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Surfers riding the wave on the Eisbach stream at the south end of the Englischer Garten in Munich, Germany. 
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Surfers riding the wave on the Eisbach stream at the south end of the Englischer Garten in Munich, Germany.

"The Eisbach, or ‶Ice Creek,” a tributary of the Isar River, starts where two underground canals in Munich meet and emerge under the 19th-century Prinzregentenstrasse bridge, next to the city’s modern-art museum. In the 1970s, civic engineers laid three rows of concrete blocks along the canal bottom to weaken the flow of water surging up from underground. The shape of the bottom—along with wooden boards wedged into the canal by local surfers—creates a fast but surfable standing wave that has become the most popular ‶river-surfing” spot in Europe.

[...] The first surfers in Munich started cautiously, using ropes tied to bridges or trees to help them keep their balance. This was in the 1970s, and river surfing was illegal and could bring heavy fines. [...] Surfing in the canals is still technically against the law. Many surfers have suffered dislocated shoulders or broken bones from hitting the concrete blocks. Still, the number of outlaw surfers in Munich swelled throughout the 1980s and 1990s—there are now 300 or 400—and the police eventually gave up. They even tolerate the annual competition, which began in 2001." (Michael Scott Moore: Munich’s Malibu, "The Atlantic" Jan-Feb 2008).

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