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Surfing in Tel Aviv

By: Amir Yarkoni

The wind is blowing south-west. The swell is up… let's go surfing!

If you've done it before – you know what surfing is about. If not – you must try it at least once before you die….. :-)

Tel Aviv, situated along the beach at the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, offers surfing all year-round. Though water temperature gets cool at winter with lows reaching 14 degrees Celsius, winter usually offers the best swells if you are an experienced surfer.
surfing hilton beach

Tel Aviv surfing is generally mild, nothing like the power surfing Mecca's of Way Mea bay Hawaii, Kuta Beach, Indonesia, Bell's Beach in Australia or the likes, but you can still enjoy a great surfing experience in beach-oriented Tel Aviv.

In recent years, a surfing culture has been developing in Israel. If you wonder around the beach, you will see many surfboards (and other marine sporting devices) in the beaches when the swell is up.

For several years now, a surfing culture has been developing in Tel-Aviv Israel.
The surfing bug spans all types of people and all ages, from 6 year old kids to 50 year old lawyers, but for some reason, not enough lady surfers are seen at the beach like in California or Australia. You will see long boards, short boards, buggy boards of all sizes shapes and colors.

Water temperature in the Mediterranean varies extremely between winter and summer. At summertime the water gets as hot as 28-29 degrees Celsius, and that's hot….! During winter, the water cools down to a quite-cold 14 degrees Celsius, so you will need a wetsuit. In the interim seasons the temperatures are gradually shifting, colder at autumn towards winter and hotter at spring towards summer.

Wave height and when to go surfing

Wave height – the wave's height at medium-surfing days ranges 0.5 – 1M (2-3.5 feet). On many days the morning swell offers the best surf with no wind, so the waves are breaking long and perfect. It is recommended to wake up early and get to the beach at 6-7AM. Don't worry, you won't be alone….In good surfing days you will find others in the water at dawn.

Later, at 8-9 the perfect swell tends to get ruined and the swell can get a little chaotic with waves breaking shorter and in a messier manner.

On high swells, the waves can get as high as 2-3 Meters. This usually happens in fall and winter, and sometimes at spring. This is time for the more able and experienced surfers to come out to the scene.

Tel Aviv's good surfing spots tend to get very crowded during weekends, when the surf is up. During weekdays at a good swell, they will also get crowded, especially in the early mornings when many working surfers come to enjoy the swell before their day at the office. They may also be back surfing after a day at the office. Naturally, summer is the busiest season at the surf line.

Where to go surfing in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv offers approximately 15-20 KM of beach stretch, but not all of it is good for surfing. Some of the best surfing sports in Tel Aviv are listed here, from south northward:

The West Shore

Situated in the border of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, against the Etzel museum, this is one of the best surfing spots in Tel Aviv, and my personal favorite. It offers open water surfing with the swell usually a bit higher than the rest of Tel Aviv's surfing spots. It is recommended for the more proficient surfer, especially if the swell is high. On this Tel Aviv beach, waves break far from the shoreline and it's not easy to paddle out to the break line. On high swells, the west shore might get messy and then the Dolifinarium can be a better choice. The beach is sandy with no rocks. When riding waves, beware of the 2 concrete polls inside the water, which face off the best break spot of the beach.

Dolifinarium Beach

A little north of the west shore and partly protected by a waterbreak, this is a popular and good surfing location. The protection of the waterbreak allows for easy paddle-out for the inexperienced surfer. Also, as a result of the waterbreak, the waves come to the surfers more orderly, offering good surf in days of 1-meter waves and above. In low swell days, the waves break too close to the shore and it's more suitable for buggy boards, kids and beginners. On high swell days, however, this may be the best surf spot in Tel Aviv, as others get too messy while the relatively-protected Dolifinarium is still good to surf. The beach is sandy and convenient.

Hilton Beach

Hilton Beach is probably the best and most famous surfing beach in Tel Aviv, and is certainly favored by the Tel Aviv surfing pros. With water breaks on both sides of the surf line, it is quite protected; however, in high swells, the surf line is actually beyond the waterbreaks. The waves are wide, breaking very well most of the day when surf is up. The beach is rocky and many surfboards (and hearts) were broken in Hilton. To get there, just ask for directions to the Hilton Beach by the Tel-Aviv Marina.

Tel Baruch Beach

Tel Baruch beach is in the north of Tel Aviv, a wide open and less urban, with good surf. The surf is usually good all day long, and the beach is sandy. The beach is located on the border between North Tel-Aviv and the neighboring city of Hertzlia. Also, you should be aware that about 400-meters nearby, some hookers patrol the vicinity although they do not come down to the beach and in any case – the whole area, like Tel-Aviv itself, is very safe in relation to crime, day and night.

Surfing in Israel

Israel has approximately 190KM stretch of beaches along the Mediterranean; many of them offer good surfing. Some of the best surfing spots are actually outside of Tel Aviv, in the north and south of the country. Good surfing exists in Bat Yam (meaning "daughter of the sea"), a bit south of Tel Aviv and further south in Ashdod and Ashkelon. To the North, Hertzlia, Netanya, and the open beaches of Beit Yanai and Michmoret all offer good wave riding. Further north, Haifa has some excellent surfing spots, especially Bat Galim.

Other marine sports in Tel Aviv

Wind surfing is a growing sport in Israel and Tel Aviv in particular. There are many windy days in Tel Aviv, which make the conditions good for wind-surfing and open sailing. There are two main wind surfing centers in Tel Aviv: in the south, at the Dolifinarium beach, the Amit Inbar (one of Israel's leading wind surfers), Surf Club and in the north, Hilton Surf Club. Both offer equipment rental, storage and surfing courses.

In recent years Kite surfing is booming in Tel Aviv, especially in the Dolifinarium. In good days, you can see dozens of Kites literally "flying" on the water. If you come there on a late Friday afternoon, you’ll be able to enjoy that with hundreds of colorful people that are playing drums, flutes, dancing on the sand, playing Frisbee or simply staring out at the marvelous sunset.

Kayak surfing has also taken its place in recent years in the break line, with enthusiasts paddling in and out fast and furious…..usually the Hilton break line is a mixture of surfboards and Kayaks.

Jacky Says...

  1. Paddling into the surf line can be quite rough… try the Dolifinarium before other beaches if like me, you are just a beginner.
  2. The beaches in Tel Aviv are not known to be extremely clean. For me it's ok but humans have a bit more sensitive skin so check before getting into the water that there wasn't a spill.
  3. Don’t be an ass – take a Friday afternoon off to go to the Dofinarium Beach or ask someone where “Chof Hatupim” (Drums Beach) is. You don’t need a surf board but definitely take your camera.

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