Where to surf in Germany ? Surfing the ocean, river and indoors…

When thinking of surfing, Germany is not the first country that comes to mind. With its windy coastline and often cold weather, surfing in Germany is not for everyone. However, it is possible. In the Baltic and North Sea, there are surfable waves. Plus: If you want to try out river surfing or surfing on a stationary wave, Germany is the place to go.

Surfing in Germany: What to expect ?

Don’t expect glassy conditions and perfect lines. Good waves are rare. Basically, you will find surfable waves wherever strong winds blow from the sea over a larger area of water. If the surf forecast shows a wind speed of 30km/h and more, the chances are good that there is surf in the Baltic Sea.

You should put time into the research of the surf and wind forecast in order to be at the right place at the right time. Also, we strongly suggest you to ask tips to the locals to know better the spots and score in Germany.

Surf spots in Germany

Spots de surf in Baltic Sea

Surf in Germany - Baltic SEA

Along the Baltic Sea coastline, St. Peter-Ording is the most famous surf destination. Windsurfers love the spot. For surfers the place is interesting, too, as the waves pile up to three meters in sideshore winds. However, there are usually strong currents and the waves get messy. 

More surf spots in the Baltic Sea are:

  • Damp
  • Timmendorfer Strand
  • Hohwachter Bucht
  • Heiligenhafen
  • Waisenhäuser Strand
  • Dahme

Surf spots in North Sea

The German North Sea holds more frequent and usually better waves than the Baltic Sea. Especially on the islands Norderney or Sylt, on the right days, there are great waves. 

Surf in Germany : North Sea
© Tom Kleemann

Sylt is known as the birthplace of German surfing. The west coast with its 40 kilometers of sandy beautiful beach, depending on the weather conditions, good waves can roll either on the north or south side.

However, surfing there can be tricky. The sandbanks on the island are constantly piling up in different places. It is best to take advice from locals and take your time to watch the beach. 

Norderney, one of seven populated East Frisian islands, also attracts a small surf community. The most constant conditions for beginners and advanced surfers are at the Januskopf, when the northwest wind drops or turns to the south.

A list of surf spots in Germany can be found here.

Alternatives to surfing in the ocean in Germany

1- Riversurfing

Germany is the number 1 destination for river surfing and Munich is considered the capital of river surfing. The famous Eisbach wave, located behind the English Garden in the city center, is well-known in the whole world. Our Family rider, Andrew Diggler is surfing this wave very often!

Surf in Germany : Riversurfing

Unlike the waves in the sea, this wave runs 24 hours, 7 days a week. In summer, surfers often surf through the night with the help of floodlights they bring along. Surfing in the middle of the city, free of charge and around the clock – where else can you find something like that?

Still, it is important to know that the Eisbach wave is certainly not for beginners. Directly behind the wave are several rows of stone blocks under the water. 

About one kilometer behind the Eisbach wave, you find the so-called small Eisbach wave on the same channel, which is somewhat easier to master, but is still certainly not an easy spot due to the narrow concrete boundaries.

There are other river waves in and around Munich, some of which run seasonally or only at certain water levels. A good overview of all surf spots in Munich can be found here (German only). 

Another recommendation: Just like everywhere else in the world, locals should be treated with respect in Munich.

2- Ferry wave surfing

You didn’t experience everything Germany has to offer in terms of surfing unless you surfed ferry waves. 

The most famous one is on the beach of Warnemünde. It’s not particularly big or spectacular, but it’s reliable and you can set your watch by it. Every two hours, from morning to evening, the Scandinavian ferry provides a surfable wave about one meter high. 

By the way, not every ferry produces such a wave. Only ferries with a particularly chunky underwater hull displace enough water for this. Therefore, before you visit this spot, you should find out whether the ferry wave is still possible. Short surfboards can be left at home. The ferry wave is rather a longboard spot.

3- Stationary wave surfing

No desire for bad weather, wetsuit and chattering teeth? No problem! In various locations across Germany, there are indoor waves just like the wave pool in St Gilles Croix-de-Vie in France

Andrew Diggler sur une vague statique en Allemagne

It started with two engineers from the Munich area who developed the so-called Citywave. Here, 6 to 10 pumps, all the size of an old Mini car, shoot so much water down an incline that a wave forms at the transition to the pool. The wave can be surfed like a river wave. On such a wave it is especially easy to experience the feeling of surfing even as an absolute beginner. The wave can be adjusted in different ways and beginners can even have a pole to hold on to.

Another indoor wave is the Hansewelle in Osnabrück and Germany’s newest indoor surf location is Wellenwerk in Berlin, which opened in November 2011.

Another wave operated by pumps is the Lakesurf wave in Langenfeld in the Cologne / Düsseldorf region. However, since this wave is floated on a lake, it is not operated during the winter.

Surfboards designed for riversurfing work best on stationary waves. However, unlike riversurfing, the commercial operators provide equipment for beginners.

Conclusion on surf in Germany

Germany is definitely not the best destination to learn surfing. Even though the North Sea offers good conditions for beginners from time to time, the conditions are not consistent enough to spend a surf holiday there. There are also no surf camps or surf schools that are in operation throughout the whole year. If you want to learn how to surf, you should dig a little deeper into your pocket and choose a destination that offers better conditions.

It is possible to get a feel for surfing on a stationary wave, however, indoor surfing can definitely not compare to the beauty and peace of surfing in the ocean. River surfing is something special to Germany and experienced surfers can get a thrill out of it. Interesting enough, even though Germany is not a typical surf country, there are some opportunities for those who search for it.