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Women Making Waves: Shiraz Ksaiba

Women Making Waves: Shiraz Ksaiba

Women Making Waves gives us a chance to celebrate women from across the globe who are carving their own path. Creating a life they want and riding waves along the way. These women are strong, empowering and brave. They have gone against what society has told them to do and are living the lives that they want.

We caught up with Shiraz Ksaiba, a multi creative who decided to go against the grain and up sticks, move to Morocco and fall in love with her passions all over again.

Meet Shiraz Ksaiba

I started Amayour Surf with my moroccan partner M’hand nearly 2 years ago – we were in a long distance relationship which was great as when we would meet and it would holidays but also hard as anyone who has been in one knows.
Starting Amayour for myself was to fulfil a long desired ambition to leave the UK and try and see if I could make it work in a different country and for M’hand he wanted to have his own surf business. We wanted to try to create something that was different to the other hostels in town & provide something that had quality for an great price.
I made different decisions to a lot of people and have been a mum for longer then not being a mum. I have 2 kids, my son is 21 and my daughter is 8, I felt a lot of social pressure not leave the UK for schooling reasons with my son even though I always wanted to explore the world, saying that I have been lucky enough to have had the chance to travel fairly broadly in my life. My feelings on Amayour Surf is that it is also a huge creative project, it’s a never ending one that we all are super proud of and strive to carry on growing. We want to make a safe and beautiful place and grew this from a tiny idea into a real place!

How did your life in photography get you to where you are today?
After finishing at art school I worked various jobs, whilst working on my own practice and was lucky to be involved with a start up of a kids contemporary art magazine which was an amazing project and I still work with the founder who is now about to direct her first short taken from her first novel. Working in the arts and film and photography allowed me to never have to work the 9-5, which I am pretty happy about!

I went on to work in an amazing Arts Science agency (Arts Catalyst) I learnt a lot there about production,  during this time they produced some really a far out exciting and challenging projects. After my redundancy here (due to the arts cuts) part of my deal was that I had a life coach. In these sessions I told my coach that I wanted to start taking photos again (as I had stopped like a writer’s block) and start working again as a photographer (within 5 years) and within 10 to have started a surf hostel.

In less than 5 years I had started Amayour Surf here in Morocco. During this time working in the Arts, film and Photography I met the most creative and inspiring people which have always pushed boundaries. This is an inspiring place to be and translate to life here.

There is a limit as with everything and working in this field you don’t often here  “You can not do this it is always “How can we do this and do it safely?” And I find that the we can make things happen attitude is something that the Moroccans are very adapt to. I also think that working in production you can turn your hand to anything which sits well for running a place that we have.

What made you want to up sticks and move to Morocco, was there a pinnacle moment that you can remember?
I loved Taghazout the first time I came here which was about 7 or 8 years ago, it has it charm and I can see why people fall under its spell, it is though without its issues but like a lot of places everything is a working progress and I think that is what some love about it.  I am glad I have come here before it’s totally getting redeveloped it feels like you are the the start of something exciting.

I met my partner here and being Moroccan it is harder for him to travel. Europeans take it for granted. So the idea of Amayour Surf came around, the name comes from M’hands nickname it means full moon in Berber, the rest as they say is history. We wanted to be together and him coming to the UK was not going to be possible so I moved myself with my little girl here.

What is it about Morocco that you love?
I am half Tunisian, maybe it reminds me of my where I started my life without the beach and also I then grew up in Bournemouth on the beach so maybe Taghazout is like a perfect mix of the two. I love the fact that we can make things happen here in a way that is more open and simple We could have never started a business like this in the UK without a massive amount of capital. Here it’s been hard work, initiative and drive that has got us here.

How do you give back to the community?
We are involved with the local community on many levels from beach cleans to sponsoring events and teams and initiatives. I have always felt that education is important so for me it is important that the Amayour Team can access it from learning to drive to having English lesson to getting instructors ISA.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up a businesses abroad?
Choose the best people you can get around you this might take time, but I think that is the same with any business and job or team always surround yourselves with the best. Be prepared to change your practice.  Be prepared to work every day & every hour of it (working in film is good grounding for long long hours.) Be prepared to start from the ground up. Trust that what you are doing has value. Be flexible but really strong willed. Be ok with being lonely as you will miss your friends and family and home comforts but if you are working hard then you won’t find that much time for that.

How has your daughter adapted to the change and does she love surfing too.
I am not going to lie the first year was tough but now with more friends and her out of school activities it’s easier. She can run and play in the village and in the summer, she is practically living on the beach. She has more freedom than in London. She is not so keen in winter waves but loves the summer fun ones and last summer was always out on her board but atm she is more into dancing & horse riding. She is a great addition to the Amayour team and loves having a captive audience.

Plans for Amayour
We have grown the hostel from a really small 8 bed to 13 bed this past season and plans to evolve again next ready for next season, but  we still have the bespoke personal vibes.

I love that people can ask us for any configurations of packages or things to do and  will make it happen, not everyone fits into the big camp vibes which I feel  can be a bit of a machine – in one week out the next.

I love the planning and strategy stage and I am super stoked about our new residencies programme alongside our rolling packages we are announcing our residency weeks. Unique surf weeks, each with a special twist and guest teachers featuring voga, (voguing and yoga,) top chef Tim Spedding who loves surfing and fish which Taghazout has plenty of.

Visit the website: amayoursurf.com

Women Making Waves gives us a chance to celebrate women from across the globe who are carving their own path. Creating a life they want and riding waves along the way. These women are strong, empowering and brave. They have gone against what society has told them to do and are living the lives that they want.

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