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Surfyy Beach, Is this the best place to surf in Korea?

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Surfyy Beach in Korea is exactly what it sounds like. A stunning beach in the north of the Korean Republic on the eastern coast. It is often referred to as the “best place to surf in Korea” and maybe that’s because they have the conditions that allow surfing year-round.

Unlike the beaches of Busan and the beaches of Jeju Island which are more seasonal.

With Seoraksan National Park just a short drive away, and the Eastern Sea providing the perfect conditions to surf, it’s no wonder this small corner of Korea becomes a hotspot for surfing every summer. Surfyy Beach was the first “surf only” beach in the country when it was first opened.

It’s become a hit with those who want a fun beach destination offering something a little different.

Read on to see what you can expect when you make your journey to this surfer’s paradise.

Planning to visit Korea for longer than a tourist? Consider the working holiday visa that lets you stay for 1 year. I can even help you get set up as an expat.

Country:South Korea (Republic of Korea)
Currency:South Korean Won / KRW
Do you need a visa to visit as tourists?Check here

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swing at surfyy beach in Korea
A swing on the beach

How to get to Surfyy Beach

Location: 508 Junggwangjeong-ri Hyeonbuk-myeon Yangyang-gun Gangwon-do (강원 양양군 현북면 하조대해안길 119)

Surfyy Beach is located in the northeast of Korea, on the coast facing the East Sea. It’s really close to Yangyang airport although it’s not a very easy airport to fly into.

You might wonder if you can travel by plane since the beach is only a short drive from an airport, but the truth is, unless you’re flying from Jeju Island, you won’t be able to reach Yangyang domestically by air.

There are multiple other ways to reach the beach, however, so let me outline these for you below.

Arriving from Seoul

If travelling from Seoul, the journey will take on average:

  • 2.5 hours by car. If you are happy to take toll roads it will cost roughly 9,400 won (£8.70). Luckily travelling in this direction you also have the option to avoid tolls without impacting your travel time.
  • 3 hours by bus

Arriving from Busan

If travelling from Busan it can take between:

  • 5-6 hours by car. If you take toll roads you will spend an average of 23,600won (£14.44). If avoiding toll roads it will take closer to 6 hours and cost nothing but your fuel usage.
  • 6-7 hours by bus

Don’t forget your T Money card and download these useful apps if you use public transport!

Make sure you have an active eSIM for your trip so you can stay connected and navigate easily.

Parking

For those who opt to drive to Yangyang’s Surfyy Beach, you’ll be pleased to know that there is plenty of parking spaces available. There is both on-street parking and a large gravel car park directly outside the two entrances to the beach.

Need to rent a car in Korea? Read these tips when renting a car as a foreigner.


sign of lesson and rental prices at surfyy beach
A sign at the rental kiosk on Surfyy Beach

Surf Lessons & Rental Costs

Lessons can be given in both the Korean and English languages!

You should be aware that in order to rent a surfboard and surf independently (ie. without a lesson) you will need to prove that you have had at least 2 lessons previously. This is a safety precaution as the staff wants to make sure that people are less likely to get harmed or injured if they’re not being supervised by an instructor.

Activity/RentalPrice in Korean Won / GBP
Surfyy 3-hour Visit Pass 10,000 won /
Early Bird Surf Lesson 1.5 hr lesson / 1.5 hr free surf40,000 won /
Surfing Wavve Package 1.5 hr lesson / 1.5 hr free surf50,000 won /
Intermediate Lesson 1 hr lesson / 2 hr free surf40,000 won /
3mm Wetsuit Rental10,000 won /
5mm Wetsuit Rental15,000 won /
Soft-top Surfboard Rental30,000 won /
Paddleboard Rental30,000 won /

You will be pleased to know that Surfyy Beach accepts both card and cash payments for their lessons and rentals so you should have no problem making your purchases.


wetsuits hanging up on the beach
A line of hanging wetsuits ready for surfers

Surf Lessons at Surfyy Beach: What to expect

When you first enter Surfyy Beach to rent equipment or take lessons, you will need to head to the check-in/customer service kiosk before you do anything else. It’s a small wooden stand with a long yellow surfboard on the front with various prices in both Korean and English. The staff can speak both languages so you shouldn’t have any trouble.

Before finalising a rental or lesson, you will be required to fill out a small check-in sheet that asks for:

  • The Date
  • Your Full Name
  • Your Phone Number

You will then need to read and sign a disclaimer as surfing is a difficult sport that carries some risks. Once all of this is done, you will either be asked to follow their staff to get ready for your lesson or asked to return 20-30 minutes before your session if it is later in the day.

