If The Beach Boys had been formed in Hamhung, North Korea, instead of Hawthorne, California, it’s fair to say that the history of pop music would look somewhat different to how it looks today.
“All over Pyongyang, and down Wonsan way, everybody’s gone surfing, surfing Democratic People’s Republic of Korea…”
It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?
Amazingly, plans are afoot to bring wave-riding surfer dudes to the DPRK. It might sound like a plot synopsis for some stoner-comedy featuring Seth Rogen and James Franco but, unbelievably, this is not an internet wind-up.
Nik Zanella, an Italian who coaches the Chinese national surf team, and Uri Tours in New Jersey are planning a surfing expedition and training camp in the notoriously-secretive nation of North Korea. They’ll be checking out its pristine beaches, untouched waves, and assessing its potential to become a hotspot for surfers.
Zanella is a representative of the International Surfing Association, and has told news sources that the decision to host a surfing camp for a select group of North Koreans and foreign visitors along the country’s east coast occurred after an entire year of studying the region’s weather and wave conditions.
“The DPRK will not become the next Malibu but it receives enough swells to sustain a vast surf community…Our goal is to evaluate the resources and make them available to local surfers in a sustainable and safe way. We are not there to simply go surf, brag about it and then bail,” said Zanella.
Remarkably, for a country with such strict rules on visitors, the expedition has been approved by the political card-holders in Pyongyang. The ruling party in North Korea, and Kim Jong-Un in particular, are eager to develop the country’s tourism industry.