April 27, 2009

Israeli Rescue Paddleboard Surfing
Giv'atayim, Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Walking around Tel Aviv today, waiting for my passport to process, I came across a guy surfing on a board, and in a style, that I've never seen before.

This strange surfer was presumably a terribly bored lifeguard, as many of the lifeguard towers on the beaches of this city sport a piece of rescue equipment that looks like a giant surfboard (but is much longer, thicker, wider, and is propelled using a double-bladed paddle like a kayak). I was told the name of the board in Hebrew, but can't recall.

The closest thing I can find to something similar is called stand up paddle surfing, but this seems to be done on more conventional longboards, with a single-bladed paddle. Likewise, a traditional rescue paddleboard is long and narrow—the Israeli variety seems much too slow to be an effective lifesaving platform.

Nevertheless, the Israeli continued to kill time (and me by watching him) as he really exerted himself catching sets and gradually paddling back out.

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