After taking a beating, getting hit by a ski, losing a board and not catching a single wave at Mavericks, things weren't looking too great for Morocco's big wave charger Othmane Choufani.
Otho had made the trip last month for that mega session that rumbled the West Coast's Half Moon Bay. But getting beat up on what you thought would be a super swell is a tough one to take, even for the hardiest of souls. Otho's a name you should know, if you don't already, putting in the time at Chopes, Mavs, Puerto Escondido, Jaws and everywhere in-between.
But this isn't a story about Mavs. While California failed to reach expectations for Otho, a blip on the forecast had been playing out at the back of his mind. Not at Chopes or the States or Puerto or Jaws but closer to home in North Africa. Just a few days after this Mavs incident, Otho was back at LAX and Morocco-bound to score a rarely breaking big wave spot.
This is Otho's story behind that monster as presented in the cover shot heading up this piece. He tells MSW: ''I got a call from a friend when I was trying to relax again before going back out at Mavs. He asked me about the big swell in Morocco so I told him that I would check and let him know.
''As soon as I saw the forecasts and the map, I texted my mum and asked if she could change my ticket because I needed to go back to Morocco ASAP. But, with the jet lag, it was super hard to get a call with the airline company. I went back out at Mavs and got nothing. Not one single wave. And I was super tired, hadn't slept for a day. So it was a bummer but I had this Morocco swell in the back of my mind.
''I flew back to Morocco and called a few friends to see if they were keen to join but no one could pull it off because of the Pipe Pro. So, here I am, alone, for the swell.
''Luckily my sponsor, Paradis Plage, set up two skies for me but the guy who was supposed to bring the sled didn't show up, so everything was pretty hard but I couldn't let this opportunity to surf this rare wave go.
''I called a friend who drove once a ski for me out there before. I said I needed him and he said ''ok I'm down!'' So this was Thursday, the day before the swell hits. Friday morning we left super early and drove a few hours to get to the spot and we saw this crazy line up – I've never seen it like this before, the wave was big.
''We got down to the beach and there was no where to launch the ski because construction workers were building a new little harbour! I started to trip out. Eventually, I asked a guy with a tractor to help us. He took an hour but created a little access route for us and the ski and as we set out, I could tell it was super powerful and fast, breaking on the second reef and sucking on the first.
''I went out and couldn't find my spot because of the current. I got caught right away by a big set and lost my board. My friend, Lou Delucchi, came to pick me up and I told him not again, thinking of what happened at mavericks a few days before.
''It took us 10 minutes to found my board, once we found it, I told my friend to watch for the perfect spot to jump off the ski so I didn't have to deal with that rip when the big sets came. It was kinda mathematic but It worked and I got one outsider and got the bowl and got smoked.
''I was going backwards. I got super pounded on this one and had to pull my life vest and got up right before the second wave. I was pretty tired at this stage but managed to get a little fun one and was done for the day. On the way back I feel asleep in the car for three hours then went home and slept till the day after 11am [laughs].''