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DEU Eisbach River Surfing - Surfing


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Lat: 48.143612
Lng: 11.587749


Marker owner: dnorris



Average user rating for this marker: 5

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Marker Description: River Surfing in the center of Munich. The location is the Eisbach River, which means 'ice river', just inside the park, Englischer Garten, in Munich. It's ice cold so bring a wet suit. The wave can be surfed year round.



History:

The wave, if left to it's own devices, is unstable and can sometimes disappear for months at a time. The instability is due to variations in the amount of water flowing in the river, as well as the build up of silt. Several people in the local community, however, found that planks of wood can be used to shape and stabilise the wave. These planks are "hung" in the flow, suspended via ropes attached to the bridge arches. This practice started around the year 2000 and since then surfing the wave has become more and more popular.

Dangers:

Beginner are very strongly discouraged from surfing here. The flow-braking rocks that the stream's builders set into the concrete of the riverbed are invisible but dangerous.

Impacts on the rocks are hard and happen all the time after uncontrolled falls. The many injuries from the rocks have included the complete loss of a kneecap, a broken shoulder, and a ruptured main thigh aorta with near amputation of the leg. These accidents could force the city to close down the wave permanently. Consequently, all beginners face severe pressure from the experienced locals to injure themselves elsewhere.

Note also, jumping into the wave from the bridge is extremely dangerous. The water is not deep enough. In June 2003 a 26-year-old attempted this, suffered spinal injuries, and has been paralysed ever since.

Threat of removal of the wave:

In 2007, as in most years since the Eisbach was first built, there were a spate of deaths in the river. These included the deaths of an Australian tourist, a 61-year-old local teacher, and a PhD student at Munich university. These deaths prompted calls by a city council member to remove the wave. Naturally the local surfers were appalled at this idea, and they started a petition called save the Eisbach wave. In early 2008 the council finally decided not to remove the wave. The rationale being that nobody has actually died as a result of surfing here. The only deaths have been from swimmers. Surfers generally know what they are doing. Swimmers, however, are casual users are are often reckless. Surfing is now tolerated, but swimming is banned and offenders can be fined if caught.


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