Until Gal Fridman won a gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics most people didn’t realize that windsurfing is a serious sport in Israel. It’s possible to learn to windsurf in Israel in just a few lessons and to practice all year round.
All along Israel’s Mediterranean Coast, there are windsurfing schools where you can learn how to windsurf. Recommended locations for Windsurfing in Israel include Sdot Yam, Herzliya and Tel Aviv in the north of the country, and Eilat in the south.
Thanks to the calm waters and the great weather, it is an easy sport to pick up. There are many experienced instructors – expect to pay less than $100 for a private one-hour lesson and around $300 for a six-hour course. You can also rent all the equipment that you need, including wet suits and life-jackets for novice sailors.
Windsurfing is combination of surfing and sailing, sometimes known as sailboarding or board-sailing. It involves balancing on a fibre-glass board that is between 2 – 4 meters long, with a sail mounted on a mast and boom that you can rotate to control the direction of the board.
Balancing on the board requires good core stability. During your initial lessons you will learn how to steer and turn the sail. It takes more skill to learn to control it in the face of the fluctuations of wind and waves, but it is an essential safe sport that can be enjoyed just a few meters from shore in relatively shallow water.
In the winter when the seas are rough, windsurfing is not recommended for beginners, but during most of the year you can enjoy the sun, the sea and the surf in Israel. It is also fun to watch Israel’s dare-devil sailors cruising the waves, performing jumps, loops and other freestyle spinning moves.
Gal Fridman’s Olympic performances helped to make windsurfing popular. You could say that he was born for sailing, since his name Gal means wave, and he was introduced to windsurfing at the age of 7. He won the Olympic Bronze medal for Israel in Atlanta in 1996 and was named Israeli Sportsman of the Year. He then won Israel’s only Olympic Gold medal (to date!) at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Today he is retired from competitive sport and coaches Israel’s windsurfing team, as well as running a Stand-Up-Paddle Board company – but that’s a different sport altogether!
On your next visit to Israel, why not catch the wave and enjoy windsurfing in Israel! Talk to Shatour about windsurfing in Israel.