You Can Surf in Korea's Second Biggest City
You just have to know where to look!
The waves in Busan are probably not going to be on any surf magazine covers. Ever. But it is possible to surf in Busan if you are patient, vigilant, and most of all, lucky.
Busan is located on the East coast of South Korea, about 2.5 hours by train from Seoul. The city has three main sandy beaches (North to South): Songjeong, Haeundae, and Gwangalli. All three are beachbreaks but do have different setups.
Getting there: You can take the 100, 139, or the 142 bus from Haeundae station or take a taxi. The bus will let you out about 200m to the beach. The main breaks are in front of the two story surf shop. If you have a car, there is paid parking during the summer all along the beach.
The Surf: It's a sandbottom beach break that mostly closes out. Of the three spots in Busan, it is by far the most consistent. It is also the only place in Busan that has a "surfing area" during the summer. There is a surf shop across the street that rents boards and wetsuits and provides lessons.
Getting there: There is a subway station about 500m from the beach. Walk down the main street to the beach and then look to your left. The surf break is in front of the Paradise Hotel. There is paid parking behind the hotel.
The surf: Busan's only consistent peak with rights and lefts. A rock and sand bottom, the wave is usually mushy with the occasional inside barrels. This is the most popular place to surf so when it gets above ankle high, expect 20-30 Koreans trying to get some. There is no surf shop here so you must bring your own gear.
Getting there: There are two subway stops. You want to get off at the Geumnyeonsan station (not the Gwangalli station) and walk towards the beach. The waves break all over the beach here, but tend to be a bit better in front of this road.
The surf: With the backdrop of the famous Gwangalli bridge and all the skyscrapers in front of you, it may be the most interesting place to surf in Busan, but it's not the greatest in terms of waves. Gwangalli definitely gets the least amount of swell of the three spots. It also has the mushiest waves. It can produce really fun longboard waves at 1-3 feet, but is extremely fickle, turning on and off within an hour. There is a surfshop on the street behind the beach where you can rent gear.
Warning: Korea's beaches have strict rules about surfing. Surfing is banned during the summer months (July 1st-Aug 31st) except in special "surfing zones". Surfing is also banned during typhoon warnings, unless you go to a police station and register first.