This September, Uri Tours will hold the first-ever surf camp in North Korea, an eight-day expedition that promises the best waves in the area, with not a soul to share them. "No one there surfs," says Uri Tours founder Andrea Lee, a Korean-American, who has been leading tours to North Korea for more than 10 years. "This is completely new territory for the country."
Lee is not a surfer, but had seen enough waves on North Korea's pristine beaches that when Chinese National Surf Team coach Nik Zanella approached her last year about surfing there, she thought it was possible.
Uri Tours has the green light from the North Korean Government, as well as Air Koryo, the country's only airline, to establish a surf culture on its virgin beaches. In preparation for the inaugural surf camp, Zanella and his team have been tracking satellite images of the eastern coast, and identified a fair amount of swell from a 90-degree easterly window. "I don't expect to find consistently perfect surf — this is not the next Hawaii," says Zanella. "But the potential is there for good quality, empty waves, activating on easterly swell and interesting spots that no one has surfed before."
The trip is open to anyone, regardless of surfing experience. When not chasing waves, participants will visit sites that very few Westerners have seen, including the Grand Monuments and Juche Tower, both in the capital city of Pyongyang. There will also be a trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) — the buffer between the north and south, not to mention drives through the remote countryside to scout the best surfing spots on the coast.
"This is the epochal opening of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the art of wave riding," says Lee. "We're making history with this trip."
More information: Camp runs from September 13–20, 2015; $2,400 double, $3,200 single; uritours.com