• 12/4/2014

A TUM student wins the show "Wetten, dass ...?":

Benedikt Sanftl: "The prize money is secondary!"

With their surfing-bet, TUM student Benedikt Sanftl, 26, and three friends won the episode of the TV-show "Wetten, dass…?" in Erfurt in early October. In an interview with TUMstudinews reporter Sabrina Czechofsky, Sanftl reports about the exciting days in Erfurt and reveals why it also has disadvantages to become the "Wettkönig" (“Betting King”).

Victory: A surfboard made of plastic bottles. Benedict Sanftl and his teammates Benedict Beller, Dennis Hechtl and Leander Holz (from left to right) at "Wetten, dass ...?" (Photo: ZDF/Sascha Baumann)
Victory: A surfboard made of plastic bottles. Benedict Sanftl and his teammates Benedict Beller, Dennis Hechtl and Leander Holz (from left to right) at "Wetten, dass ...?" (Photo: ZDF/Sascha Baumann)

Benedikt, in the show "Wetten, dass…?", you and your friends bet that you could build a surfboard made of PET bottles in four minutes – and that one of you could surf on it for 10 seconds. How did you come across the idea?

Sanftl: My friend Benedikt Beller saw a YouTube-video about a Brazilian guy who builds surfboards from PET bottles with street children – based on a socio-economic approach. We thought the idea was great and then somehow we came up with the idea for the bet. First, we asked the editors of "Wetten, dass…?" whether they thought our idea could be suitable for the show. They liked it – and we developed the idea of the four-minute-bet together.
…which you won in the end. How sure were you that you could manage?

At the beginning, it took us more than eight minutes for the assembling. Three days before the show, we were down to 4 minutes and 16 seconds.

Were you nervous on your way to Erfurt?

No not at all. We had a lot of fun, all of the time. We travelled first class in the ICE and were allowed to stay in a four-star hotel – all paid for from the license fees of the GEZ! (laughs). Then, we had the wave pool in Erfurt all to ourselves for three days. At the Eisbach, you always have to wait – but there, we could go surfing all on our own between the rehearsals. The whole time in Erfurt was just great.

Before, you had practiced in Munich too. How much water did you have to drink to collect enough PET bottles to practice with?
We needed 35 bottles for every board, but we bought them all empty. Also, it would have been against the ecological principle behind the original idea from Brazil if we had used new bottles every time. At the beginning, we had to practice cutting the bottles, so we also had to throw some away. Later, we always used the same ones to practice the assembling.
In the end, you did not only win the bet but also 50,000 Euros. What will you do with the money?

Of course, we shared it – and we want to go on a surfing vacation together. Shortly after arriving back in Munich, we celebrated at the Oktoberfest with our friends and treated them to a few rounds of beer. But for me, the money is really only a side issue. It was so much fun with the other three guys. When we were on stage for the show’s finale, I just hoped that we would do better than fourth or fifth place.
Before the show, you had planned to take a selfie with Megan Fox who was a celebrity guest. Did that work out?

No, unfortunately not. She had to leave the show after 30 minutes. But we met the other celebrities who were there. I even talked to Benedikt Höwedes and Janin Reinhardt a bit. We didn’t have much time. After the show, we had to give so many interviews because we were the "Wettkönige". The other candidates had a better chance to talk.

Benedikt Sanftl, 26, started his studies of Electrical Engineering at TUM in April 2012 and will soon be finishing his Master's thesis in the field of high frequency technology. Whenever he finds time, alongside studying and his job at Airbus, he meets up with his friends to go surfing on the Eisbach. After finishing his Master's thesis, he will be working as a surf instructor in Morocco for three months. Currently, he is looking for a position as a doctoral student. Maybe the title "Wettkönig" in his CV can help. 



Technical University of Munich

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