POV: A guide to Wave Park with Julie & Emily Nishimoto

At WavePoolMag we like to give readers as much information as possible about the world’s surf tubs. You can find that in our Surf Planner guide, a map detailing the world’s upcoming wave pools, and in our Tech Guide. Sisters Emily and Julie Nishimoto recently made the jaunt from Hawaii to Wave Park South Korea. In a video clip, the siblings present the trip from the hotel to pool and points in between while documenting many, many surf sessions. It’s a great inside look at what visitors can expect. The video is in Japanese, so if you don’t speak the language or can’t figure out how to make YouTube translate work, we spoke with Emily and Julie to get the details on the Wave Park experience.

What did we learn in a nutshell? Wave park is close to the airport. All the signs are in Korean and GoogleMaps can be temperamental; the rights might be a little hollower than the lefts; the staff is super friendly and helpful and the 5th and 6th waves of the set tend to be a bit bigger.

Emily Nishimoto at Wave Park South Korea
Emily Nishimoto at Wave Park South Korea. Photo Watermelon Surf Photography

Where do you call home?
We are both born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Our parents are from Japan so we travel back and forth and surf a lot in Hawaii and Japan. 

How was it traveling to South Korea?
Due to the pandemic situation, it made traveling a bit harder but we flew straight from Hawaii to Incheon airport so it was not bad at all! The people in Korea were very nice! They helped us during our travel so it was pretty easy for us to get to the wave park. Also, the wave park was really close to the airport like 30 minutes drive which was really nice. The thing we struggled with most was the signs on the toll highways. They were all in Korean and the roads, in general, were a bit confusing for us to navigate. Even if we used google maps sometimes there were multiple exits and signs we couldn’t read so we took wrong turns a number of times. Other than driving on the highway everything else was really easy, like normal traveling. 

POV water view at Wave Park
The Wave Park surf is fun, even in the rain. Image Emily Nishimoto

What sessions did you surf at Wave Park – barrel, advanced, etc?
We only surfed the Cove advanced level waves T1 (Turns Wave Level 1) and M4 (Malibu Level 4) both lefts and rights. We feel the rights may have been a little hollower than the left waves. And the 5th and 6th waves that come through in the sets were the biggest and the best, so when we got them we were stoked. 

What is the best thing about Wave Park?
There were so many waves in 1 session, about 180 waves! It really was worth it because of the number of waves we could catch in the hour, I think we both caught like 25-30 waves every session. We also really loved their system and utilities like the locker rooms, showers, cafe, restaurants and the SUPER friendly staff. They were so chill it was such a fun place!

night surf at Wave Park
POV: Emily and Julie Nishimoto also enjoyed a night session at Wave Park. Image by Emily Nishimoto

What is the worst thing about Wave Park?
There was a session when I was riding a wave and one guy did not understand the rules. He tried to drop in on my wave, mid-wave when I was riding. For safety concerns, we think it would be nice if Wave Park makes a system where all surfers know the rules in surfing and not just the park rules. Also maybe put out rules and regulations on the websites too so they know which level waves they should book and surf. 

Will you go back?
For sure! And if we’re able to get the opportunity, we would love to go back and surf the barrel T6 waves too! They usually don’t give those waves out for normal public sessions.

Nishimoto wave park wading out
Wading out for another surf session in the T1 and M4 settings

Please share with our readers any advice you might have about their trip to Wave Park.
Sometimes we got to surf with only 1 other person out for the whole session! Other times there would be like 20 other people in the session, it all depends on how crowded the wave park is that day. 

There are many accommodations, restaurants, grocery stores and big malls all within 15 minutes in the area. And there’s also a huge parking lot free of charge in the wave park building. So we would say renting a car and Airbnb or a hotel might be the best bet. 

Also if it’s your first time surfing too, we saw they have surfing lessons in the pool for beginners and even if you don’t have a surfboard or wetsuit they have a lot for rental.

Where can we find out more about your adventures?

Youtube channel we just started one last week! Click Here
And our Instagram is here: @emilynishimoto @surfer_julie

(Editor’s note, prices are rounded to the nearest US dollar.)

[Basic] Entry tickets to Wave Park 
15,000KRW Adult  ($14.00)       12,000KRW Child ($11.00)

[Free Surfing] Reef Advanced: Malibu 4 and Turns 1 Cove Setting(1hour)
70,000KRW Adult ($64.00)         67,000KRW Child ($60.00)                            
Board/Suit rental fee not included

[Free Surfing] Reef Intermediate: Malibu 2 and 3 Cove Setting(1hour) 
55,000KRW Adult ($50.00)       52,000KRW  Child ($47.00)
Board/Suit rental fee not included

[Free Surfing] Bay Beginner (1hour) 
45,000KRW Adult   ($40.00)      42,000KRW Child ($38.00)      
Board/Suit rental fee not included

[Surfing Academy] Beginner (Lv.1) 
75,000KRW Adult ($68.00)        72,000KRW Child ($65.00)
Board/Suit rental fee included

[Surfing Academy] Beginner (Lv.2)
75,000KRW Adult ($68.00)       72,000KRW Child ($65.00)      
Board/Suit rental fee included

[Surfing Academy] Level up
75,000KRW Adult ($68.00)       72,000KRW Child ($65.00) Board/Suit rental fee not included

[Surfing Academy] Advanced: Malibu 4 and Turns 1 Cove Setting
125,000KRW Adult ($112.00)     123,000KRW   Child ($110.00)