Lebanon: tons of floating opportunities

Lebanon is the 84th Member Nation of the International Surfing Association (ISA).

The Lebanese Republic has Syria to the north and east, Israel to the south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west.

Although surfing and standup paddleboarding are fairly new sports to the country, fishermen have been using two-men boats to collect fish with nets since the 1950s, and often ride waves back to shore to stay in shape.

"While our country might be better known for our warm culture and rich food, we have a variety of reef and beach breaks that make Surfing and StandUp Paddling possible to practice year round and to help develop world-class competitors," says Ali Elamine, Lebanon Surf and Sport (LSS) president.

The Lebanon Surf and Sport (LSS) was founded in 2012, when there were about 10 surfers nationwide. Over the past two years they have grown to about 100 surfers and 50 standup paddleboarders, a number that will most likely double in size by next year.

The Vice President of the LSS, Mustafa El Hajj, is a disabled surfer who continues to surf every chance he gets despite having only 10% sight, and who has provided a source of inspiration to local surfers in the country.

Lebanon has a variety of surf breaks, from reefs to sandy bottom waves along the Mediterranean Sea, which spans about 140 miles (225 kilometers) along its western border.

The most popular wave is called "Mustafa's A-Frame." Named after the LSS Vice President, the rocky, reef bottom provides a playful wave that breaks longer to the left once the wave breaks over six-feet. "Pierre and Friends" is another beach break with a restaurant and bar located right on the beach that is popular with locals and tourists.

There is also a wave called "Chekka" that only breaks a few times a year, but offers a fun right-handed wave over a sandy bottom and is a good place to go during a bigger swell. There are also other breaks including Jebail, Sur, Beirut and many others that are still virtually undiscovered by surfers.

Standup paddleboarding spots are endless along the Eastern Mediterranean in Lebanon, and paddlers can travel everywhere from the north of Lebanon in Tripoli, through the central part of Beirut, all the way south towards Naqoura, which offers a thriving sea life below.