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Is North Korea About to Become the Next Surf Destination?

Photo: Jo

If you’re a surfer and you’re fed up with all the usual spots to grab a wave, maybe you might want to book a flight to Pyongyang? While North Korea is hardly the tourism hot spot, it seems that a new initiative to give the Asian country a little lucrative boost by taking advantage of its clean beaches and swells has been given the go ahead.

The North Korean government is surprisingly keen to boost the country’s tourist sector, and an unlikely collaboration between a New Jersey tour operator and Italian pro-surfer Nik Zanella, who coaches the Chinese National Surf team, will be setting up the surf camp and expedition.

The expedition is open to eager traveling surfers at $3,200 for seven nights, where participants will embark on a mission to find the ideal surf spots for the first half of the event, and the second half will be a surf camp, where Zanella will be offering his expertise to participants.

Zanella has spent a year of studying the North Korean coastal area prior to the decision, and while he doesn’t believe that the area will become the next surfing Mecca, he does feel there is enough swell and surf to satisfy a diverse surfing community. His goal goes beyond bringing in a group of outside tourists as a one off even, but wants to create resources available to locals and local surfers that is safe and sustainable, to give something back to the community.

The aim of the endeavor is to map out the North Korean coastline for the best surfing locations, but also to put some safety and evacuation plans into action following a thorough risk assessment. The long term aim is to encourage North Korea, known officially as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to become a larger surfing destination.

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