windsurfing - Israel Sailing Association - Aug 24 2010
Windsurfers in Israel. Photo by Israel Sailing Association
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The storm that battered Israel's shoreline is just what windsurfers were waiting for. The waves, which were several meters high at some points, drew the surfers to the beaches at Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ashdod.

"The storm and the waves are just what brings us out of the house," said Shahar Zubari, who won an Olympic bronze medal for windsurfing in Beijing in 2008. "I came all the way from Eilat to catch these waves. There were a few other people crazy about this thing along with me. It's just fun."

Zubari said the risks of such weather conditions did not faze him.

"I think I'm experienced enough to know the sea and deal with the conditions," he said. "I've surfed in a lot of storms and they say this is the biggest storm here in recent years. When I was down at the Dophinarium Beach in Tel Aviv yesterday, I saw the sand had reached Hayarkon Street. That just thrilled me. I understood how big the storm was and that just got me into the water faster."

But while the surfers were heading out, their battles against the sea were not being showcased on Monday on the windsurfing websites that usually show such images. Those sites devoted their space to photos of the storm damage instead.

Waves turned parking lots in Jaffa into pools, and almost completely inundated the Sidna Ali Beach in Herzliya.

"I woke up late so I only went windsurfing in the afternoon," Shai Goldberg said at the Herzliya beach Sunday. "The sea was a mess, but those are the best waves. There were a few other psychos with me who come windsurfing, especially on days when there's a storm. That's the time to go to the sea."