Friday, August 31, 2012

Surfing Munich Style

On our second full day in Munich, we went to the Englische Garten park, which a big park located in the city center. It's partly known for being home to the Chinese (Tower) Beer Garden. We hit up the beer garden and then decided to go back to the old part of the city via a nice walk through the park. About five minutes into our walk, we came to a bridge that crossed over a section of a small river/stream. What I saw was like a human soup of floating Germans going down stream. When you look at the picture, keep in mind that these people are floating towards you at a decent speed:

...and the other direction as they head away from you (Note the Locks of Love attached to this bridge. They're pretty much everywhere I go now.):

If the river of humanity isn't unusual enough, we came to another spot where some creative folk had rigged up a few bungee cords to a tree and were "water skiing" on a small board. The better folks would partly submerge themselves and the board so that they were pulled down the river while still holding onto the cord. Once the cord was fully extended, and using the momentum of the passing water, they popped up out of the water and shot upstream on the board. This photo makes it look like water skiing but they were actually moving from the right to the left at a pretty good speed.

So, human soup and guys river water skiing using bungee cords instead of a boat or jetski? Yep, I guess that's okay. But wait, it gets better. Just two more minutes up the river and we came to this:

Yep. People were SURFING the river! It's was pretty f'ing amazing because I would have never expected to see surfing in the middle of Europe at least a few hundred miles from the closest beach.

Apparently, there's a semi-natural bottom feature that results in a standing wave functioning something like a FlowRider, which are somewhat common at water parks. The surf spot is located just a few feet downstream from a bridge where the water comes out a fairly quick pace.

From what I understand, people have been surfing this spot since the 1970s. They may have been surfers but the scene was much more skateboard style in that everyone waited on one side of the river or the other for their turn. Each person would go until they fell and then the next person would drop in. It was much less aggressive than most of the ocean surfing that I've seen and, therefore, appealed to me more.

A shot of the crowd watching from up on the bridge. My guess is that there were around 200 people or so just hanging out watching. It was pretty cool.

Surfing. Munich style. Whoda' known??? Photoshop out the trees and you could almost believe that this scene is somewhere in the ocean:

John, who's an avid surfer, told me that riding the wave would take a little getting used to for him but that it looked fun. Hell, I wanted to try it but I'm guessing that it'd take a bunch of tries to get decent. First, you'd have to learn how to drop in like a bomb drop into a halfpipe on a skateboard, then you'd have to learn how to keep your balance on the wave, and then you'd have to learn how to make turns. That's a lot, but, with the skateboarding-like vibe of the place, something that I'd probably like to try. How about you? Are you up for a session?

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