Surfing in Munich

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

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60 thoughts on “Surfing in Munich

  1. Leigh

    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.

    1. Cathy Post author

      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. Vera

    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:)!

  3. Steve

    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.

    1. Cathy Post author

      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!

  4. Dick Jordan

    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.

  5. jenny@atasteoftravel

    Surfer’s will find any where to surf but this has to be the craziest! thanks for letting us know about this’s certainly one to check out when in Munich.

  6. Mary @ The World Is A Book

    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 🙂

  7. Jennifer

    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.

  8. Sarah Lee

    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.

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  10. Fida

    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.

  11. Christina

    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”).

  12. Abby

    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…

  13. Anita

    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!

  14. Ayelet - All Colores

    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.

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