Englischer Garten

Newbie, celebrety, profressional: A Typology of the "Eisbach-surfer"

Situated next to the "Haus der Kunst" (centre for contemporary art) is the hotspot of Munich's surf scene. Whether on warm summer nights or on icy winter mornings: The "Eisbach River" in Munich's Englischer Garten (English Garden) is surrounded by tourists and locals alike. The standing wave has long been known beyond the city's confines. But who are those people who congregate around this amazing place? A typology.

 

The original

Hippie type. Used to wear his hair long. Approaching his mid 60s, but that wouldn't deter him from taking on the wave with his battered board. His riding style is pure Hawaii nostalgia - and he was definitely there when river surfing in Bavaria was reinvented.

Outfit – apart from the Eisbach
Ray-Ban sunglasses (bought in Miami in 1977), longboard and barefoot, Hawaiian shirt. But some "Originals" quickly turn into a suspiciously relaxed business person at lightning speed, sporting a well-fitting suit.

Where else can he be found?
In a bar on Gärtnerplatz square, where basil and almond smoothies can also be savoured. Or in the executive room of an up-scale law firm.

The people gathered at the bridge situated on Prinzregentenstraße are not always made up of classic tourists. Sometimes they are just celeb fans, because a famous face happens to have put on a wetsuit.

The lifestyle surfer

This guy is not really a surfer. At least no one has ever seen him on the wave. Nevertheless, he embraces the surfer's habit from the bottom up. Applauding - or put differently, tapping the surfboard on the water when a surfer on the wave made a cool move - and the "Hang Loose" hand movement are his main means of communication.

Outfit – apart from the Eisbach
V-cap, flip-flops and short jeans. Exclusively wears surf brands and a "Locals Only" T-shirt. His bike has a surfboard mounting.

Where else can he be found?
In the "Santo Loco" surf shop in the city centre, where he spends the hours explaining the perfect wave to other guys while sipping cappuccino.

The professional surfer

The wetsuit sits perfectly. The board has just the right patina finish. Her movements are professional, characterised by style and elegance. The look is both focused and serious. She doesn't speak much, and doesn't have much else to do with the crew. This master of the board dominates the four-meter-wide surf perfectly and radiates a casual manner throughout, something that even the young locals work hard to perfect on the shorebreak of the French Atlantic coast.

Outfit – apart from the Eisbach
Nothing freaky. Ponytail.

Where else can he be found?
Everywhere in the world with the right waves.

Anyone practising the standing wave for the first time should try it out – if you please – at the lesser-known wave in Thalkirchen district. And anyway: The Eisbach is a dangerous place if you have not yet mastered the art.

The surf groupies

Women chilling in bikinis right next to the surfer's wave. From giggling teenies waving to cute surfer boys, to middle-aged ladies secretly peering at the athlete's upper body through the guise of their sunglasses.

Outfit (naturally beyond the Eisbach)
Everything that goes with the bikini: Indie band T-shirt, Converse trainers, hot pants, jute bags.

Where else can he be found?
The skatepark - and H&M.

The tourist

Tourists can always be found in the same place: on the bridge of Prinzregentenstraße and - with a lot of traffic - on the slopes to the right and left of the surf wave. They seem hypnotized, but keep the surfers firmly in view. They sometimes clap when something amazing happens.

Outfit (naturally beyond the Eisbach)

Photo camera, Hard Rock Cafe shirt, FC Bayern plastic bag. Alternatively a Gucci bag, white shirt and jacket over the shoulder. Munich's visitors are as diverse as the city itself.

Where else can he be found?
The city's Marienplatz (Our Lady’s Square), the famous "Hofbräuhaus", and around the "Platzl".

This master of the board dominates the four-meter-wide surf perfectly and radiates a casual manner throughout, something that even the young locals work hard to perfect on the shorebreak of the French Atlantic coast.

The celebrity

The people gathered at the bridge situated on Prinzregentenstraße are not always made up of classic tourists. Sometimes they are just celeb fans, because a famous face happens to have put on a wetsuit. Jack Johnson, Kent Nagano or many an ex-professional footballer have already tried the wave. Although their talent on the wave is not quite as pronounced as with a microphone or conductor's staff, headlines in the local newspapers are definitely taken care of.

Outfit (naturally beyond the Eisbach)
Different depending on the celebrity type, but a pair of sunglasses with torn jeans and necklace with skull motif is almost always a must.

Where else can he be found?
In Schumann's Bar on Odeonsplatz (Odeon’s Square).

The newbie

An unwelcome guest in the scene. After all, the Eisbach scene is a "locals only" thing. It's nothing for a beginner. Anyone practising the standing wave for the first time should try it out – if you please – at the lesser-known wave in Thalkirchen district. And anyway: The Eisbach is a dangerous place if you have not yet mastered the art. You can quickly hurt yourself on the stone underground or – in a very classical way – by hitting your own head with the board.

Outfit (naturally beyond the Eisbach)
O'Neill sunglasses, Billabong T-shirt, Stüssy cap. Of course, everything only just bought.

Where else can he be found?
Right around the corner at Luitpold-Gymnasium school.

 

 

Text: Nansen & Piccard; Photos: Frank Stolle