(Photo by ChiHon Kim)

At the beach or on tv, surfers make riding waves seem easy and intimidating. Hitting the open water may deter some from trying the fun sport, but it doesn’t have to. 

Wave Park (웨이브파크) is a huge open-air wave pool offering artificial waves for surfers of all levels. You can try your hand in this safe environment, which is only about 1-hour-20-minute drive from Camp Humphreys.

Though the wave pool at Wave Park is the world’s largest, this fun spot has plenty of other activities fit for a full day for the entire family. Check out live music on their concert stage, relax in the sunbathing area, frolic in the water playground with the kids, or try your hand at scuba diving in a special pool for deep dives. And, if you’re hungry, there are plenty of restaurants to grab a bite!

As someone who is still getting over the fear of the ocean from when I was a child, surfing in an enclosed area with lifeguards is ideal. So, I made my way to this enormous park on Turtle Island in Siheung near Incheon for a relaxed surfing lesson.

A currency-free experience

Though you can enjoy surfing free time at the pool, if you’re planning to get a lesson like I did, then make sure to book in advance!

While you’re booking a session, I recommend signing up for Surf Coins, a wristband that works as a contactless credit card. The wristband allows you to pay for drinks, food, and rental store with an easy “tap.” Keep your cash dry and your wallet safe with this convenient feature!

Wave Zone: Mio Costa

Wave Park is divided into four sections: Surf Zone, Caravan Zone, Diving Zone, and Mio Costa Zone. Mio Costa features Turtle Pool, Kids Pool, Island Spa, Recreational pool, and more. The section offers various amusement facilities that allow you to spend time with your children splashing in the water. The Blue Hole Lagoon in the Diving Zone is a five-meter-deep diving pool inspired by blue hole. Bring your scuba diving certification if you plan to explore the vertical water tank where you can pose cool photos. Island Spa near the Blue Hole Lagoon is a great place to relax in a jacuzzi.

Catching a wave at Surf Zone

The Surf Zone which accommodates a maximum of 100 surfers per hour is the highlight of the water park. Bay Cove on the right side of the entrance is for beginner surfers and Reef Cove on the left is for advanced surfers. Switching pools is not allowed mid-session, so you’ll be required to choose where to surf between the two coves.

The Wave Park uses state-of-the-art machinery to generate artificial waves at different heights and levels of strength. For the beginner level, which features knee-thigh high waves, a one-hour session will cost you 65,000 won (board and wetsuit are not included). You can bring your surfboard and wetsuit if you want.

The waves for intermediate and advanced surfers are a bit higher with runs lasting about 10 to 15 seconds. The cost of the waves for them goes up to 80,000 won for an hour session, which can also be booked in advance. Though it may seem costly, this experience guarantees perfect waves, something trying to surf on the beach doesn’t.

For my surfing experience, I chose a two-hour basic lesson with rental board and wetsuit for 100,000 won (about $77.66). First, I had to sit through a safety briefing, including a three-minute training video. I signed the waiver, then I was off to the pool to hone my surf skills.

If, like me, you’re struggling to improve your surfing skills or are afraid of the ocean, you’ll definitely have an enjoyable and safe experience at Wave Park. I felt at ease as I entered the pool area where the water was only waist deep.

The skillful instructor who was in charge of my surf lesson helped me improve my take-off and paddling techniques while I quickly abandoned my fear of the ocean for the entirety of the lesson. After the lesson, I was exhausted, but I wanted to keep practicing, so I purchased more pool time to keep riding the waves. I recommend that you book a free time surfing slot as well if you book your lesson. At the end, I left comfortable maneuvering my board through the artificial waves. I enjoyed my time at Wave Park and hope to return to try more surfing and other activities with family and friends.

(Photo by ChiHon Kim)

(Photo by ChiHon Kim)

(Photo by ChiHon Kim)

(Photo by ChiHon Kim)

ADDRESS 경기 시흥시 거북섬둘레길 42 (KOR), 42, Geobukseomdulle-gil, Siheung-si (ENG), NAVER MAP

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weekdays), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (weekend)

Round Trip Shuttle Bus: Depart from Seoul (Sadang staion) 8 a.m. → Wave Park (Siheung), Depart from Wave Park 4 p.m. → Seoul


The best stories from the Pacific, in your inbox

Sign up for our weekly newsletter of articles from Japan, Korea, Guam, and Okinawa with travel tips, restaurant reviews, recipes, community and event news, and more.

Sign Up Now