By: Gabrielle Donati
Usually you associate surf season with the wild waves of winter, but let’s face it, not all of us are experience surfers. Luckily the summer is the perfect time to set out for the Tel Aviv beaches and start learning. The calmer waters make the challenge a bit less daunting, and it’s so hot and balmy outside, the water is more enticing than ever.
Check out these awesome Tel Aviv surf and water sports clubs that offer classes suitable for beginners and experts alike, as well as reasonable equipment rentals.
And if you’re not familiar with the terminology and different types of activities, we’ve got some explanations for you at the end of the article.
Tel Aviv Surf Clubs
Israel’s oldest surf club, the story of Topsea dates all the way back to 1957 and a young doctor named Dorian Paskowitz, who is credited with being Israel’s first surfer.
Owned and managed by the Paskowitz offspring, Topsea is one of the most popular surf schools in the country, and although the focus here is mainly on instruction, rentals of surf, boogie, and SUP (stand-up paddle) boards are also available. Adult wanna-be surfers can sign up for their flexible Friday morning 4-session course. For 700 NIS, you get a six-month window to use 4 sessions of 3 hours each, and English speakers are welcome. Call for details. For weekly fitness activities on SUP, contact Dor at 054-3629433.
Where: Atarim Plaza 2nd level, Tel Aviv-Yafo
SUP private lesson (1hr) — 200 NIS / Group lesson — 120 NIS
SUP rental 80 NIS/hr
Surfing private lesson (1hr) — 150 NIS / 2 students 250 NIS
Surfboard, boogieboard, and skateboard rental — 50 NIS/hr or 100 NIS/day
Israel Surf Club
Perched on Dolphinarium Beach (look for the Bluebird sign), ISC is a third-generation family-run operation that also gives props to Dorian Paskowitz, who inspired Frishman lifeguard Shaul Zinner to pick up a board and take to the sea.
A legendary Israeli surfer in his own right, Shaul’s surfing tradition continues with his sons and their children. There’s a genuine family atmosphere at ISC and everyone feels welcome, but it’s not just a surf club, it’s a lifestyle, and with a full-service restaurant, lockers, showers, and a surf shop on-site, there’s a infectious chill-out vibe going on here.
Where: Dolphinarium Beach, Tel Aviv-Yafo
Surfing private 2hr lesson — 200 NIS (1st hour instruction/2nd hour practice)
SUP lesson (1hr) — 200 NIS
SUP rental — 100 NIS/hr or 150 NIS/2hrs
Surfboard rental — 100 NIS/2hrs
Boogieboard rental — 60 NIS/2hrs
Levyam Sea Center
Levyam has all bases covered with two separate centers on either side of Gordon Pool near Hilton Beach. The center at the foot of the Hilton Hotel offers courses and beginner’s equipment rental for windsurfing, SUP boarding, sea kayaks, and sit-on-top kayaks.
The center near the marina offers SUP and small sailboat rentals. Operating hours are 9:30am ’til sunset and facilities include lockers, showers, and a small cafe. If you’re a water sports enthusiast and you’re in town for a long stay, their Members Club takes some awesome field trips. Inquire for details.
Where: Hilton Beach, Tel Aviv-Yafo
SUP lesson — 250 NIS/hr
SUP rental — 100 NIS/hr
Sea Kayak — 2 lessons (2 hours each) 690 NIS
Single Kayak (no lesson required) — 110 NIS/hr or Double Kayak 160 NIS/hr
Windsurfing 4 lessons (2 hours each) — 1560 NIS / Windsurfing rental 180 NIS/hr
This non-profit surf club is home to two of Israel’s top-ranked SUP surfers, Itzik Horesh and Khader Ashoor, but the coolest thing about this place is what they are doing to help kids from less-than-stellar circumstances. “At-risk” teens — those involved in petty crime, drugs, from abusive households, etc. — are guided to channel their intensity into surfing and SUP.
Under the supervision of Golan Gutierez, the kids learn first-hand that discipline, hard work, and dedication really do pay off, skills that can brighten what might have been a bleak future.
SUP lessons and rental is all they offer to non-members, but if you get the warm fuzzies from knowing that the money you just paid for your own fun and pleasure will contribute to a great cause, Local TLV hits it.
Where: Atarim Plaza 1st level, Tel Aviv-Yafo
Email: [email protected]
SUP private lesson — 200 NIS/hr / group lesson — 150 NIS/hr
SUP rental — 100 NIS/hr
SUP rental monthly unlimited — 600 NIS
SUP rental 10 visit package — 500 NIS
Water Sport Guide
Wondering what all these different activities are? Here’s some explanations…
SUP (Stand-up Paddle Boarding)
Thicker, longer, and wider than a longboard surfboard, paddle boards can be spotted all along the coastline. This water sport is all about standing up and paddling through the water, although skilled boarders catch waves like a “real” surfer and participate in the newest rage, paddleboard racing.
If you prefer to keep your center of gravity a bit closer to the ground, boogieboarding is the water sport for you. With only your torso and pelvis resting on the board, catching a wave is a flashback to your backyard slip-n-slide.
Sit-on-top kayaks don’t require lessons or experience; sit-inside-kayaks (sea kayaks) require a private or group lesson before going out to sea. That makes for an easy decision.
Longboards, shortboards, fish boards, gun boards, there’s a whole science to this sport. If you’re a beginner, just listen to the pro.
The marriage of surfing and sailing, prior experience at both is beneficial for mastering this sport.
With Tel Aviv surf clubs peppering the coastline – it’s easy to find one nearby. If you have no previous experience, a private or group lesson is mandatory (not required for sit-on-top kayaks and boogieboards). If you claim to have experience, be prepared to answer some questions to verify that you know what you’re doing; safety is taken very seriously.
In general, if you need to book a lesson, please schedule in advance.
Opening hours are typically dawn to dusk.
About the author
Gabrielle Donati lives a life of relative ease in the great White City. She is a veteran writer, critic and all-in-all decent person, once you get to know her. A devout Pastafarian who puts an emphasis on living healthy and happy, she enjoys discovering and sharing the many little pleasures of the city.