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Austria Graz River Surfing Club

posted Dec 3, 2011, 1:36 PM by River Surfer Magazine   [ updated Dec 3, 2011, 2:20 PM ]
Mr  President may we get a few words ?
 
Photo Property: Reini Urban the current president of the Graz
riversurfing club and one of the oldest surfers in Graz.
RSM:How did the Graz riversurfing club get started?
 
Reini :We started riversurfing in Graz in Spring 1999.
We still have a bridge with a pier in the middle of the river, and the concrete has to be repaired every 20 years or so. So they decided to make the flow a bit slower to support the end of pier by doing a stair, a 1m meter step down, which slows down the speed at the end of the pair dramatically. At the local kajak club took the opportunity and asked to do a real wave. And so it was. In the first years was about 15m wide, the years we had. In the beginning we had been about 5-10 people surfing there. The first was our local surf champion Peter Bartl and his friend Solo. 1. How long have you been river surfing? how did you get your start ? I started riversurfing April 1999. My best friend was ij Indonesia on holidays and took a short plastic bic 6'6" with him. He did not buy it just asked a friend from Innsbruck to borrow him. He found out about some guys surfing there, and we started surfing. After 2-3 weeks had finally managed to standup. We jumped from the side into the wave and glided on our belly. It was very fast and exciting.
 
RSM: How many riversurfers are surfing in the club, what is the surf scene like .
 
Reini:We heard from the Eisbach surfers in Munich from their trouble with the local authorities and localism. We didn't want to have that in Graz, the 2nd river surf, and after a year we decided to form an official club to protect our interests against the city counsel and the kajak club, 2000. We started with about 30 surfers in the club, and now we have 55 paying members. There are about 100 surfers who surf regularly in Graz, but on a good    day maximal 15 at a time. Only at contests and high tide it is fully crowded. It is never that big as in Montreal or at the Eisbach, thanksfully.
Photo Property of : Reini ,surfing the famous Munich wave .
 
Reini :We heard from the Eisbach surfers in Munich from their trouble with the local authorities and localism. We didn't want to have that in Graz, the 2nd river surf, and after a year we decided to form an
official club to protect our interests against the city counsel
and the kajak club, 2000. We started with about 30 surfers in the club, and now we have 55 paying members. There are about 100 surfers who surf regularly in Graz, but on a good day maximal 15 at a time. Only at contests and high tide it is fully crowded. It is never that big as in Montreal or at the Eisbach, thanksfully.
 
RSM :What kind of surf board do you perfer to surf in the river.
 
Reini:  For beginners and slow eaves we prefer mini malibus, first the big BIG 7'2" and then the NSU 6'8", and for the big wave short fat fishes or swallow tails, 5'8" to 6'4". We always take the third middle find out for easier 360°, some have special smaller middle fins to have more power with the rear foot. We also have some power surfers like the South African born Holger Hassenpflug on the foto who always surfs with a big third middle fin, to bring the full force to the back foot.
 
RSM: When is the best time to surf Graz what types of river waves do you have there ?
 
Reini : The best time for the big wave is in May and June, and sometimes at big rainfalls in fall. We had years where we could surf the big wave 50% of the days between April and November, and the last two years we only had 3-5 days to surf. But we also have two smaller waves for the beginners which are very tiny but better than nothing. They are in the very center of the town, and you can surf there the whole summer.
 
RSM:You have held some river surf comps over the years. Can you give us a recap of favorite events? and any future events?
Reini : In  2003 we had our first big surf contest, the only time when we had the Munich Surfers in Graz.
 We had a big budget but no
wave at all.
Reini : We had to do the contest on a rope, which was lame, and the guests did not like it. But we loved it. Then in the following years we did contests only on short notice when we had excellent conditions, and on some years no contest at all. It is a financial and buerocratic problem to organize it, the city demands a fixed date 6 weeks prior. But we don't know when we will excellent conditions up to one week prior. The official Austrian contests in the first years were on another wave in Silz near Innsbruck, Tyrol, but this wave is not running anymore. There we met the Munich surfers, and we typically won 50% of the contest, 50% the Munich surfers. This was the Pre-Gerry Schlegel Era, who won almost every contest in the last years. In the last years we did bigger contests again, with about 35 surfers typically.
 
RSM:Have you surfed any other standing waves in Europe, or other surf spots you woud lke to share .
 
Reini :We travel around a lot to surf other waves everywhere in Europe, Africa and Canada. I surfed almost all waves in Austria, in Munich and in Switzerland. Then in Montreal with our Friend Corran Addison who started in Montreal at about the same time we did, 1999-2000. The three great waves in Montreal. And now
 I'm surfing Texas and Mexico.
 Every wave is completely different. Esp. River waves. You need some time to get orientation and get accustomed to it. Also good ocean surfers have difficulties to surf our river  waves. My favorite is still the home wave the Radetzky, because is is slower then Eisbach, but powerful, more powerful than most others. The smaller waves are usually surfed with ropes. Take care of your hand.
The rope is the most dangerous thing when surfing on rivers. Best do without.
 
 
Lolo Paniolo aka Crazy Cowboy : I agree  using ropes is a easy way to get surfing but also a quick way to die , I  keep a knife handy ...I carry one on my  lifejacket  when I rope surf  and surfing in the river .
 
RSM: Hey Lolo talking here thanks cowboy you carry a rusty gun too anyway .
 
RSM:Reini Do you surf in the ocean as well.
 
Reini :Sure. But I prefer river surfing by far. It's far more satisfying, no locals dropping in or behaving bad, there's a civilized line where you wait until its your turn, and there are no super apes which take every next wave.
 
RSM:What can you recommend to someone travling your way to river surf.
 
 Munich Eisbach is a very dangerous wave, with stones behind the wave. It's the best wave in the world, but I do not recommend it. The other big river waves Reichenbachbrücke and in France are even more dangerous, see for example the Munich surf movie "Keep surfing". And easy and nice wave is in Bremgarten near Zurich, this is very narrow, locals surf without leashes  because of the friction. In Austria are also some nice waves but they are rarely running in perfect conditions.
 
RSM:The Murbank web site is way cool!!!as is the Graz riversurfing club!!! ,would you like to say anything to the river surf world wheres aloha for you ?
 
 
Reini : River surfing rocks. You can learn tricks much easier on a standing wave, and its much more civil and easier to learn to surf on a river than on the ocean. It should be much easier to learn take offs on a river, but typically river surfers are lazy and not good in take offs. City counsels are getting better and better, since this year it is even officially allowed to surf at the Eisbach. In Graz it was always allowed and always a tourist attraction. We river surfers do not promote our spots too much to have our waves for ourselves. Certain waves are too well known and we have to promote them to protect them. So officials cannot take them away. As the Eisbach and Flosslände in Munich, and the Radetzky in Graz. But there are much more secret spots. Ask the locals, they are very nice and tell you what to take care of. The worst would be an accident by a beginner who did not dare to ask. Which might cause that surfing will be forbidden there. ..
 
RSM :Thank you so much Reini... Mr President and thanks  Graz River Surfing Club crew for stoking us world wide on the sport? the passion and addiction to river surfing let it flo sistas & braddas  !!!
Get your stoke on at the GRSC site http://www.murbreak.at/ all photos property of Reini and the Graz River Surfing Club some shown below  river surf Austria legends of river surfing mahalo.
River Surfer magazine votes for you 2012 Mr President Reini Urban thank you for your time and stoke .