The Hot Surf Spot in the Middle of Munich

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
April 17 2014 1:43 PM

How to Go Surfing in the Middle of Munich

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

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.


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."

Other watery wonders:

View English Garden in a larger map



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.