We love seeing sessions from out of the blue, those places that rarely grace the pages of humble surf media. Oh, we know Israel gets waves, of course – but have you ever seen that corner of the earth perform a pretty damn fine Hossegor impression?
We're sure that's happened, too. Yet, the phrase “swell of the decade” was bounded around for Israel on Sunday and Monday by more than one local. And as you can see from the pics, it sure looks more Euro beachie than anything else.
Spot guide: Israel
Photograher Amit Schestowitz relayed the following info after taking the pics you see throughout: “A solid forecast for Israel on magicseaweed - it’s something you don’t see often here. Over the past week there was some good waves but I've been preparing myself for the big Monday morning.
“Sunday, noon, I was driving on the highway on my way to Haifa city, when i looked at the sea and I knew that something good was gonna happen. It was super glassy and with amazing shape, it was like a “deja vu” of Hossegor, it was amazing feeling to see my hometown like this.
“Then on Monday morning it was over to Nahariya for the big swell. I woke up early to come for the sunrise. I could see large waves on the horizon. It took a little bit of time and it wasn’t super inviting but it was XXL for Israel, probably regular size for everywhere else, and it was amazing to see the surfers' level and good vibes.”
Surfing in Israel has been growing steadily for the past few decades. Beachies throughout the country's tideless Mediterranean coast are full of water-users; surfers, SUPs, longboarders. In recent years, it's estimated that the amount of people in the water has tripled. And while that is a difficult number to quantify, those on the ground are reporting more and more people in the water and a bit of an industry boon around the city of Tel Aviv.
That surfing is popular in Israel is common knowledge. The WSL host a QS event there, which helps compliment the country's rich beach culture. “The scene has really developed, too developed sometimes,” says Yoni Klein, who spends much of time at home in the bustle of Tel Aviv. “It gets pretty crowded in the main spots but the surf school industry is booming, definitely going forward.
“It has been popular for a while now but recently it's definitely become more mainstream. Surf wear is kind of a thing here (surf brand market rolls just shy of 100 million dollars a year, on 7 million inhabitants) we've had local shapers since late 70s and now you can find almost every surfboard brand here,” says Yoni. “There's mainstream TV shows for kids about surfers that probably contribute more than the WSL does.”
The majority of Israel's coastline is a west-facing stretch that spans around 270-miles. There's also a smaller south coast that meets with the Red Sea at the Gulf of Aqaba. In the MSW data base, there are dozens of spots dotted along Israel's Mediterranean coast, featuring a range of setups varying in quality. See HERE.
Conflict? “Doesn't really make it to the water, mate. Everyone's chilled,” says Yoni. “We have a few up and coming groms that could do really well in the comps abroad with the right guidance like 18-year-old Anat Leilor, who is getting some good results on the QS already.
“We have trainers and the whole sport is starting to be seen as an athletic, Olympic sport. We're still behind the leading countries, but we will get there in a few years, I'm sure.”