Katrina Brown Hunt
June 14, 2013

Here's something you don't think about packing for a trip to Munich: Your wetsuit.

But according to recent reports from CNN and the BBC, the German capital has become the epicenter for an increasingly popular, and fairly-extreme sport: river surfing.

Granted, river surfing may sound like a feeble substitute for catching an ocean wave—but it isn't. On Munich's Eisbach—a channel off the Isar River—the churning waters create a rapid, one-meter wave that must be ridden stationary, so you have to jump on fast and stay balanced. (And it ain't easy—hence, this is meant for expert surfers only.) The river itself can be just 12 meters wide, too, so only one person can go at a time, often resulting in long lines any time of day. Adding a nice bit of masochism, the water's mighty chilly: Eisbach, after all, translates to "ice brook."

Meanwhile, other emerging river-surfing hot spots around the globe include China's Qiantang River in Hangzhou (they call it the Silver Dragon), Switzerland's Reuss River and the St. Lawrence in Montreal.

Granted, the fact that Munich's authorities tried for years to ban the practice (and failed) gives the sport a certain counterculture caché. If you want to soak up some of that caché but also stay warm and dry, your best rubber-necking can be done near the Himmelreich Bridge in the city's English Garden.


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