When thinking of places to go surfing, Germany's landlocked city of Munich is probably not the first to come to mind. But interestingly enough, surfers have been riding the waves in the city's Isar River since the 1970s.
A man-made arm of the Isar, the Eisbach (German for 'ice brook') flows for 1.25 miles (2 km) through a large city park known as the English Garden (Englischer Garten). Just past the bridge near the House of the Arts (Haus der Kunst) art museum, the Eisbach forms a standing wave of over three feet (1 meter). Surfers have rigged the wave by building a system of ropes and planks to channel it into something so surfable, it's home to an annual surfing competition and has hosted world-class surf legends such as Kelly Slater and Jack Johnson. Travelers visiting in summer can see surfers queued up waiting patiently for their turn to shred.
The water is cold (it is an ‘ice brook,’ after all) and quite shallow—in some places only 15 inches (40 cm) deep—so the popular river surfing spot is best left to experienced surfers. Because the man-made wave is a ‘standing’ wave, it can be surfed as long as one's balance holds. There's also a second standing wave downstream (north) in the English Garden (Englischer Garten) where the river is wider and the water flows slower, making this wave a better option for beginner surfers.