Jan 032013

Walk, walk, walk! That’s what I like to do in cities everywhere. Sometimes you come across the unexpected like I did on my European trip last month. I found surfing in Munich!

Surfing in Munich?

"Riding the Wave on the Eisbach in Munich"

Riding the Wave on the Eisbach in Munich

In winter?

Snowing in Munich

Snow Flurries in the Air – It’s Winter!

Enough of me — back to the surfers

Living close to the Pacific Ocean in Northern California, I’ve often seen surfers braving the waves at Half Moon Bay, but most people wouldn’t expect to find them on a narrow waterway in the middle of a major city — especially in the winter. But these surfers come here year-round. In the winter, the water temperatures can dip to about 39°F/4°C. A little chilly for me.

Jumping in the Eisbach to surf the wave

Jumping in!

The surfers come here day and night. The close proximity of the concrete banks seems like it would be dangerous enough in the daytime, let alone at night. The unusual venue also requires a challenging move to enter the stream. Surfers jump in from the side with their boards landing in position in the water and the surfer landing on the board. It looks like a more difficult way to get started than in normal surfing.

Surfing in Munich

Surfing on the Eisbach in Munich

Surfers have been coming here since the 1970s when the wave was created by concrete blocks dropped into the water under the bridge to control the current of the Eisbach, a man-made tributary of the Isar River that runs through the Englischer Garten, Munich’s largest public park. Until recent years, surfing was technically banned, but the ban was not strictly enforced. Now, although swimming is forbidden, Munich’s mayor Christian Ude has enthusiastically approved surfing, primarily because it has become a tourist attraction.

Surfing in Munich

Surfing on the Eisbach in Munich

It was certainly a surprise to come across surfing in Munich in December and it was quite enjoyable to watch. There is another surfing location in Munich on the Flosslände River which I’ve been told is a more appropriate spot for beginners. An annual surf competition is held there as well.

Surfing in Munich

Surfing on the Eisbach in Munich

Maybe I’ll try surfing in the summertime. Or not.

Surfing in Munich

Surfing on the Eisbach in Munich

  60 Responses to “Surfing in Munich”

  1. It’s amazing what governments will put up with in the name of tourism. I’d heard about this place but had forgotten it was in Munich. Kind of interesting to see it right smack in the middle of a city. But no thanks for wanting to even try it.
    Leigh recently posted..Ingredients For the Perfect Winter Day Trip to Banff NP

    • Amazing indeed. There’s still a lot of controversy about the wave there. Not my kind of sport even in the easiest of condition.

  2. Surfing in Munich… interesting :)
    Muza-chan recently posted..A Japanese Song per Day: Luna Sea – True Blue

  3. I love watching those guys, they’re mesmerising.
    Andrea recently posted..Girona Day Trip: Banyoles

  4. That’s crazy!! I don’t think I knew that there was a place like this to be found in Munich – or did anyone ever tell me about it, and I was like: “Yeah, right!”, and forgot about it immediately? Either way: I think it’s cool:)!
    Vera recently posted..The Black Temple of Chiang Rai

  5. Nice to know that the crazy is spread evenly all over the world. I can totally understand this being tempting in the summer, but December? Just go skiing people.
    Steve recently posted..Our Best Travel Plays of 2012

  6. This is really interesting and not to mention quite creative. Who says surfing is only on the beach now, right? :)
    Salika Jay recently posted..Important Public Holidays 2013 In The US

  7. Unusual site to see in a city. It happens a lot on the coast of the UK during winter.
    Steve Whitty recently posted..Statistics – December 2012

  8. Unreal! But I think I’ll stick to a good old Aussie beach. And summer!! Happy New Year!
    Red Nomad OZ recently posted..The Incredible Icebergs of Geikie Gorge!

  9. I saw this on the Travel Channel a while back…surfers are just plain crazy.
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Top of the Rock – A Billion Dollar View – Picture of the Week

    • I’d heard about it before, but was still kind of shocked to come across it when I did. Also didn’t expect it in winter!

  10. I miss surfing. Once started, it’s an addiction! Seems it’s a hardcore addiction across the planet. :o)
    Lane recently posted..Austin Food Trucks: Gourmet on the Go: Part III

  11. What a fun post! Now I am expecting and looking forwards to your future post with photos of you surfing here.
    Roberta Loufek recently posted..Smashing Saturdays #15

  12. I’ve heard of this before….it looks like fun, but COLD! :)
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..5 Fascinating Facts About The Bahamas

  13. Wow – this looks crazy!
    Andrea recently posted..At Home In London: The Capital Hotel, Knightsbridge

  14. I happened upon these surfers when I was in Munich a few days before Oktoberfest kicked off. I think I shot over 200 images of them. One is in the slideshow that runs on the Home page of my Website.
    Dick Jordan recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday: Capturing Look-alikes

  15. Surfer’s will find any where to surf but this has to be the craziest! thanks for letting us know about this Cathy..it’s certainly one to check out when in Munich.
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..2012: A Feast of Travel!

