Living surrounded by great surfing beaches, I was highly sceptical when I heard that there is surfing in the centre of Munich and that it was in not a man-made wave pool but in a real natural break.
The nearest surf beach to Munich is on the French Atlantic coast, some 1500km distant, but as I saw it for myself last week it’s for real. They surf the Eisbach, a very fast flowing tributary of the River Isar, at a point just beyond a road bridge at an entrance to the Englischer Garten, the main park in Munich.
It’s not a wave as in the ocean — it’s a water “bank” produced by an underwater step in the channel. Apparently, surfers have been riding the break since the 1970s, although it was not legal until 2010. Now they surf it all the year round, night and day.
Last Wednesday morning they were lining up to surf it. Being good Germans, they were forming orderly lines on both banks since it is strictly one surfer at a time.
The surfers have to jump straight onto the wave and when they fall off or jump off they have to swim strongly for the bank downstream because the current is both strong and very fast flowing.
If you find yourself in Munich and you can drag yourself away from the beer gardens and the superb galleries and museums, do seek out the photography section of the wonderful Deutscher Museum. It’s easy to find the surfing spot. Probably not worth packing your board, but well worth a look nonetheless.
Photo taken with my Leica Q.
You can find more from John Shingleton at The Rolling Road and on Instagram at therollingroad.