Lessons are usually held at 11 am or 3 pm each day.

Equipment Collection

Generally speaking, you will only need to collect two items before getting in the water. A wetsuit and a surfboard.

Surfyy Beach has two types of wetsuits depending on the season, temperature and conditions. You can either use a 3mm thick wetsuit which is generally used in warmer conditions, or you can use a 5mm thick wetsuit which is better suited for the cold winter months.

When it comes to surfboards, Surfyy Beach has you covered there too (of course). They offer both soft-top boards and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs).

Soft-top boards are best for beginners. They’re softer and more lightweight so it’s much safer for you and those around you to use them while learning. Especially if you lose control or fall off the boards in the water. Using a soft board means you’re less likely to get injured if it bumps into you.

lots of stacked stand-up paddleboards and surfboards
Lots of surfboards and stand-up paddleboards

Verbal Lesson

After getting your equipment you will be given a 20-30 minute verbal lesson which is quite possibly the most important part of the experience. Your surf instructor will walk you through a safety demonstration, teach you about various hazards to be aware of and also explain some basic science about tides and currents in the water. Knowing all of this ahead of time can certainly help keep you safe when you finally hit the water.

Hazards to be aware of

During this part of the lesson, the instructors will not only tell you about the risks in this local area but also about what to look out for if you surf around the world. The skills you learn here can be carried with you in many other places. There are so many different things you need to be conscious of when surfing so here I will just outline a few:

  • Other surfers – You could get harmed if a surfer behind you catches a wave in your direction. On the other hand, you could be the one causing another person hard if you catch a wave towards someone in front of you.
  • The direction of the waves – You need to be aware of what direction you are likely to travel in.
  • The time between each wave – Short-period swells don’t have much energy behind them compared to long-period swells. The latter causes you to travel much further at a faster speed.
  • Objects floating in the water – You could get hurt if they hit you.
  • What’s under the water in the area – There could be reefs, rocks or other things that are dangerous. By knowing what’s around you, you can be better prepared to avoid them.
  • Sea life – There is some dangerous sea life that could cause harm if you get too close.
A group of people practicing their surfing skills in the sea of Surfyy Beach
A group of surfers in the water

Physical Lesson

During the physical part of the Surfyy Beach surfing lesson, the instructors will teach you the basics of how to carry your board and position your body during each step of the surfing process. You will start by learning how to “pop up” from a lying position up to your feet, followed by practising the motions on the sand and then finally moving that practice to the water.

Popping up
  • Lie face down on your board with your toes a little in front of the back edge of the board. Do not put your toes over the edge.
  • Bring your hands in close to your chest (just below your armpits) and take a pre-press-up stance.
  • Get your back foot into position (perpendicular to the board at a 90-degree angle in the centre)
  • Jump your front foot into position (in between where your hands were but pointing at a 45-degree angle)
  • Stand up but keep your knees bent

Keep your knees loose & keep your centre of gravity low to the board. Plus, always remember to LOOK FORWARD. If you look down, you will likely lose balance.

Practice on the sand

Once you have got the basics of the pop-up technique down, you will be asked to practise perfecting it on the sand. You will need to repeat this motion multiple times while the instructor helps you fix your foot and body positioning in the best way to help you in the water.

Once you have mastered this, you’ll be ready to move into the water as a group where the instructor will help you.

Practice on the waves

Now it’s time to put everything you learned on land into the water. The instructor will help you get yourself and your boards into position and they will time the waves for you so you can focus on your pop-up.

Your Surfyy Beach guide will get you and the board into position, and when the time is right they will give your board a push forward so the way can continue to carry you forward, and then it’s up to you to get into the surf position and see how long you can stay standing.

After trying this a few times each and the instructor helping you smooth out the edges of your stance, you’ll be ready to try some free surfing without their help. You have the opportunity to use the skills you’ve been taught to practise as much as you want on your own.

bamboo showers outside for surfers to use at surfyy beach in Korea
Bamboo showers outside visitors can use to wash off sand

All of those who enjoy the beach will be able to use the outdoor showers to wash off the seawater and sand. These are located on the outdoor wall of the toilet block which is to the left of the lounge and to the right of the check-in kiosk.


the large sign on a beach with palm trees behind that reads "surfyy beach" located in Korea
One of two large “Surfyy Beach” signs

The History of Surfyy Beach in Korea

Surfyy Beach opened between 2013-2014 on what was originally an old military base. When the beach first started to be used leisurely, people would need to go through the once-standing military gates at the base and would be ushered out when their time for the day was up.

It took a while for the owners of Surfyy to be allowed to surf themselves and it took even longer to be allowed to teach surf lessons. But over time the local authorities were happy to permit them to hold classes on the beach.

