FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Surfing in Munich

Posted in Germany, Munich by folkestonejack on June 6, 2015

One of the unexpected pleasures of our trip to Bavaria was the opportunity to see surfing in the most unlikely of locations – Munich city centre.

Summer at the Eisbach

Summer at the Eisbach

Surfing takes place most days on the Eisbach, a man made stretch of river that runs parallel to the Isar, next to the Haus der Kunst. It’s quite easy to spot as you wander along the street as there is usually a large crowd on the bridge watching the action (as well as on either bank). Although the summer is the obvious time to see some surfing here it’s clearly an all year attraction for some surfers – there are plenty of pictures of surfing taking place whilst thick snow covers the riverside!

The appeal of the spot is easy to see – the river forms a standing wave that is about a metre high. Surfers line up on either bank and take it in turns to tackle the shallow, icy waters.

I’m no expert but it looked like a tricky spot to master, particularly as the water masks a series of concrete blocks inserted into the riverbed by the builders. An unlucky fall here can have nasty consequences for bord and body so the inexperienced are generally discouraged from taking their chances – there’s another spot at Floßlände in Thalkirchen where the conditions are better suited to beginners.

A few years back there was a proposal to demolish the wave on safety grounds which generated an incredible surge of opposition from around the world. The plans were dropped and surfing has been officially accepted since 2010.

It is astonishing to think that the tradition of surfing here has already entered its fifth decade, having started in the early 1970s. It is entrancing to watch surfers riding the wave, making their way from side to side, until they accept the inevitable and take the plunge into the icy waters. Long may this brave band of surfers continue entertaining tourists and locals!