  16. What possesses people to throw on a wet suit and surf while it’s snowing? And some of them do it at night?? That’s the power some of us have to quiet our brains and feel the call of the wild. Love these pics!
    Dave @ Travel Transmissions recently posted..Travel to Taiwan! (Video)

  17. This is crazy but would fun to watch no matter what season. I guess you have to make do with living in a land locked country. I marvel at the surfers here too who brave the SoCal winters but this is a whole new level of bravery and insanity. But, I will hunt this out in Munich this summer :)
    Mary @ The World Is A Book recently posted..Washington, DC with Kids: 5 Free and Fun Attractions Beyond the Mall

  18. I am seriously impressed because they must need some sort of dry suit to endure the water temperatures. We just went snorkeling in Iceland last week and wore dry suits. I felt like that kid in A Christmas Story that has so many layers on he can hardly move! I’ll have to look for the surfers next time we’re in Munich.
    Jennifer recently posted..Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik

  19. That’s awesome. Surfers are crazy. They will do anything for a wave. :)
    Christy recently posted..Do You Have to Quit Your Job to Travel the World?

  20. WOW! is all I can say. Would be great fun to watch, but there is no way I would try to land on a skinny board in that stream! :)
    Nancie recently posted..Guest Post : Los Angeles: A Travel Photo Essay

  21. What a great thing to discover Catherine! I love it, even if it’s quite insane!! And it just goes to show what you can stumble upon when you wander a city on foot.
    Sarah Lee recently posted..Ski lesson: confessions of a ski virgin

    • It seems that anywhere I go on foot in a new city, there’s always something that takes me by surprise, Love it!

  22. Such a sport! I thought wind-surfing in the Columbia River Gorge was about as crazy as it gets, but its been surpassed by Munich. A most interesting (as usual) post!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..Travel Tuesday: Waikiki (Sticker) Shock Waves

  23. That is a crazy thought that you could run into surfing in Munich!! I think I’ll stick to watching though. Tried surfing in Maui and that was the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted. I failed but had fun!
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..European Dreaming in 2013

  24. Wo would have thought in Munich of all places!! I love it!! Great pics my friend!!
    Jeff Titelius recently posted..ArtSmart Roundtable: The Stibbert Museum in Florence, Italy

  25. Oh holy serf :) This is absolutely crazy. But then, there are enough adventurous souls out there who are looking for a bit of crazy… and as long the tourist board is not paying them, I suppose they just do it because that is what they want – a wild ride to feel alive.
    Fida recently posted..Jan 11, Trouble figuring out which Swiss Rail Pass is right for you?

  26. That’s a cool photo of you Cathy! I’d heard of the river surfers in Munich, but never seen them myself. They look pretty tough braving the cold waters of the Eisbach (literally, “ice creek”).
    Christina recently posted..Things to do in Christchurch after the earthquake

  27. This is pretty much the most insane thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what’s crazier — the narrow body of water they’re surfing in in urbania, or the frigid temps. Brrr…
    Abby recently posted..So colorful: our San Francisco Chinatown tour

  28. How fun. I’d have thought you were taking the mickey out of us, if it wasn’t for those photos.
    Italian Notes recently posted..Rain in Italy

  29. Doubly unexpected, in that they would think of doing it here — and in winter, too. A great series of photos, Cathy!
    Andrew Graeme Gould recently posted..Sydney street scene 2010

  30. never knew one can even navigate the waves like this and i love it. :)

  31. I remember these fellows from when I lived in Munich a few years ago…thought they were nuts then, still do. But interesting…Thanks for the memory!
    Anita recently posted..Museo Enzo Ferrari–Cars as art in Modena, Italy

  32. Interesting. In January, we had the biggest storm to hit Israel in 10-20 years, and people went kayaking on a seriously flooded highway. I guess people like to play in the water during winter. I’d love to play in the snow.
    Ayelet – All Colores recently posted..Israel 2013: When a Highway Turns Into a Water Park

  33. […] In fact, the surfers are so hard core that they even surf during winter months. […]

  34. Ah, the Eisbach! I go here sometimes to watch. I would never do it. Too cold. It’s not called Eisbach for nothing!
    christopher recently posted..Another Chance for Usedom

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