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For a girl that first stood up on a borrowed bodyboard ten years ago, Meryem El Gardoum has progressed quickly, to say the least. Currently Morocco’s four time female surfing champion, Meryem lives, breathes, and sleeps surf. At only 21, Meryem is fearless, and insanely talented, charging double and triple overhead Anchor Point near her home village of Tamraght in Southern Morocco. On our visit, she led us down the dusty roads along the Atlantic, welcoming us into her beautiful world, nestled between cactus and stone.
Meryem comes from a traditional Muslim family, where pursuing professional surfing isn’t entirely common, but that doesn’t mean it is out of the question. Her family and friends have always supported her, and cruising around Taghazout with Meryem, it’s clear that she’s part of a lively, loving community of multi-talented surfer, skater, and artist friends.
"Step by step, I fell in love with that feeling. Standing and riding a wave, I realized, I can’t imagine my life without surfing. I grew up falling in love with it. Just to be in the ocean is the important thing, that’s all I want."
When Meryem isn’t surfing, she’s busy running her surf coaching business, @merysurfcoach, where she teaches other young Moroccan women how to surf. She is an ISA certified surf coach offering private or group surf lessons. Thanks to Meryem’s help, more and more local women have been taking to the waves.