As far as I can remember, I always lived near the ocean. Though 6 months ago, I left home for a new job in Munich, Germany. I knew it would be hard to live without the sea for so long, but I had to try. It was one of my ultimate goals, a kind of experimentation to see how long I could deal without it.
You need to know that Munich is a must see, even if a big part of the city has been destroyed during the war, the architecture and the city center are still amazing. Of course, because I did some research before, I knew where to find the best place to feel at home.
Located in the English Garden, the largest park in Munich, I quickly discovered the Isar River and the famous Eisbach wave; if you don’t know it yet, this is where surfers of Munich meet. To be honest, at the beginning, I was wondering how these guys could go surf the same wave every single day… I soon had my answer.
During the summer, the English Garden is the place to be. It is warm, you are sweating from all over your body, but you know you can just dive into the Isar River for a swim, be carried by the flow and feel fresh again in a few seconds. Not too far away from there, you can surf the Eisbach wave.
Hundreds of people are watching the surfers. Even if the level in the water is disparate, it’s the perfect time to try new tricks and surf this wave for the very first time.
And then, summer ends and the fall season comes. You feel that something is different, that the Eisbach wave is not the same place anymore. Novices slowly disappear and only the hard-core surfers stay.
Finally, it’s winter; a harsh one. It’s -17 degrees and it’s freezing outside. Most people that used to watch the surfers are now gone. It’s a completely different wave, the flow is powerful and ice appears on the sides. Surfers often need to break this ice with a hammer to get out of the water. Then, they walk among the trees and the snow, ready to wait for their next ride.
I’m frozen, I can barely feel my fingers, but it doesn’t seem to be that cold for everyone else. Wave after wave, surfers are going back in the water, probably being their only way to warm up. It doesn’t matter if the weather is bad, if it’s -17 degrees out or if they can’t feel their bodies anymore—they all know it is worth it.
How can these people surf the same wave, again and again, every single day? I laugh at myself just thinking of how obvious it was. They are passionate, ready to brave any situation just to surf a little bit longer.
Watching the Eisbach wave quickly had a therapeutic effect on me. Each time I went there, I saw commitment, perseverance and passion. When you are far away from home, from your favorite surf spot and your comfort zone, a sentiment of emptiness can quickly take a hold of you. The Eisbach wave was one of the solutions to my homesickness, and I wasn’t letting it go.