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 39ยฐF/4ยฐC. 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 Flosslรคnde 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.

    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I love watching those guys, they’re mesmerising.

  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:)!

  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.

  6. This is really interesting and not to mention quite creative. Who says surfing is only on the beach now, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Unusual site to see in a city. It happens a lot on the coast of the UK during winter.

  8. Unreal! But I think I’ll stick to a good old Aussie beach. And summer!! Happy New Year!

  9. I saw this on the Travel Channel a while back…surfers are just plain crazy.

    • 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)

  11. What a fun post! Now I am expecting and looking forwards to your future post with photos of you surfing here.

  12. I’ve heard of this before….it looks like fun, but COLD! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Wow – this looks crazy!

  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.

  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.

  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!

  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  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.

  19. That’s awesome. Surfers are crazy. They will do anything for a wave. ๐Ÿ™‚

  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! ๐Ÿ™‚

  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.

    • 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!

  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!

  24. Wo would have thought in Munich of all places!! I love it!! Great pics my friend!!

  25. Oh holy serf ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

  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”).

  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…

  28. How fun. I’d have thought you were taking the mickey out of us, if it wasn’t for those photos.

  29. Doubly unexpected, in that they would think of doing it here — and in winter, too. A great series of photos, Cathy!

  30. never knew one can even navigate the waves like this and i love it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  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!

  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.

  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!

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