Meet the surfers: Tao, Alex and Karina

Once you’ve gotten over the initial shock of there being a wave, on a river, in the centre of Munich, comes the awe of those who rock up every day to surf it. Beyond the simple observations of newbie versus seasoned vet, come the personalities that each surfer takes on to the wave. We met up with three of the most notorious, native surfers of the Eisbach to tell our latest ‘Come and See’ story, City Surfers.

Tao, 33, is an industrial designer by day, has two European championships under his wetsuit and is the fastest thing on the Eisbach. The thing about Tao is how effortless he makes everything look. It’s as if he’s weightless on his board, playing with the wave, never fighting it. He explains, “When I’m surfing on the wave I’m always trying to think about nothing. It just happens, you know, this is what surfing is all about, you lose your mind when you go surfing”.

Tao talks about surfing as if it were more a philosophy than a sport describing it as a series of unrepeatable moments: “I think the perfect moment depends on the moment, you know. You come and there’s just two or three people there, it’s snowing, it’s night, it’s sunny but it’s more about your inner feeling. Every wave is different every moment is different, it’s impossible to catch the same moment again”.

Alex and Karina are a couple who were brought together through the Eisbach. Karina explains, “When Alex and I are on the wave together it’s like our challenge because we have something that we share and what we enjoy and what we love, so that’s our thing”.

Alex, 37, a local photographer and videographer may have surfed here for nearly a decade but his love of surfing came from his childhood in Brazil. He says, “I started surfing when I was 5, my father put me on the longboard and then I was hooked”. He goes on to say “Surfing in the city is amazing, I mean, this set-up is a one of a kind. You won't find a river wave standing in the middle of the city like this anywhere else in the world”. Alex’s has a showman’s bravado but for him it's not about being watched or admired. “It’s a sport where you have to find a certain harmony with nature to enjoy it. It’s a bit of a selfish sport but you can do it also with good friends and good people. It’s brings the best out of me actually because I’m in my element which is water.”

Karina, 25, is a different kettle of fish. This spirited sports science student is absolutely fearless on the water. She says, “I saw a surfboard at the flea market and I always wanted to go surfing but didn't have the money to go far, far away so I just picked it up for 50 Euros and said now I try it on the Eisbach no matter what. I just went there, board on the water, snowing and said here I am”. Five years on, Karina is European Champion.

Explore our City Surfer interactive experience here.