Munich is famous for beer, sausages and surfing. Yep, you read that right. Just go to the southern tip of the English Garden at Prinzregentenstrasse and you'll see scores of people leaning over a bridge to cheer on wetsuit-clad daredevils as they 'hang 10' on an artificially created wave in the Eisbach. It's only a single wave, but it's a damn fine one. In fact, the surfers are such an attraction, the tourist office even includes them in its brochures.
But if park director Thomas Köster gets his way, the fun will soon be a thing of the past. You see, surfing or even swimming in the Eisbach is actually verboten . And for good reason. It looks pretty harmless, but the little river is quite a raging torrent with dangerous currents and undertows. Numerous people - though none of the surfers - have drowned in the chilly waters, including a 27-year-old Australian traveller on a Munich holiday whose body has never been found. Signs warning about its dangers are widely ignored, usually with the tacit approval of park wardens and the police. Köster wants this to change, and he also wants to get rid of the wave. Surfers are up in arms and have even started a petition (www.rettet-die-eisbachwelle.de) to ensure their playground's survival.