The World Surf League is pleased to announce the brand-new SEAT Pro Netanya pres. by Billabong, a QS1,500 men's event in Netanya, Israel, as the first event of the 2016 Qualifying Series sanctioned by WSL Europe. The event will run from January 16-27 at the pristine, white-sand Kontiki Beach in Netanya, gathering European professional athletes as well as traveling international surfers on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean sea.
Located in the central district of Israel, Netanya is a surf-stoked city with impressive breaks and a large community of surfers. Kontiki's beach breaks are well known for their hollow conditions, which light up on a northern swell to produce some of the best waves in the country.
Surfing is becoming one of the most popular sports in Israel, with a distinct surf culture and burgeoning community of surfers of all ages. The sport was introduced to Israel in the early 1950s by Dr. Dorian Paskowitz, an American surfer, and has been growing ever since. As the demand for tailor-made surf craft has increased, local shapers have met the need for equipment to suit the local conditions.
Among the crowd of avid surfers flocking to the shores of Israel when conditions allow, a few names have made it to international recognition like Yoni Klein who has won an amateur event in the Maldives a few weeks ago, or the Lelior sisters, Anat and Noa who have been competing in the European Junior series this season.
The SEAT Pro Netanya pres. by Billabong will launch the 2016 European Qualifying Series with 1,500 ranking points available, as well as a $25,000 prize purse. With a format of up to 96 surfers, this inaugural event promises a solid start to the European QS series.
"It is always exciting to take the QS series to new locations," said Rob Gunning, WSL Europe Tour Manager. "After having surfers from Israel competing in our European events for so many years, it is great for the local surfers to have an event staged in their country."
The SEAT Pro Netanya pres. by Billabong will be the second professional surfing event staged in Israel, as the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP, now WSL) ran a specialty event in 1983. That contest was won by Hawaiian 1993 World Champion, Pipe Master and multiple Triple Crown-winner Derek Ho.
The SEAT Pro Netanya pres. by Billabong is scheduled to run from January 16-25, 2016 at Kontiki Beach in Netanya, Israel. Results, photos, video highlights and daily event news will be available at the WSL website and app.