Anyone Up for a Surf in North Korea?

Posted: Aug 11,2014 Written by  NK

North Korea SurfingVisiting surfers getting a few waves on an east coast beach in North Korea - Photo: Naenara

North Korea’s tourism bureau, the Korea International Travel Company (KITC), is offering specialized surfing tours to the country’s east coast, according to both state media and independent tour companies.

The recently organized tours will be offered at three main coastal areas in Songdowon, Lake Sijung and Majon, according to an article in the Pyongyang Times Friday.

“The first surfing tourism ran between July 28 and August 6. North American surfers said they had a very good time in a bathing resort of the DPRK with fascinating scenery and refreshing environment,” the article said.

The existence of the newly organized surfing tours has also been confirmed to NK News by independent tour companies operating in North Korea.

“There have been two surfing groups so far,” Simon Cockerell from Koryo Tours told NK News. “Basically no special permission is needed as the places they go are places that are already open to tourists,” he added.

The announcement comes amid a new push to develop North Korea’s east coast into a hub for tourism and some in the industry believe surfing tourism could also be a new growth market.

“There is potential for a surfing market in the DPRK tourism space and we expect to offer such tours more regularly,” Andrea Lee of the New Jersey-based North Korea tour company Uri Tours told NK News.

“We understand that the eastern coast of the DPRK produces good surfable waves during the months of April to September,” she added.

However, state media claims that surfers can ride waves “several-meters-high” may be overstating the quality of the surf in coastal areas such as Majon Beach.

“Having been there a few times though I think claiming waves of ‘several metres’ is somewhat overstating it, I have seen some waves there, but nothing massive,” Cockerell said. “It’s not Point Break or anything,” he added.

Cockerell also said the specialized trips do not appear to be available to domestic tourists and that those interested in participating would likely have to bring their own equipment.