The weather at the moment is extremely pleasant in Seoul. Long, warm sunny days. It is a great opportunity to take advantage of the parks the city has to offer so yesterday I decided to go to one of my favourite spots on the river Han: Ttukseom Resort.
Here there are may facilities for outdoor activities: bicycle rental, outdoor climbing wall, skate park, swimming pool, windsurfing and Kiteboarding.
Yesterday it was a nice windy day and there were a few kiteboarders (and windsurfers) in the water. The logistics seemed a bit tricky and the wind can be gusty due to the buildings but there is a Kiteboarding school that provides support and facilities. This is certainly a very unique place to kite.
The kiteboarding school is called HiWind Korea and it is a windsurfing and kiteboarding centre providing lessons and support.
The spot where people Kite-board in Seoul is close to Ttukseom Resort subway station (line 7). Take Exit 2; once outside and facing the river walk left along the banks, the kiteboarding and windsurfing spot is a few hundred meters along this bank.
I visited the centre and asked a few questions.
HiWind operate a yearly membership subscription.
Included in the yearly subscription fee they provide: training (3-4 days kiteboarding training. So if you are a total beginner you can get up and ride and get all the equipment to do so), showers, storage, boat rescue, launch, compressor for inflating your kite, rinsing facilities, showers and changing area. The facilities looked quite well organised.
When the wind is not good enough for kiteboarding as part of the membership you have the option to use all their other watersport facilities at no extra cost (windsurfing, Stand Up Paddle boards and even wake boarding: you just pay a small fee 10,000 won for the first wake boarding session of 10 minutes).
The membership feel is 1,600,000 won for the entire year and they are open every day from about 10 am until 9 pm (if there is wind they may stay open later too). For couples/family they offer a deal whereas the second person gets the fee at 50% of the price.
This is a good deal if you have never tried kiteboarding as it includes tuition plus all the facilities for the whole year (though of course you do need to speak Korean as the lessons will be in Korean).
Unfortunately they only provide the membership on a yearly basis. They do not offer monthly membership or fees for pay as you go/one-off usage. It’s a real shame as a more flexible plan that does not include tuition would suit us better.
The club also organises weekend trips to the coast which are also open to non-members. For the kiting trips they normally go to a location on the coast called Gangneung (on the East coast about 2-3 hours from Seoul). These trips are organised when the wind forecast looks good in that location (decent wind blowing in a south/south west direction); they check the forecast on windguru.
The trips are normally advertised 2-3 days ahead on their website blog and include transport, food, 1 night accommodation and support on the beach. The cost is split between people so I was told they they are quite competitive.
This is something that we will keep an eye on as we would like to do some kiting trips to the coast.
In winter the club also organises kiting holidays to nearby Vietnam.
Here is a list of links and resources for information on kiteboarding in Seoul and South Korea:
- Kiteboarding club in Seoul (HiWind): http://www.hiwind.co.kr/
- HiWind Kiteboarding on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Koreakite
- Kiteboard Korea Meetup english speaking group: http://www.meetup.com/Kiteboard-Korea/
- English website with useful information on sites and kiteboarding in South Korea (if you click in the locations on the map you can get information about each site): http://kiteboardkorea.com/
Not all of them are active but they are still a useful source of information.
Are there any other english-speaking kiteboarders who kite regularly here in Seoul or around South Korea?
If you do get in touch!