Hidden Treasure "Wave Park" near Seoul
Updated: Jul 5
Hello everyone! Or as they say here, «Shaka!».
I have always thought of learning how to surf, but for some reason it never worked out because of my constant focus on studying and working. Whenever I think about surfing, the first place that comes up in my mind is Busan, however it's too far and a little inconvenient. Then I discovered that you can learn how to surf somewhere near Seoul, which, in my opinion, is more convenient than travelling all the way to Busan! After years of wishing I could go, the day has finally come where I can experience surfing at non other than Wave Park!
At about 9 am, my friends and I met in Seoul and hopped on car to Wave Park. However if you don't hqve a car you can easily go on the 'Naver' website, there you can find tickets that include a round trip bus directly from Seoul. The trip took a little over an hour, so by around 10 am we were already there.
That is how one of the pools looked like at 10 am when very few people were there.
Right by the pool you can find the entrance to Wave Park. Immediately after entering, due to Covid-19 you will find yourself checking your temperature. After that you can find the ticket booth where you can purchase your tickets. Next to that area, you will find the timetable, prices of tickets for adults and children, and the rules of the park.
At the entrance, they checked our bags for food. Even if you have brought food or drinks with you, you can leave them in the storage room at the entrance. There, we received a bracelet and a special waterproof mask. There were boxes for storing shoes right next to the entrance. As you cannot go inside with your everyday shoes, we left all our shoes in the storage box. Then we went to get the surf suits. Having received our swimming suit, we went to the dressing room. Further, you can easily find your own locker just by looking at your bracelet, with that I easily found my locker with no problem.
Apparently, the suit is very hard to put on, but I managed to do it. However if you are having a hard time putting it on you can always have a staff member to help you with your suit. After we changed into our swimming suits, and before going outside to the park itself, we were shown a cute little video on the safety rules at the park and sign documents stating that we understood and agreed to the rules. This process takes less than 5 minutes and is led by a staff member.
Finally, we are in the park! At 11:30 am in the training and rest area, the instructor gathered all those who purchased a ticket with a lesson. We were split into several teams, each team about 7-10 people. Also, they divided us into 1st and 2nd levels. Since I was surfing for the first time, of course, I chose the very first level.
First, we did the usual stretching exercise with the instructor, then he simply explained to us the surfing base, how it works and what needs to be done in order to stay on the board. On land, everything was much easier than it turned out later in the water,which was more than expected. We repeated the basic exercises a couple more times, each of us was checked by the instructor and given comments if something was wrong. Then we all went to the pool. The boards looked very heavy, but I was able to carry the board to the pool. To not lose the board while swimming, we attached a surfboard leash to our leg which was connected to the board. And finally, together with the coach, we went into the water somewhere in the middle of the pool.
There is a specific time when waves are launched in the pool, so we lined up one by one in the middle of the pool and waited for the waves. The instructor, which i was so thankful for, spent the whole hour of our lesson right by our side ready to help us whenever we needed, as well as helping everyone get on the board and take us through the steps one by one. It took me a while to get on the board as it turned out to be much harder. For the first time, I even forgot about all the basic movements that the instructor told us about on land, as I was at a loss. But later, I still managed to get on the board! Just a little practice indeed is enough to master any sport. And when you finally get on the board, you want to try again and again until you catch a big wave and manage to stand on the board for more than 5 seconds. The lesson lasted about an hour. I had to return to the middle of the pool every time i finished my turn. That was not an easy task. Halfway through the lesson, I was exhausted. I think I’ve lost 10 kilograms while walking from the beginning of the pool, as the wave swirled me away from the instructor. But when you manage to stay on the board, you regain your energy from the excitement. So we spent more than an hour in the pool, and later went to rest and have lunch, because after spending all that time in the water, you always want to eat right after.
Going to Wave Park was one the most memorable experience I have ever had in my 5 years of being in Korea, because of this we had all promised ourselves to come back for more.