Can you imagine that a city 500 kilometers away from the sea in southern Germany could become known for surfing? In a very central area of Munich, right at the entrance to the Englischer Garten park, is the Eisbach Canal, where a wave has been frequented by surfers since the 1970s.
It is today one of the attractions of the city. From afar, it is possible to see the movement of the curious, even on a cold winter morning, with the negative thermometers and the freezing thermal sensation!
In this very cold scenario, we find the famous river surfers. With neoprene clothes, a surfboard and a little skill, it’s possible to have fun for hours. Eisbach was created to obtain hydropower. But a drop in its bed causes a kind of “infinite wave.” This happened by chance. This watercourse is an artificial canal of the river Isar and in some of its stretches are so shallow that barely reach 40 cm. The shallow depth and the fact that the wave is uninterrupted requires a lot of surfer skill.
And now a group of entrepreneurs, teachers and engineers – who are also surfers – has developed a system that can be replicated in other streams.
According to one of the mentors of the system, Professor Meier-Staude, the goal is to build a wave for people, who can surf together in nature. It is worth for experienced surfers, for the young, the older, the women, the men, and also the people who just want to watch.
In Germany, safety is a concern. For a long time, both swimming and surfing on the river were prohibited by law. It was, however, disobeyed. Surfing has only been allowed since 2010. Today, it is very common to see people passing in rubber clothes and boards in the central area of Munich, on their way to the Eisbach.
With a low-cost intervention and low environmental impact, surfing in the river brings the benefit of physical activity, health, and coexistence with others. With the implementation of sewage treatment in progress in several cities in Brazil, the use of the river becomes a real possibility for the quality of life in cities.