The small county of Yangyang in Gangwon Province, a 2 1/2-hour drive from Seoul, has morphed into a bustling surf town in recent years, as the hub of Korea’s surfing culture.
Surf shops, restaurants and cafes for surfers line Yangyang’s streets. On the weekends, the beaches are packed with surfers in wetsuits looking far out into the horizon with their surf boards, waiting for the right wave.
The local surfing culture is thought to have emerged in the 1990s and today there are around 200,000 surfers.
Yangyang rose to fame with Surfyy Beach, a surfers-only beach which opened in 2015. Surfing, however, is not limited to Surfyy Beach. Surf shops line up on beaches along the east coast, reflecting the popularity of the water leisure sport.
Yangyang, of course, offers more than just surfing. Diverse water activities to cool off the summer heat are on the menu, from swimming, scuba-diving and wind surfing to kite boarding.
Beaches in Yangyang opened for the summer season earlier this month. As the coronaviurs pandemic is yet to be contained, beachgoers are expected to comply with strict social distancing rules. A two-meter distance between parasols and tents has to be maintained, the use of shower booths can be restricted and beachgoers must wear masks at all times.
Written by Im Eun-byel
Photographed by Park Hyun-koo