Wave Pool Reviews by You: Wave Park

Pros in wave pools are Instagram and YouTube gold. Your favorite surf brands are happy to foot the bill in exchange for likes and engagement. But it’s a lopsided ecosystem. Search “wave pool” through social platforms and you’ll find a hive of influencers and pros claiming “best pool ever.”

But what about us mortal surfers who have to trade hard-earned currency for a crack at perfect waves. We might feel differently after sinking a day’s wage for some surf time. Doesn’t our opinion count? Sure there is Trip Advisor, but it’s KarenLand – a minefield of complaints about the Cappucino foam being too airy or whatever.

Consider this installment on WavePoolMag a platform for the proletariat, the neighborhood bro and Jane Doe. Each month we will ask a dedicated wave pool surfer to deliver some quick thoughts on an artificial surf spot they’ve visited. It’s not rocket science or a complete guide (a sample of which you can find on our YouTube channel.) but it’s a fun peek into the world’s wave pools from a consumer standpoint.

Much of the turnstile business at Wave Park is the learner set. For intermediate and advanced surfers there are corresponding weave settings that change time depending on the season.

Wave Park – Siheung, South Korea

Korea doesn’t spring to mind as a surfing powerhouse. But the number of surfers is growing fast. Wave Park, part of a massive development, can be found in Siheung, about 30 minutes south of Seoul, home to just shy of 10 million souls. What was once a sleepy city, (by Korean standards) of 93,000, Siheung has now exploded to a population of half a million. What better place to put a pool?

Adam Yanna, originally from South Africa, is teaching PE at an international school in South Korea. He gets to Wave Park with his family whenever he can, about five times so far this year. Plus his kids have a blast surfing there too.

Surfing in South Korea
The area around the wave pool is still being developed, so it’s hard to assess what the surf spot’s final “vibe” classification will be. Adam says it’s bit like an amusement park and that everyone is polite. Photo by Watermelon Surf Photography

How often do you surf Wave Park?

About five times so far this year. I would try to alternate between the wave park and the ocean, but now in winter, the park has closed for a couple of months. Plus it’s a shorter drive to get to Wave Park than going to the east or south coasts, so it’s easier to do a quick trip with the family.

Has surfing in a wave pool improved your game?

Honestly, I can’t say if surfing Wave Park has improved my surfing or not. What is certain is the wave is pretty much the same each time, so if you mess up, it’s on you. No blaming closeouts, or bad sections. You know what’s coming each time. Although one thing worth noting is that because the water is so clear, it takes some getting used to, to eye out the sections.

Can you share what wave settings and boards you’re on?

I’ve been riding a Lost-shaped, Sub Buggy model – a standard high-performance shortboard – and have only surfed the regular setting they run all day. I believe it’s an intermediate setting, which increases in size every 10 minutes, but still has pretty small faces (starts at waist high, ends at about chest, maybe?) I’ve heard they run a bigger wave only one hour a day at the start, but I usually don’t make it in time, unfortunately.

What’s the vibe like at Wave Park?

Everything is pretty chill and everyone is polite. It’s like waiting in a line at an amusement park. If surfing is good for your mental state, and it’s your only option, then it’s worth it at around US$68 a session. Wave Park still has a lot under construction, so it’ll be nice to see the finished product. I miss the nature aspect of the ocean. It just has a different energy, but I don’t know if that can be recreated.

When Wave Park opened up this was the world’s first view of its amazing setup. However, the clip is definitely of pros and not bros so it’s hard to see what’s it like for average surfers.

PRICES (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)

Lessons from the Surfing Academy for beginner level and up include all the surfing gear like soft surfboard and wetsuit, while our free surfing sessions and advanced lessons do not include such gear.

Surf board: 16,000 KRW ($14.00)        
Wetsuit: 8,000 KRW ($7.00)
Hard board: 40,000 KRW ($36.00)

HOURS AUTUMN/EARLY WINTER (Currently closed until Spring)
9:30-17:00 Sunday-Thursday
12:30-21:00 Fridays
9:30-20:00 Saturdays

QUICK TAKEAWAYS (Full review by WavePoolMag here)
-Easy to get to from the airport ($30 taxi ride)

-Book early as expert sessions have limited times

-Hotel options in Siheung range from modest to five-star luxury

-All transactions within the park are done through an RFID bracelet loaded with “Surf Coins” which you can do online or at the park

-Hours labeled “Surfing Academy” include lessons. “Free Surfing” hours don’t include lessons or guides.

-The grand, overall Turtle Island complex is still under construction, but there are lots of food options both in the park and next door along the beach.

-Spend some time taking in nearby attractions like Jeju Island and its waterfalls

Have insight to your local wave pool? Email us at [email protected]