Surf the landlocked waves of Germany’s Eisbach River

When a group of entrepreneurs announced plans to build a surf-able wave pool in Berlin a few weeks ago, it might have seemed an unusual move. But not so to the surfers of Munich, who’ve been riding a landlocked wave there in the Eisbach River for decades. Even though it’s only been legal to do so since 2010, surfers have been riding the man-made wave in the man-made river since at least 1972. Local surfers have honed the shape of the wave using submerged planks held in place by ropes attached to the bridge. The Eisbach is icy, shallow, and swift, so it’s only suitable for the very experienced and cold tolerant, or wetsuit equipped. Despite the dangers and chilly water, it’s not uncommon to see surfers lined up waiting for a turn to ride. Check out this sea-free surf spot below.

Submerged planks held in place by ropes attached to the bridge form the popular wave in Munich’s Eisbach River. Image by WikiCommons

The wave is just three feet high at most and the water there can be as shallow as one foot, so only experienced surfers should take on this challenge. Image by WikiCommons

Landlocked surfers have flocked here since 1972, but it has only been legal to ride this wave since 2010. Image by WikiCommons

There are two other river surfing locations in Munich. One spot is more suitable for beginners and the other is only available when the river floods. Image by Amie Becker

Even though there are a few to choose from, the wave at Eisbach remains the most popular among Munich’s urban surfers who line up for their chance to ride. Image by WikiCommons

Although you can surf here, swimming remains prohibited in the swift waters of the Eisbach, a rule that is widely ignored and not always enforced. Image by WikiCommons

As long as the river flows, weather doesn’t chill the desire to surf for many cold-tolerate wave riders. Image by Eisbachsurfen

When the “surfing verboten” signs came down in 2010, caution signs went up at Eisbach. Image by Induel

The surfers at Eisbach have been having to share the water with kayakers in recent years who’ve been using the wave to get their whitewater fix closer to home. Image by Herr S