Shahar Tzuberi

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Shahar Tzuberi
Shahar z.jpg
Personal information
Born (1986-09-01) September 1, 1986 (age 35)
Eilat, Israel
Height1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Weight70 kg (154 lb)[1]
ClubHapoel Eilat
Coached byYair Suari
Achievements and titles
World finalsBronze (2008)
Regional finalsGold (2009, 2010)
Olympic finalsBronze (2008)
Highest world ranking2nd (RS:X, 2009)
99th (Mistral, 2005)
Updated on 28 November 2020.
Tzuberi in 2010

Shahar Tzuberi (or Zubari, Hebrew: שחר צוברי‎; born September 1, 1986) is an Israeli windsurfer and Olympic bronze medalist, surfing in the "Neil Pryde" RS:X discipline.[2] He is a nephew of Gad Tsobari, the 1972 Olympic wrestler who escaped from Arab terrorists during the Munich massacre. He is a three-time Olympian.

Early life[edit]

Tzuberi was born in Eilat, Israel, to a family of both Mizrahi Jewish (Yemenite-Jewish) and Ashkenazi Jewish descent.[3][4] He began surfing at the age of 7, encouraged by his father, Ze'ev "Poodle" Tzuberi. After winning a number of local surfing competitions, he began training professionally. Tzuberi joined the Israel Defense Forces in 2005 and received an "Athlete of Excellence" status, allowing him to compete in international competitions. He went through recruit training in the Zikim base and then became a quartermaster in the Israeli navy base in Eilat, his hometown.[5] His cousin is Israeli surfer Hadar Heller.[citation needed]

Windsurfing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Tzuberi's first achievement was a silver medal in the 2000 Windsurfing World Championships for boys. With the Olympics in mind, Tzuberi began mastering the Mistral windsurfer (which was the windsurfer model used in the Olympic Games at the time). In 2002, Tzuberi won the under-17 World Championships, and in 2004, he won the silver medal in the Youth World Championships held in Bulgaria.

In 2004, the ISAF decided to replace the Olympic windsurfing discipline model from the Mistral surfboard to the "Neil Pryde" RS:X surfboard. The majority of Olympic windsurfers found it hard to adjust to the new model, as they were already used to years of sailing on the Mistral. However, this provided younger surfers, such as Tzuberi, with a chance to close the gaps in experience and catch up with the veteran windsurfers.

At the beginning of 2006, in the first Israeli windsurfing competition held using the RS:X model, he finished first, while two-time Israeli Olympic medalist Gal Fridman finished in 4th place.

Tzuberi's international results:

  • 2007 – Pre-Olympic championship silver medal finish in France.
  • 2007 – 6th-place finish in the European Championships held in Cyprus.
  • 2007 – 8th-place finish in the World Championships held in Portugal.

At the beginning of 2008, he won the bronze medal at the Windsurfing World Championships held in Auckland, New Zealand.

Beijing Olympics, 2008[edit]

Tzuberi competed for Israel at the 2008 Olympics, and entered the 2008 Olympic Games under the shadow of Gal Fridman, a two-time Olympic medalist for Israel. He was ranked outside the top 10 coming into the tournament, but upgraded to an overall 1st place after the first 4 (of the total 11) events, finishing 1st and 3rd respectively. In the following 4 events, Tzuberi's best finish was a 6th place, in between 17th, 18th and 19th-place finishes – results that seemed to end his hopes of an Olympic medal. He then won the 9th and placed 4th in the 10th event, thus re-entering the medal race as 4th place overall.

Just before the final medal race was about to start, Greek windsurfer Nikolaos Kaklamanakis, who was next to Tzuberi in the start line, was disqualified for an attempted head start. Tzuberi thought the judges disqualified him as well (in fact they did not), and decided to play it safe by "re-entering" the race and returned to the start line. By the time Tzuberi started surfing, he was approximately 1 minute behind the entire fleet.

Tzuberi had to place 4 places ahead of one of the top-3 surfers in order to win a medal and he accomplished just that by coming back from last place and finishing in an incredible 2nd place, and 3rd overall, while Great Britain's Nick Dempsey lost his medal by placing 7th – an overall 4th-place finish.[6]

Tzuberi's results were:

Race 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Medal
Score Rank
Result 1 3 1 3 17 6 (19) 18 1 4 2 58 (77) Bronze medal icon.svg

(Notes: the worst race score is omitted. The medal race score is doubled.)


After the Olympics, Tzuberi made a number of offensive comments about the Chinese in an interview with Yediot Ahronot, including what the Associated Press described as a "scatological expletive" and criticizing Chinese traditions, speech and food, such as "After a month and a half I couldn't look at Chinese people any more", "Their traditions are bizarre and even their speech is weird". Tzuberi later apologized, and said “this was a slip of the tongue, I retract what I said.”[7] The Israeli Sport and Culture Minister Raleb Majadele condemned Tzuberi's remarks to the Chinese Ambassador, calling the remarks "despicable", and saying they "do not reflect the views of the Israeli people toward the Chinese people."[8]

London Olympics, 2012[edit]

Competing for Israel at the 2012 Olympics in windsurfing, he came in 19th.[9]

Rio de Janeiro Olympics, 2016[edit]

Tzuberi competed for Israel at the 2016 Olympics, his third appearance in the Olympic Games.[10] He did not qualify for the finals.[11]


Year Tournament Result
2007 Pre-Olympic Championship, France 2nd
European Championship, Cyprus 6th
World Championship, Portugal 8th
2008 World Championship, New Zealand 3rd
Olympic Games, China 3rd
2009 European Championship, Israel 1st
2010 European Championship, Poland 1st
2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup, China 1st
European Championship, France 2nd
2018 European Championship, Poland 3rd
2020 European Championship, Portugal 2nd

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Shahar Zubari". 2012 Summer Olympics. 2012. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  2. ^ "Israeli sailor Tzuberi wins Olympic bronze". Archived from the original on 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
  3. ^ "המדליות נשארות במשפחה - יום יום באילת".
  4. ^ "Jews in the Olympics: 63 Athletes from 7 Countries". Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Jewish Federations of North America. Archived from the original on April 7, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  5. ^ Feiner, Shir Noy (January 22, 2010). "Tzelebrity with Shahar Tzuberi". Bamahane (in Hebrew). No. 3022. p. 7.
  6. ^ Staff. "Dempsey misses windsurfing medal" Archived 2008-09-06 at the Wayback Machine, BBC Sports, August 20, 2008. Accessed September 10, 2008.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-18. Retrieved 2016-09-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Associated Press. "Israel apologizes for athlete's insult of China" Archived 2008-09-15 at the Wayback Machine, Chicago Sun-Times, September 10, 2008. Accessed September 10, 2008.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2018-03-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2016-09-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2016-09-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Olympic Games
Preceded by Flagbearer for  Israel
London 2012
Succeeded by