last year I was told ‘don’t bother with the rest, just go to Attitude’. I’m sure the other centres are great in their own right, although the ones at the bottom of the lagoon will admittedly have limited space and variety on the water. Attitude is the oldest and largest centre, and they aren’t stopping yet. Last year you could live in Dragon camp, or Windhunter. Now, you can also stay at ‘Speed spot’ (which isn’t by the speed spot, but overlooking it).

‘Speed spot’ adds another 60 or so bungalows to the camp so you can imagine what this will do to the centre overall in terms of load on the logistic machinery and resources. This was apparent at times in the restaurant where the kitchen had to keep up with demand and constantly ran out of coffee, cutlery etc, but overall they did a great job at serving all guests, always with great service and smiles to boot. But I digress. Back to the camp layout.

Dragon camp is where you want to stay. It’s in between the sports centre and the restaurant, built in terraces leading up towards the top of the mountain. From here you get a great view of the lagoon and lush shade from the greenery. Windhunter is a 5 to 10 minute walk past the sports centre, with many of the bungalows having a nice view as well. This is where I stayed last year.

The new Speed spot bungalows

I really wanted Dragon camp this year, but as it was already sold out I got a spacious three person ‘Speed spot’ bungalow instead. To access this new area you exit the camp entrance and head to the far side of the mountain. It’s similarly distanced to Windhunter, just the other direction. This area is still under construction in 2024 so you’d be excused for thinking you’re on Tatooine and not Earth as you are being met with the occasional dust cloud when you make the hike to your accommodation.

There is a shuttle service that takes guests to and from the reception to the Speed spot. I never quite worked out how it worked, but sometimes it would drive past me when I was walking, and if it was going my direction it would stop and pick me up.

Eventually I believe they will make it just as lush as everywhere else around the camp, but this will take some time. Personally this is my third option after the other areas, also because the two dogs that guard the camp entrance tend to bark at all sorts of indecent hours. Regardless of where you stay, the inside of the bungalows are fine however. They get cleaned every day and you have wifi, hot water and and outdoor space to chill and hang your wet neoprene.

KESR routine… What is KESR!?!?

Other than the new ‘Speed spot’ bungalows and a refurbished restaurant area to accommodate the added guest count, things are the same at Dakhla Attitude. You wake up, have breakfast and have your morning kite session. Lunch is served from one to three PM, then it’s time for an afternoon session. The rescue boats stop their service at seven PM and dinner is served from eight to 10 PM. After that you are welcome to hang out in the bar where they have a DJ playing Western hits to an empty dance floor since 99% of guests have gone to bed, exhausted from the day’s escapades.

It’s the definition of a kite-eat-sleep-repeat holiday. I do love these sorts of trips from time to time. I’m generally the type of guy who goes to a new place, rent a car and explores different spots, but when the KESR (kite-eat-sleep-repeat) formula is so well executed as it is at Attitude, it’s hard to not want to come back for more.

Every aspect of the KESR is good here. They arrange transfer to and from the airport, which is roughly a 40 minute drive through a desert landscape. In 2023 I explored a bit of Dakhla town but this year was 100% KESR mode. Exploration? Nope. Trick progression yes! Wind every day and vast flat water areas to practise tricks until you drop. Beach boys to help you rig and launch, endless supply of delicious food from the buffet. Massage that you can book at the spa when your sore muscles need pampering after days of riding. A gym to keep you pumped up if kiting wasn’t enough, and yoga classes to keep you supple and grounded. How about a cold beer at the end of the day while watching the sunset and sharing the highlights of the day with your fellow kiters?

The wind and water

This year I didn’t even bother with the speed spot. You can either make your way there kiting, walking across the sand or pay to hitch a tractor ride. Sometimes it’s busy and sometimes not, but it’s easy to spot from Attitude before you make up your mind. Either way, you want to go there at low tide for that butter flat, off-shore conditions.

Depending on the tide and wind direction, I would normally spend my mornings on the far side of the lagoon, where Spirit does lessons, or on the Attitude side just downwind from the launch area. If one is a bit gusty the other should be fine. Both areas offer relatively flat and shallow water and aren’t very busy at all. In the afternoons it would normally pick up and I would use the 30+ knots wind for boosting rather than trick progression. Going big is also fun, especially when you take turn with others and cheer for each other every time someone goes huge. Thanks to Lisa for the boosting photos!

Just like last year, the week kicked off with strong wind and I had more than enough power from my 10 meter Switchblade. Most riders would be out on sizes 7 to 9. My first four days followed this pattern: 15 – 25 knots in the AM, practising tricks, 30 – 40 knots in the PM, boosting. The two final days offered lighter wind and I went out on my 13 m Duotone Juice. The varied wind strength forced me to adapt my riding and although 12 kite sessions in six days sounds repetitive it was never a case of feeling bored on the water. 5/4 was my neoprene of choice. Less would’ve been fine but I tried a 3/2 shorty one day and it was just enough wind chill and cold water temperature to not do it again.

It will at times get busy on the water, because there are a lot of riders on all sorts of vessels (kite surfers, wind surfers, wing surfers and rescue boats) – so keep your eyes open and don’t jump until you have a clear runway! It is however a massive lagoon, and if it’s busy and and you don’t like it, all you have to do is to ride downwind a bit and then you have an area to yourself (but who are you going to show off your jumps to then?).

Can you back roll?

The level in the lagoon is pretty low. People are here to take lessons, casually mow the lawn or maybe practise a few basic jumps. This might be comforting to some, but personally I get inspired when someone pulls off a dark slide front roll to blind out and other tricks with names too long to remember. The instructors are worth watching when they come out to play when their lessons have finished in the afternoon.

Personally I progressed like crazy in just a week in Dakhla. Switch pop to blind (never really bothered with this awkward trick in the past but after a few tries it started to click), switch double fronts, double back transition with a kite loop, more consistency on my front to blinds. I even got some unhooked done in my final two days when the wind was on the lighter side. Thanks to Barbara for filming!

To summarise my week at Dakhla Attitude

Wind all year around, temperatures that don’t deviate much over the year and a centre that provide all you need for your KESR holiday. This is the allure of Dakhla Attitude. Will I be back for more? Most likely.

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