Surfyy was the first beach primarily used just for surfing in Korea and it has built up a reputation amongst locals and foreign visitors as a top destination for surfing within the country.

In the last few years, Surfyy has really improved its marketing strategy to reach a lot more visitors online and has made it clear it offers English lessons as well as Korean for foreign visitors.


Various areas found on Surfyy Beach

Don’t let the name Surfyy Beach fool you, surfing is not the only thing you can do on this beach in Korea. There is plenty more you can do that doesn’t include surfing. So if you just want to enjoy the weather and have a day that doesn’t involve getting your hair wet, then these are some activities you can enjoy. Look for the small wooden signs next to each area that tell you where you are.

A line of straw umbrellas and sun loungers on Surfyy Beach in Korea
One of the tanning areas for beach-goers to use on the beach

Tanning area

There are multiple areas with sun loungers along the beach that are specifically for those wearing swimwear who are (assumably) working on their tan. One section has a line of chairs under sun umbrellas in a straight line facing the sea, and the other sections are further from the water.

Lounge & Rooftop

The lounge is a bar and restaurant where you can enjoy a social atmosphere. There is an outdoor decking area for you to sit and eat, as well as tables inside. If you travel to the left of the bar you’ll find a wooden-style bar covered in Jim Beam advertisements, and directly ahead of it, there is a blue, modern absolute vodka bar.

If you head upstairs you’ll also find a rooftop bar with more tables and chairs available. You’ll get a fantastic view of the entire beach from up here and can still hear the music easily. Luckily, you can eat in any section of the lounge so you can simply choose anywhere to sit.

With regard to food choices, you’ll be able to order popular Western food options such as burgers and fries as well as both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

White beanbags and small tables located on Surfyy Beach in Korea
Beanbag and relaxation area on the beach

Beanbag seating area

Located right behind the tanning areas you’ll find an area with a group of bean bags and small side tables. This area is for those who want to relax on the beach with a great view of the sea, without necessarily being dressed only in their swimwear. The bean bags are comfortable, inviting and just waiting for you to enjoy some R&R on a warm day.

Merchandise Booths

If you’d like to buy some surf merchandise before leaving Surfyy Beach you have a few choices. There is a stand outside on the beach itself located between the check-in kiosk and the outdoor showers.

The other is a small store inside the main floor of the lounge to the right of the entrance. This store has some Volcom branded clothing to purchase and some sarongs with “Surfyy Beach” written on them.

A giant flip-flop used as a photobooth on Surfyy Beach in Korea
A giant flip-flop used as a photo opportunity

Photo areas

Ignoring the fact that the entire beach can be picture-perfect on a sunny day, there are numerous purpose-built photo opportunities for visitors to take advantage of.

These include the single swing facing the sea near the lifeguard tower, the two “Surfyy Beach” signs, the Red Bull car, the bamboo shack and the giant flip-flop. Each of these makes a fantastic insta-worthy backdrop to your camera roll!


Best time to visit Surfyy Beach

The best time to visit Surfyy Beach depends on what experience you’re looking for. If you want to visit when the summer parties are taking place with busy crowds, then July and August would be your best bet.

If you would prefer to visit when it is slightly cooler, with fewer people, then either April or October would be better options for you.


A redbull car and a small wooden bar used as a photobooth
The red-bull car and “Wavve” photo booth

Where to stay in the area

Usually, as a solo traveller, I opt to stay in hostels as I love to meet other travellers. Unlike, other parts of Korea where I’ve stayed, I noticed during my visit to Surfyy Beach that there are no accommodations you can book in the area through HostelWorld.

If you need to book accommodation, the best option would be to go directly through Booking.com as they have a few different property types to suit everyone. Don’t want to scroll through lots of different options? Let me narrow down a few for you.

  • Zio Pinetree – A self-catering hotel with private rooms and cooking facilities. This is one of the closest properties to the Surfyy Beach location. They even offer free breakfast!
  • Surfing Stay – This beachfront hotel is a little further away on foot but with a car, it’s only a 10-minute drive from Surfyy Beach. It has fewer cooking facilities in the rooms but it has a great view and free parking.

Final Thoughts on Surfyy Beach in Korea

Surfyy Beach is becoming more popular amongst foreign tourists and locals and they have a lot to offer those who visit. They have exciting beach parties during the summer months and are a fantastic place to experience sun, sea and surf.

Hopefully, we see you there this year!

Need help planning your trip?

Check out how to plan a trip abroad & see my travel resources for more.

WayAway – Great for booking flights. They even have a cashback feature for those who fly frequently.
Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.

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