Surfers are known as a carefree bunch, but South Korea’s surf community seems to be taking the attitude to the next level – which could be a good thing. Despite their northern neighbor’s threatening activity (like the detainment of western journalists and potential declaration of war, just to name a few), South Koreans move along in their daily lives. And that includes paddling out every chance they get, despite chaos proffered by communist dictators.
Mi Hee Seo, age 42, founded the Sang Jeong Surfing Club 15 years ago in Busan, the second largest city in Korea located on the Southeast coast of the peninsula. Since the club’s inception inception, SJSC has become the focal point of the community – bringing together ocean-goers from all walks of life. From Korean university students to Western tourists, this is where they all gather to either suit up or wait it out until the next typhoon’s swell.
Surfing in Korea in itself may seem a novelty. Even more astonishing are the residents’ viewpoints in the Korean beach town of Busan.
When queried about North Korea’s recent threat of volatility, Leong Beach local, Lee Ji Hun, admits “I don’t think about that country,” and those living closer to the danger up in Seoul also feel “the same.”
The unwavering pursuit of the art of podotagi (Korean: surfing) by many in Busan seems representative of most South Koreans. They remain strong in the face of rumblings along the border, and although the outlook may be unclear, that uncertainty never prevents anyone here from looking forward to the next day, or the next wave.