The Hot Surf Spot in the Middle of Munich

Atlas Obscura
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April 17 2014 1:43 PM

How to Go Surfing in the Middle of Munich

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If you're riding the Munich subway in the dead of winter and you see someone carrying a surfboard, chances are they're headed for the Eisbach, a stream that runs through the city's biggest park, Englischer Garten.

A one-and-a-half-foot stationary welle, or wave, at a spot beneath a bridge was once an occasional sight, until local surfers funneled it into a more forceful, permanent swell by installing planks of wood on the sides of the river. Now the site attracts wave riders who brave the cold water — 39F in winter, 60F in summer — to surf the stream in front of a crowd of onlookers.

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So popular is the site that queues of surfers form on both sides of the narrow river. Authorities have threatened to shut down the wave on account of its perceived danger, but a "save the wave" campaign won out, and surfing is now officially allowed. That said, the Eisbachwelle is not for newcomers — a sign on the bank warns, "Due to the forceful current, the wave is suitable for skilled and experienced surfers only."

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