What's It Like To Surf In North Korea? Now You Can Find Out. No, Really...

"Everybody's gone surfing, surfing DPRK..."

Well, it definitely look like a foreign surfer.... Photo: Pyongyang Times
Surfing in North Korea. Yep, really. Photo: Pyongyang Times

There are few countries left undiscovered when it comes to surfing. Now, North Korea is opening its doors for the first time for foreigners to ride their empty waves.

Surfing – or “surf riding” as they call it in the Pyongyang Timesis now taking place in the totalitarian state’s bathing resorts of Songdowon, Lake Sijung and Majon.

“Both several-metre-high waves and low waves are available”

“Both several-metre-high waves and low waves are available” according to the PT, which makes it sound like they can just turn them on on demand. If the swell’s not up when the tourists arrive, then you definitely don’t want to be the person in charge of Coastal Activities and Sporting Pursuits…

North American surfers were part of the first trip that took place between 28 July and 6 August, and had “a very good time in a bathing resort of the DPRK with fascinating scenery and refreshing environment”, according to the PT. I’m sure they did.

Magic Seaweed zoomed in on the coastline of North Korea on Google Maps earlier this year and discovered some serious beachbreak potential.

Now that swell doesn't look too shabby at all... Photo: Magic Seaweed
Magic Seaweed have dubbed it “Asian Rincon” Photo: Magic Seaweed

After all, it does have the possibility of getting some of the Pacific Swells in the winter that hit neighbouring South Korea.

Just check out the photo below taken at 38th Parallel Beach, located in the demilitarised border zone between the two countries. Pretty sick, no?

Surf pumping on the border of North Korea and South Korea, known as the 38th Parallel. Photo: Shannon Aston
Surf pumping in the demilitarised zone between North Korea and South Korea, known as the 38th Parallel. Photo: Shannon Aston

Could it be a “surfer’s paradise” as Magic seaweed suggests?

After all, North Korea is already fast becoming a ski destination for tourists with a reported 5,500 skiiers in the DPRK alone.

The main ski resort, Masik Pass, is described by one tour operator as “the most exotic ski destination on earth” under Kim Jong Un’s push to improve leisure facilities in the world’s poorest country. 

(If you want a good laugh, read this article in the Washington Post on how North Korea went about acquiring its chairlifts….)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects the Masik Pass ski resort

So it was logically only a matter of time before surf tourism would follow.

Are they looking to improve their country in the eyes of the world (and take their tourists’ money), while simultaneously sticking the middle finger up at the West? Quite possibly.

If you do take the Korea International Travel Company up on its offer for a five day surf tourism trip, you’ll also be treated to a tour around Pyongyang’s “monumental structures, places of historic interest and other tourist attractions”.

Just don’t try wandering off on your own…

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