Munich is landlocked. But that doesn't stop surfers from catching a wave
Posted March 9, 2018 9:59 a.m. EST
(CNN) — Munich, Germany, is a long way from the ocean and it's pretty darn cold this time of year, but that doesn't stop some hearty surfers from catching a wave.
The Eisbachwelle is a year-round river surfing spot at the edge of the city's English Garden.
Water shoots out from under a street and creates a perpetual wave as the stream runs into the park.
It's not the sea and sand you expect from beach movies. The water ranges from cold to frigid, so surfers are usually covered in full wetsuits and may have to walk through snow to get to the river.
On the plus side, there's no paddling around waiting for the perfect wave; you just wait your turn and drop in.
The bridge is a great place to watch the action, so the Eisbachwelle is also popular with photographers and spectators.
Naif Alkhatrash travels the world to surf and has made three trips from his home in Kuwait City to surf the Eisbachwelle -- most recently in February. His thick wetsuit kept him pretty warm and surfers sometimes threw snowballs at each other as a joke.
"I love the vibe there. In my surf travel, I always make sure I stop over there. I am going next summer again," he said.
Alkhatrash told CNN that river surfing is a bit different than surfing in the ocean. But most surfers get the hang of it after a few tries. He said he also learned to avoid the large bricks on the bottom of the river.
"[It's] scary the first time because of the loud sound of the river and the floor looks so close," he said. "But the crowd of tourists are always cheerful and full of positive energy."
Alkhatrash tries to surf as much as he can when he's in Munich and noticed that there are different crowds.
"There is the early morning crowd, who'd come before work. Some come between lunch break. Some would come whenever, like university students. And some would come after work/school," Alkhatrash said. "I met a 50-year-old doctor surfer surfing with his 14-year-old daughter."
Alkhatras said the scene is friendly and very orderly. Surfers line up on either side of the river and take turns surfing the wave.
Last summer, he met Australian pro surfing legend Mick Fanning.
"All the surfers took photos with him, including me," Alkhatras said.
"Then he had to wait in line just like everyone else!"