Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Surfing in Switzerland?
This is some of the most fascinating adapting to the environment I've ever seen. This is the Aare River in Thun, Switzerland. This is one of several places that you can go river surfing in Switzerland.
Let me begin by saying that this is one of the most dangerous ways to surf in the world.
That being said, here's how it works. You find a deep, very quick part of one of those Alpine style rivers. If need be, you sink a wedge to the bottom of the area. Then, you surf on the sucker, just like on a cruise ship. You really don't move. The water moves under you and it's your job to stay standing. Interesting? Yes it is.
River surfing is the latest rage in landlocked and other countries. Europe is a buzz on the subject. There is river surfing in several countries from Germany to France to Slovakia to Switzerland and more. Here you can see that there are even books on the subject. There are also professional river boarders.
River surfing is rumored to have begun in Munich, Germany which is also the site of the only true competition that I could find. It is a phenomenon though, and it's spreading all over the world. They even do it in Colorado and Canada.
Now, all kidding aside, this is different. Regular surfing is where you go to the beach, paddle out into the ocean, catch a wave and ride it back to the beach. We all understand that. But this is fundamentally different. With this, you find a bend that creates a quick moving section of river. You take your board out into the whitewater and get up on it and stand there. The water moves around you. You don't move. You could stand there indefinitely, surfing, because the water will run forever. Interesting, huh?
That's not all. There are shorter, wider, flatter boards for river surfing. It's a whole cult sport of it's own. It's amazing, but amazingly dangerous.
This is one of those things that you want to include in an Alpine vacation though. Driving through Bremgarten or Munich or Thun or Lyons or Bern on a hot summer day you might just get a chance to watch it or join in. If you are traveling Europe check it out. The locals will know all about it. They'll tell you how to find it and anything else you want to know. So, if you think that the only adrenaline junkies in Europe are doing the Luge, Skeleton, or Heliskiing, you're wrong. They have extreme summer sports too. Check it out and add something amazing to an already amazing vacation.
Don't just look this stuff up. Go out and try it! It's fun!