Surfers from 26 countries came to compete on Kontiki Beach in Netanya on January 18, 2019. The SEAT Pro Netanya was the first stop on the 2019 World Surf League European Qualifying Series.

Following five exciting days of action, Eithan Osborne of California claimed victory in the final bout against Tristan Guilbaud of France held in three- to four-foot surf in Israeli Mediterranean waters.

A tense moment in the 2019 SEAT Pro Netanya surfing competition, January 18, 2019. Photo by Flash90

“This feels incredible,” Osborne said afterward. “My grandpa’s brother and uncles live here and my mom’s grandpa was from here so we have family ties here. It’s my second time visiting and I always have an incredible time.”

The first 30 minutes of the final saw a disappearing swell until a good set gave both surfers an opportunity to improve their scores.

Surfers competing in the 2019 SEAT Pro Netanya surfing competition, January 18, 2019. Photo by Flash90

Splitting the peak, Guilbaud went to his backhand on the left and locked in a couple of good turns for 5.43, while Osborne went right and unleashed a big first turn and a couple smaller ones for a 6.20 to reinforce his lead.

Two surfers struggling to stay on their boards in the 2019 SEAT Pro Netanya surfing competition, January 18, 2019. Photo by Flash90

Guilbaud, who achieved his career-best result to date, said his powerful style of surfing suited the waves perfectly in Israel. He will be the man to beat when the European Qualifying Series continues early next month in the Canary Islands.

The SEAT Pro Netanya is supported by Israel Surfing Association, the city of Netanya, SEAT, Maccabi Israel, Otzma, the Olympic Committee of Israel, The Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Australian Embassy, FCS Israel, Tshuva Urban Renewal and others.