AP PHOTOS: Israeli surfers take to the sea after nightfall

ASHDOD, Israel (AP) When the sun goes down, surf's up in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, where dozens participated this week in the city's second annual night surfing contest.

Ashdod set up special lights on Gil Beach along the Mediterranean coast for night surfing several years ago to cater to surfers who say it is one of the best places to catch waves in Israel.

The lights went out for over a month during last summer's war between Israel and the militant Hamas group that rules Gaza. The Palestinian coastal strip lies just further south along the shore.

During the fighting, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, many of which exploded in Ashdod, some 20 miles, or 30 kilometers, north of Gaza.

About 40 people competed in the five-hour contest on Wednesday night. Surfers said the water was very cold and they gathered around heaters on the beach to warm up afterward.

Here is a series of images by AP photographer Oded Bality from the surfing competition.

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