In the middle of Munich, on a small channel cutting through the English Garden (the city’s version of New York City’s Central Park), surfers have been lining up nearly every day for over 35 years to ride an ever-present, man-made river wave.
Step 1: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?
The standing river wave – about half a meter high and 12 feet wide – is not for beginners. The current is strong and there’s no paddling out or waiting for the right wave to roll up here. The wave is always perfect, so you always have to be ready.
Step 2: PUT ON A WETSUIT AND GRAB YOUR BOARD
For the most part, the Eisenbach meanders underground through the city before surfacing in the English Garden next to the Haus der Kunst museum. The channel’s water is freezing cold, and if you are one of the dedicated few, you will go out to surf even in the depths of winter, surrounded by snow. The full-body wetsuit is not just a surfing practicality but a matter of survival.
Step 3: WAIT YOUR TURN
Join the queue of surfers already clutching their boards and waiting on the side of the channel. There’s no hurry for anyone; the wave isn’t going anywhere, but there are unspoken rules of courtesy about when your turn should be up.
Step 4: RINSE AND REPEAT
Step off from a standing position onto your board on the wave, and ride back and forth a few times, savoring the cheers from the crowd of onlookers on the bridge above. When you relinquish the wave by either falling or diving off your board, go back to Step 3 and repeat.
Photo: English Garden, Munich, Germany / June 2016
And . . .