Surfer paradise thrives in Moroccan backwater

On the fringes of the world's greatest desert in Morocco, a fledging surf community is swelling.

A group of instructors are teaching more than 100 local children how to catch waves in Tarfaya, hoping to revive the fortunes of the sleepy fishing port.

Salim Maatoug previously worked as a tour guide in Marrakesh.

He hopes the classes won't just offer a taste of freedom, but a tool for empowerment.

"We were trying to find a way so that young girls can surf too. Now we have a lot of girls surfing, girls that are the future of this club. In the future, we want a girl, with a new perspective, to lead."

Perched between the Sahara desert and Atlantic ocean, Tarfaya is little more than a backwater way station - offering few jobs for its 9,000 inhabitants.

At their coffee shop, the surfers meet and play music.

Using loans for surfboards and wetsuits, they are hoping to battle the lure of illegal and perilous boat journeys taking migrants to the Canary Islands 100km away.

Thousands of migrants have drowned at sea, meaning the group had to win over many parents fearful of the ocean's swells - promising to open their children's horizons through the sport and teach them how to ride the waves.

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