“Surfing DPRK?” — North Korea Tries to Lure American Surfers


North Korea is trying to become a beach surfing destination (Clay Gilliland/Flickr)

Come enjoy the beaches, the oceanfront beauty, and the awesome surfing in… North Korea?

That’s right. The insular nation of North Korea (aka The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK) is reportedly trying to become a major surfing destination. And while the country isn’t especially known for being tourist friendly — especially to Americans —it’s trying hard to lure foreign tourists of all nationalities. And it’s using its 1,550-mile eastern coastline to do it.

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The Pyongyang Times reports the Korean International Travel Company (KITC) is selling five-day/four-night surfing tours to three resorts on the country’s east coast.

The surfing tours also offer tours of historical landmarks in Pyongyang and surrounding areas.

The paper reports the first tour, between July 28 and August 6, was a big hit. “The North American surfers said they had a very good time in a bathing resort of [North Korea] with fascinating scenery and refreshing environment,” the Pyongyang Times reports.

North Korea has been trying to become more open to Americans. It recently loosened its travel restrictions to allow American tourists to visit at any time of the year, as long as they’re with guided tours.

But will risk-taking American surfers traveling the world for killer waves be willing to risk a secretive country with a reputation for locking up Americans under dubious circumstances? Maybe. New Jersey-based Uri Tours, which organizes tours to North Korea for Americans, is already looking at the possibility of offering surf tours. “I expect we’ll be able to fill a tour with about 10 to 20 people,” says Uri Tours’ operations chief John Dantzler-Wolfe. He says at least one surfing group has expressed interest.

Hey, if Dennis Rodman can play basketball in North Korea, surfing may not be that big a leap.

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