Tomer Shamgar is a 21 year-old windsurfer from Israel. He spent the whole summer on Gran Canaria and Tenerife, returned home, worked as a waiter to earn and save some money for his next trip to Cape Town, South Africa. Here’s a short clip called “mothercity – South Africa”, which includes brilliant wave action from the young Israeli.
Israeli Tomer Shamger windsurfs in waves around Cape Town
Interview with Tomer Shamgar
We had a chat with Tomer, who is really into wave windsurfing nowadays. Our aim was to find out more about the wave talent from Israel. He is an unsponsored rider, still, but has a good style and he stands out when he’s out in waves. We saw him riding on the Canary islands and were impressed.
Continentseven: How did you get in contact with watersport?
Tomer Shamgar: Well, my love affair with the sea started really early! I was born to a sailor father, who pushed me to the water non stop. Since I remember myself I have been around the ocean and the water. I know I was very lucky to be in this supporting environment that made it possible.
And how did you get into windsurfing?
My surfing career started as a wave surfer at the age of 10 and 5 years later I started windsurfing in a small port in Tel Aviv. I had my first attempts on a slippery Mistral board from 2002 that I found in the garage at the port. It was around 2012 or 2013.
And you were stoked from the beginning on?
I would say, I was motivated. I took all my money (1200 shakels\400 euros) two weeks later and bought my first equipment. It was too small for me and made my progress really hard. In the first two weeks I couldn’t surf at all and actually the only reason that I didn’t quit was because I spent all my money on the equipment and my ego wouldn’t let me give up, haha….
So you didn’t give up! How did you continue?
I started windsurfing in Tel Aviv, but soon enough I left Tel Aviv and started to search for different spots with better conditions, which helped me to advance. One of the spots was “Bat galim” beach in the northeastern part of Israel. The conditions in Bat Galim are the best in Israel: it’s a reef break with good wind direction (most of the time) and I am proud to call this beach my home spot! Some of the best windsurfers from Israel grew up at this beach. Among them are Arnon Dagan, Eyal Shelef, Ron Barel and more…
Was it easy for you to make it on the water?
My family supported me all the way, but still windsurfing and surfing was always something that I had to fight for. I live pretty far from the sea, around 40 minutes drive and for every session I needed to find a way to get to the beach. I remember myself spiking classes at school and running to the bus station to catch the earliest bus. It was a real challenge to for me to get to the sea every time. So I cherish every moment in the water and I felt that I need to push and maximize every session. When I look back I think that I’m lucky to live so far from the sea.
But in the meantime you spent quite a bit of time at the sea? Just think about your last summer!
Yeah, definitely. On my way back home after 4 amazing months in the Canary Islands I though about that. In 2019 it was the fourth time coming to this paradise, but the first time for a such a long time. I had so many amazing experiences in this magical islands. My personal goaI of this “trip” was to improve my level of riding and to start a career as a pro rider in the professional tour. On the way I met so many amazing people and friends that made this trip unique and meaningful. I want to say thanks for making this period unforgettable. I’m looking forward for the next adventures. I travelled to Cape Town this winter, in November and December. That was a great trip, too.
- video from summer 2019 on the Canary Islands
Why did you choose wave sailing?
Good question! Well, I think I can’t explain. It’s like to ask a surfer what is surfing for him. It’s everything. But there are no words to describe it. When I fly over the water searching for the next launch I’ve nothing in my head except the knowledge that this is the place I need to be. When I hit the ramp and fly through the air only with the power of the wind and the wave, it’s like pure happiness and pure adrenalin. Those couple of seconds I think about nothing and I just feel alive. This is why I’ve chosen wave sailing!
Who are your mentors?
I guess I need to write here the big names like Philip Köster or Victor Fernandez, but for me I think that my “heroes” are those who make everything and go against the current and write their own stories. People that believe in their way and go 100% to the target, even when the chances are against them! People like Ron Barel and Arnon Dagan.
Thanks for the interview and good luck for the next season and the years to come!
©continentseven 2020, photos by Maleenh Photography, Jose Pina & Tsahi Tod