Palm tree shade and hammock ‘exotic’ atmosphere
There is a beach for surfers in Junggwangjeong-ri, Hyeonbuk-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do. It is dotted with palm trees and hammocks, giving it an exotic atmosphere. The beer pub on the beach plays music all day long. Sitting on the white sand and enjoying the view of the beach, you’ll feel like you’re in a Southeast Asian destination. This is Surfy Beach, Korea’s first ‘surf-only beach’.

Built on a beach inside a military reserve behind a barbed wire fence, it has become a place that excites young people thanks to a ‘local creator’. A local creator is a person who creates economic value by combining innovative ideas with local cultural characteristics and resources. “I wanted to create a beach like Boracay in Yangyang,” said Park Jun-kyu, 45, when we met here on the 13th of last month. “Travellers have gained a lot of experience by visiting great beaches in other countries, but I was disappointed that the east coast was still full of parasols and tubes. I wanted to show them that it can be better than any foreign ocean.”

After graduating from university, Park worked at an advertising agency in Seoul, but after two years in the business, he started his own company that failed. He then worked for a subsidiary of a credit card company before moving to Busan in 2011 to work on a project called “Smart Beach” in Haeundae. The idea was to unify payments on the beach, such as parasol and tube rentals, with credit cards and obtain advertising promotion rights.

Park Jun-gyu (45) at Surf Beach in Junggwangjeong-ri, Hyeonbuk-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do, on the 13th. Reporter Park Jin-ho

A beach party at night at Surf Beach in Junggwangjeong-ri, Hyeonbuk-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do. [Photo by Surf Beach]
‘Surfing lessons and beach yoga’ attract tourists
At the time, Park said, the area around the beach looked like a giant block, and he thought he could provide better services by combining the beach, restaurants, clubs, and hotels. When Park visited Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung that year, he saw the east coast beaches compared to Haeundae, which was full of 20- and 30-somethings enjoying great concerts, beer, and tanning, and knew he had to do business here.

Park came up with the basic concept of ‘Boracay in Yangyang’. She set out to create an exotic beach that would appeal to young people who love travelling. He started writing a business plan in 2013 and opened Surf Beach in July 2015. They received permission to use the beach (300 metres) from Yangyang County.

In the first year, the number of tourists was only 10,000, but it began to increase as they operated various beach attractions such as surfing lessons and beach yoga. In particular, interest among young people exploded when they held the ‘Corona Sunset Festival’ at night from 2016.

Surf Beach in Junggwangjeong-ri, Buk-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do attracts many tourists to learn to surf in the summer. [Photo: Surf Beach]

Surf Beach in Junggwangjeong-ri, Hyeonbuk-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do, on the 13th. Despite the cloudy weather, tourists flocked to learn to surf. By Park Jin-ho
‘8000 people’ still visit on weekends
In 2016, the number of visitors increased to 280,000, and last year, more than 1.9 million tourists visited. Even outside of the peak summer season, 7,000 to 8,000 people visit every weekend. The number of employees has also increased, reaching 100 in the summer, including 23 full-time employees.

“To become a popular destination, both daytime and nighttime content are important,” says Park. “The opening of the Seoul-Yangyang Expressway in 2017 created an atmosphere of surfing and partying in Yangyang in the summer, centred on the capital city,” Park said먹튀검증.

The success of Surf Beach has also led to changes in restaurants and accommodation around the beach. Businesses that used to receive customers for only 45 days a year during the peak summer season began to invest in their facilities as the number of visitors increased to more than 200. If you look around the area around Surf Beach, you’ll see accommodation and shops that have been cleanly renovated to cater to a younger audience, and new buildings are going up everywhere.

Night view of Surf Beach in Junggwangjeong-ri, Buk-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do. [Photo by Surfy Beach]

Surf Beach in Junggwangjeong-ri, Buk-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do, on the 13th. Despite the cloudy weather, many tourists visited the beach and enjoyed a relaxing time. By Park Jin-ho
Surge in surf shops from ‘3’ to ’84’
Park said, “To solve the depopulation, we need young people to come to the area and make a living, but since there are no jobs, they are forced to start a business. However, if they start a business and it doesn’t work out, it takes 10 years to pay off even if they only incurred 100 to 200 million won in debt.” “We need time and space to understand the local community and educate them on the startup formula,” he advised.

“If the education is good, local creators will not go out of business and will last long, and if there are more places like us that last long, there will be a virtuous cycle of other founders,” he said.

With this growing interest in surfing and beach parties, the number of surf shops in Yangyang County has increased significantly in recent years. According to Yangyang County, the number of surf shops has increased from just three in 2013 to 84 as of January. Jukdo Beach, with 16 surf shops, and Population Beach, with 15, are the most popular. These beaches also have a variety of restaurants and coffee shops to match the exotic atmosphere.

A new accommodation facility near Surf Beach in Junggwangjeong-ri, Buk-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do. Reporter Park Jin-ho

A nighttime beach party at Surf Beach in Junggwangjeong-ri, Buk-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do. [Photo Surf Beach]
Yangyang County ‘population growth’ starts in 2018
With the active support of Yangyang County, the surfing population has been increasing every year. From 182,500 in 2019 to 228,000 in 2020, 362,250 in 2021, and 471,500 last year. The economic impact is also worth 665 billion won.

The population of Yangyang County, which was on the verge of depopulation, is also increasing as young people migrate due to the popularity of surfing and the opening of highways. The population of Yangyang-gun, which was 27,207 at the end of 2017, increased by 2.4 per cent (659) to 27,866 at the end of last year.

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