The Busan Mayor’s International Surfing competition at Haeundae Beach is entering its 5th year and it promises to be the largest yet, with upwards of 300 competitors in divisions ranging from grom (junior) to the elite class of sponsored riders.
This year’s competition will also be featuring an International Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) race. This is the first time that SUP has been featured in an International surfing competition in Korea. Previously SUP riders had to compete with other surfers in the longboard division, but this spring the Korean Surfing Association (KSA( partnered with X-Game Korea/Kai Surf to start the first SUP academy in Gwanalli which has increased the number of SUP riders and made the sport more accessible.
According to Dylan Kim, X-Game Korea/Kai Surf owner, SUP is the perfect sport for Korea which experiences lulls in swells.
SUP is a great sport that anyone can do and it’s especially good for tourism as it allows people to go places that they otherwise can’t. Who wouldn’t want to ride a SUP to Gwanalli bridge and have their photo taken by the bridge?’
Australia’s Guy Bartlett to Compete and Give Surfing Clinics
Another major addition to the Busan Mayor’s Competition is the arrival of a pro rider who will be surfing in the men’s international division. This year the bar has been raised with the announcement of Ocean and Earth pro rider Guy Bartlett entering the competition.
While the surfing community in Busan was just getting its feet wet in the 90s, Bartlett was doing the same.
My dad would take us out and push us into waves, he said of his earliest experiences with the sport. Growing up on the South Coast of New South Wales provided him with some of the best surfing in the world as a beginner. Today Bartlett is an up and coming rider on the international circuit, winning his first competition last year in China.
But it’s not all about competition for Bartlett. When asked about his ideal surfing experience, he said, My local break on the South Coast of [Australia] & Indonesia…just two of my mates with pumping waves and no one else out.
A certain image of surfing and surfers has taken hold in the collective imagination – the fashion, laid back attitude and, of course, the slang. Movies like Point Break and The Endless Summer helped expose more of the world to an activity that has been part of Polynesian culture for hundreds of years. Bartlett thinks this image comes partly from the unpredictability of the sport. [No two waves are] the same so you have to respond to the conditions…live in the moment and get creative on the wave.
When asked about his upcoming visit to Korea Guy Bartlett said I cannot wait to come to South Korea to check out the beaches and the waves. I’m super stoked to experience the grassroots surfing culture and meet the locals. Who knows one of these grommets could be a future world champ one day!
The Mayor’s Cup will take place on Haeundae beach June 28th-30th. Admission is free.