Rooftop party hosted by Busan Aussie Club and Surf on the Sunset.
Paddle boarding with Sunset on the Beach
The weather was made for a day at the beach. In my Uber (which apparently is not permitted for locals to download), I was pleasantly surprised to see a structure very similar to the Anzac Bridge of Sydney, Australia’s inner-west area. Gwangan Bridge had its construction finished in 2002.
I arrived at Gwangalli Beach, one of Busan’s most famous, sunny hang-out spots. Seeing the number of hospitality venues around this area in Suyeong-gu and feeling its relaxed vibe, I can understand its popularity. Compared to Haeundae Beach to the east, Gwangalli felt more local and charming.
Step onto the fine sand of the beach and you will notice various tents with different names. These belong to different paddle-boarding companies. I joined the tent called “Surf on the Sunset” with its distinctive octopus logo.
Did you know that paddle boarding has its roots in Hawaii? The sport, shorted to SUP (stand up paddle), has grown competitively and also has a big influence on Gwangalli Beach. Recognising that the peaceful waves would be ideal for the sport, a SUP zone was established by local government in 2020.
A few observations. The boards used are bigger than they seem in photo. Prepare to use some effort in carrying them out into the water. While you are paddle-boarding, you should also expect to use regular upper body strength as you climb back onto the board again and again after inevitably falling into the water. This is presuming that you are a beginner and not a water-type Pokemon-human.
A fun social meetup by Busan Aussie Club
Memorably when you’re in the water, you’ll look up to see Gwangan Bridge in front of you along with a horizon of glimmering buildings.
Part of what I appreciate about Busan Aussie Club is that it puts effort into developing connections in different contexts. It could be during a language exchange in a cafe, or in this case, fun water competitions.
There was a desire to win undoubtedly, but as much as everyone was competitive, people laughed and had fun. Little teams were organised to play games. One game involved working with your team-mates to keep the board stable while your nominated “champion” would try to push the other “champion” from the other team off their board.
Friendly, competitive games are a great way to have strangers from different countries bonding. Games for individuals were played too, with a memorable one being the “planks run”. This involved everyone lining up their boards horizontally and with the boards held “stable” in the water, each person would run and jump their way from the first board until the last board.
Busan Aussie Club, after a few hours at Gwangalli Beach, then had a bit of time to shower and clean-up at Surf on the Sunset’s venue just around the corner. Stomachs rumbling, we were keen for dinner.
Grilled by lovely BBQ facilities, steaks, pork cutlets, sausages and mushrooms were served. With the drinks flowing and music moving the groove, the party was underway. Busan Aussie Club’s attendees were from Denmark, China, United States, Vietnam, Australia, England and South Korea. It was lovely seeing the bonding grow from water to land. While the main floor of Surf on the Sunset is great and wonderful to host an event, the rooftop is even better. It’s picturesque, with ample seating for relaxed conversations.
11pm soon came and the party had to shift. Funny Beer was chosen as our next venue. This vibrant, foreigner-friendly pub signifies its presence with a colourful neon sign which you can see from the street next to Gwangalli Beach. It is open until late (by 3am it was still buzzing) and provides a serene view of Gwangan Bridge.
During a stopover at the beach, my friend and I chatted with the starry night sky as the backdrop. After an anticipatory fizz, a firework blasted off into the sky from a spot nearby. Seeing the brilliantly bright dashes of light burst in the sky was a pretty moment to mark this memorable day.