People are often amazed when I tell them there is surf in Israel. Situated in the Middle East, Israel typically makes people think of desert and camels, when in fact it is a beautiful country filled with mountains, coastal plains, deserts and waves. While I have experienced some great surf in Israel, the Mediterranean Sea can often look like a lake! But if you happen to be in Israel when the waves show up, it can be quite fun. Even after all the years I've spent traveling to Israel and waiting for those waves, I still can't get over the fact that I'm actually surfing in the Promised Land. There's nothing quite like paddling out at Jaffa, with a backdrop of the most ancient port city in the world. And knowing that the Hebrew prophet Jonah set sail from this same place nearly 3,000 years ago is hard to comprehend. How is it that such an ancient place is still around? And how is it that I'm surfing in Israel!?
The Israeli surfing population has significantly grown in recent years to an estimated 15,000 to 20,000. From the Gaza Strip in the south to the border of Lebanon in the North, Israelis can be found surfing the various beach, reef and point breaks that the coastline has to offer. The water is a beautiful turquoise blue and quite a bit warmer than the chilly Pacific we are accustomed to in Southern California.
During an early-morning dawn patrol for one of our filming sessions, the wind was blowing lightly offshore and the waves were hollow. I remember looking in at sand dunes covered in green coastal bushes and thinking to myself, Where in the world am I? Hossegor, France? Western Australia? Nope, I'm surfing in Israel, and there's no place i'd rather be.
Director/Co Producer of Promised Land