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Teiki Mathieu Baillan surfing a self-made Alaia surfboard in Lances Left, Mentawaï, Indonesia. Photo by C. Naslain, 2009.

Surf spot atlas made by surfers for surfers
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 South Korea

Asia

While not very consistant and somewhat far from cities, there are waves to be had on both the west and east coast. The surf here can get good-- very good. But believe me, it's SUPER RARE. I mean, really, really rare. Even when a sweet, fat typhoon rolls up from down near Guam, there's no guarentee that the waves will work anywhere on the coast. There are only a handful of semi-decent spots on the entire island and all of them are extremely fickle. The most consistent is Jungmun-- I mean, it has the most consistent slop and rarely has any shape at all. And, as recently more and more Koreans have bought boards and proclaimed themselves Princes of the Sandbox (ie, the zoo that is known as Jungmun beach), the vibe isn't very mellow anymore.

Anyway, there are a few powerful reef breaks dotted around the island. As I mentioned, they are very fickle but occasionally very good.

Location: Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
Geographic coordinates: 38° 30' N, 127° 9' E
Coastline km: 2,413 km km
Climate: temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter
Terrain: mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south
Elevation:
Natural hazards: occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; low-level seismic activity common in southwest
Currency: South Korean won (KRW)
Population:
Languages: Korean
Capital:
Divisions:

More details

 
Seasons
Jan/Feb Mar/Apr May/Jun Jul/Aug Sep/Oct Nov/Dec
Best Surfing Season
Typical Swell Size
Surf Equipment No sé No sé No sé No sé No sé No sé
Water temp.            
Air temp.            
Climate

Seasonal swell & wind variations

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Surf Spots

Surf Spots (17)
Quality Direction Type Frequ Experience
38th Parallel 17 / -
Right and left Beach-break Experienced surfers
Busan - / -
Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Garbage pile 1 / -
Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Gyongpo Beach - / -
Right and left Sand-bar All surfers
Hae un dae 2 / -
Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Haewoondae - / -
Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Hagampo - starfish 3 / -
Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Jeju Island - Jungmun Beach 3 / -
Right and left Reef-rocky All surfers
Jukdo 5 / -
Right and left Sand-bar All surfers
Jumunjin 3 / -
Right and left breakwater/jetty All surfers
Kangjeong - / -
Right and left Reef-rocky Pros or kamikaze only...
North Sokcho 4 / -
Right and left Beach-break Experienced surfers
Olders (baeksook village) - / -
Right and left Reef-rocky All surfers
Paradise Peak 1 / -
Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Sokcho 3 / -
Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Song Jung Beach 1 / -
Right and left Beach-break Beginners wave
Songdojin-ni 3 / -
Right breakwater/jetty All surfers
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North sokcho
South Korea

Sokcho
South Korea

Squids
South Korea

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 Comments

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By Anonymous , 27-08-2010

Observations and Perceptions - I recently re-read the comments I wrote back in 2006 regarding the scene at Jungmun/Jeju, and while I can maybe see how some of what I wrote might be perceived as bitter (hello pudfluff), I was merely honestly sharing my observations and experience while living here, and none of what I wrote was bullshit. My tone was intentionally sarcastic, of course, yet make no mistake: I still stand unequivocally by what I wrote beforehand, and if you weren't a witness (as I was) to the negative changes happening here back then, well one (pudfluff) could be forgiven for misconstruing my remarks. Happily, four good years later, some things have changed for the better, and to reflect these positive changes I feel obliged to ammend one or two of my earlier comments. First and foremost, I wish to pay sincere respect to a few of the local boys, some of the guys born and bred on the island. Over the last few years, a few have improved considerably, so that now when we do get a solid swell there are actually one or two or three who are willing to paddle out and charge at the spattering of fickle reefs that only light up when Jungmun is washed out/too big. To witness their improvement and stoke has been a distinct pleasure, and with the increase of their skills I venture to say the formerly antagonistic attitude they occasionally cast about has been transformed into a much more easygoing vibe. They are more confident, less insecure, more friendly. Generally speaking. In truth, most of the boys in the WaveClub are really good guys, very mellow, just wanna surf and have fun. Inevitably, people being people, there are still one or two 'individuals' down at Jungmun who believe that dropping-in is a sign of status, but again it's my experience that I still never see such guys charging when there's size here, and thus to them no respect is due. Certainly, every year more and more beginners take to the water, so that now on any given slopburger day you can find 25+ people in the water, but overall the vibe has become more mellow again at Jungmun (although the ultra low-key/empty days are long gone..boohoo..). For how long? Who knows. Surfing's popularity here in Korea/Jeju has increased exponentially since when I began living here in 2000. That was always to be expected, so no worries. The waves here though on Jeju for the most part, I state again emphatically, simply do not justify any hype you may hear. Case in point, not one single good solid typhoon swell has lit up the coast yet this season (although fingers crossed, Sept/Oct may redeem our rusty boards). Sure, there have been lots of small waves at Jungmun this summer for longboards or fishes, but nothing else of note. And every once in a while, a Japanese camera crew or sponsored guys from Hawaii will roll in and do an article for a mag, or shoot some vid, and try to convey the notion that Jeju is some unridden realm. latz :)

By pudfluff , 16-05-2010

Korea is nice - Yes, there is surf to be had. Yes, swells are rare. that`s about as far as you need to read into the intro for Korea. The rest is a bunch of bitter BS about jeju island. If you aren`t scared of cold water the NE coast of SK in winter is semi-consistient mostly offshore.. and eeeemmmmpppty. Your local surf break might be super sweet but if you never get to surf there alone Korea might me kind of nice. Plus there`s about 3 shops up here if you`re looking for gear, wax, etc. check the facebook group page "surfin' korea" for photos and the like.

By Anonymous , 07-02-2010

Had good surf in Korea yesterday - I went surf this weekend to east sea where have had quite rich waves. 3~4ft. and pretty nice peeling. U gotta check the chart before going though. It was fickle, as the article said. It took more than 3 hours by car from seoul. freaking far. I wish I lived there.

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