World’s elite surfers converge on Netanya for competition

Some 120 athletes from around the world arrived in Israel to compete in the World Surf League men’s QS 3,000 at Netanya’s Kontiki Beach. 

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Surfing pros from around the world converged on Netanya’s beach in Israel to compete in the World Surf League men’s QS 3,000.

Some 120 athletes from many countries, including Israel, are competing at the Seat Pro Netanya, held at Kontiki Beach. The competition marks the first event of the 2019 season.

The competition is drawing a lot of attention ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

This is the fourth consecutive year in which aspiring pros are having the chance to launch their season in the beautiful Mediterranean waters of Netanya, just north of Tel Aviv.

The stormy weather in Israel has ensured that the competition is a real challenge. However, the event was called off Wednesday as a massive swell and gale-force winds wreaked havoc. Event officials will reassess the conditions on Thursday.

Defending event champion Matthew McGillivray said he had “such good memories from last year, so I was really excited to be back here again.”

The event is slated to conclude on Saturday, and the champion will take home a $75,000 prize.

Yossi Zamir, head of Israel’s surfing organization, said that this year’s event – a 10-day festival for surfing fans in Israel – is the largest ever.