As a country that is located on the coastline of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, water sports including surfing are some of the most widely played water sports in Israel. The main types of surfing in Israel are wave surfing, kite surfing (surfing with parachutes), wind surfing, and in recent years sap surfing which involves rowing while standing. Although surfing began in the 1920s, it wasn’t very popular in cities such as Tel-Aviv at the time. The sport’s popularity in Israel really began in the 1950s when a young doctor named Dorian Petkovich arrived from California with his surfboard and followed his dream to establish a surfing team to represent Israel someday in the world championships.
The most popular of all surfing styles in Israel, is waves surfing. This sport takes place entirely in the Mediterranean Sea, which is very different and unique from other surfing styles. There are many beaches in Israel that fit the needs of a wave surfer, and therefore these beaches have become the second home of the Israeli surfer. In Haifa this would be the Bat-Galim beach. In Hertzelia it is has Zvulun beach, and in Tel-Aviv the Dolpinarium and the Hilton beaches which are also lit during the summer allow surfing throughout the night. The sport’s popularity has created a big demand for surfing courses, surfing classes and even surfing summer camps for both locals and tourists alike. The “wave surfers” organization is the only official surfing institute recognized by the Israeli government and is responsible for all surfing contests, surfing schools, and the Israeli surfing teams (men women and children), as well as providing surfing scholarships.
Kite surfing is a relatively young sport in Israel. Worldwide the sport began in 1997, and it finally reached Israel in 2000. The surfing is done on a smaller board, and with the use of a parachute harnesses the power of the wind to move across water. You can find kite surfers all across the Mediterranean and Red sea and much like wave surfing, a few kite surfing clubs have opened in recent years and offer courses and classes. One of the more well known individuals in this field is AmitInbar who owns a surfing club in Yanai-Beach, and who previously coached the Israeli surfing team, achieving 2nd place in the world champion three times, and having been ranked 1st in the world for four times, and twice champion of Europe.
One of the latest trends that can be seen on the Israeli coastline is SAP surfing (Stand Up Paddle). Wave surfing requires waves, Kite surfing requires wind, and SAP surfing can fit all and any conditions in the sea. The SAP surfer stands on the board and rows with a paddle. The SAP board is longer and wider than the wave-surfing board, to allow additional stability has become widely popular in the calm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. SAP surfing has also given birth to something new called SAP Yoga, where the surfer also practices yoga on the board. Does this sound appealing to you? Ask your local hotel reception for more information.