The Endless Wave: Surfing the Eisbach River (4:03min)

Munich is home to a few river waves and has been cited as the capital of the river surfing world. In summer, man made the fast-flowing Eisbach (Ice Brook) wave the most advanced wave in the city and and it has seen numerous injuries and non-surfing related fatalities from people entering the 2km long river in the nearby Englischer Garten park.

There is a strong subculture based around the Eisbach, but it is a far cry from the promenades full of shops oozing surf fashion and culture in your typical surf hotspots. Granted there are shops, but in this city there is a fraction of what you will find in a village in, say, Cornwall, UK. Faces become familiar to each other and many of those I spoke to had, after time on the Munich waves, eventually ventured to the far off waves of the Atlantic to see what sea surfing was like.

German surf tourism is stronger then ever at the moment and considering Germany’s only coast is on the North and Baltic sea, this is quite a phenomenon. Throughout the year on one of my frequent trips to Cornwall with my cornish girlfriend, we saw many surf tourists that have come from all over Germany and Austria.

Surfing on the Eisbach was deemed illegal by the authorities until they finally keeled to the unrelenting pressure that the open movement persisted with. Now it is endorsed by the city of Munich and has been surfed by world-class surfers Rob Machado and Garrett McNamara. The Eisbach is visited by a plethora of surf tourists in the summer and Munich opens itself in friendliness to all tourists with a hearty Bavarian warmth.

A problem that the increase of numbers poses due to the inevitable exposure of this unique surf spot is that only one person can surf at one time. The more that flock there, the longer the queues will be. However those who have glanced a keen eye at the wave need to remember it is not for groms.

For further interest on the wave, see the 2009 film “Keep Surfing.”

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