Munich is a several hours' drive away from the sea. Nevertheless, it is known and loved among surfers worldwide, thanks to the wave on Eisbach at Englischer Garten. In summer and winter alike, spectators come together on the bridge in front of Haus der Kunst to marvel at the surfers riding the standing wave of about half a metre. Usually you'll see a bunch of other surfers next to the stream, patiently waiting their turn. Until only a few years ago, surfing on Eisbach used to be prohibited. Nowadays the wave can legally be conquered.
However, novices shall be warned. The wave of Eisbach is only for experts. The low depth of water makes surfing here very dangerous for inexperienced beginners. A few hundred metres behind the famous Eisbachwelle, the same canal also features the so-called "kleine Eisbachwelle". While this one may be a bit easier to ride, with concrete on both sides, the risk of injury is high here as well. With Floßlände in Thalkirchen, beginners find a third surfing spot in Munich, however, that is more suitable to the untrained.
River versus Ocean
In recent times, river surfing has gained more and more popularity in the scene. Yet, there are a few things to consider. Even surfers with years of experience riding the biggest waves in the world sometimes have difficulties to conquer the small wave on Eisbach. The differences start right at the beginning. You cannot paddle to the wave; instead, the surf starts with a plucky jump from the riverside right onto the wave. The other major difference is the direction of flow. While you stand with your back to the waves when surfing at sea, stream water comes at you frontally.
Eisbach is part of a system of streams constructed inside Englischer Garten in 1780. Due to a narrowing of the channel's concrete slab, the water surges right after the bridge on Prinzregentenstraße, and makes the famous standing wave. The Eisbach's wave has become somewhat famous among surfers worldwide. It is highly regarded even among surfing greats like Jack Johnson.
How to get there
Bus line 100 (Hauptbahnhof Nord - Ostbahnhof) to stop Königsstraße
- U 4/5 to stop Lehel, change onto Straßenbahn 18 towards Effnerplatz and get off at Nationalmuseum/ Haus der Kunst
- U4/5 or U3/6 to stop Odeonsplatz, continue on bus 100 towards Ostbahnhof until you reach Königsstraße.
S-Bahn to Isartor, where you change onto Straßenbahn 18 towards Effnerplatz and get off at Nationalmuseum/ Haus der Kunst.