A US surfer who recently visited North Korea has described it as "the New Zealand of Asia".

Fortunately, he's describing the landscapes of the authoritarian country, rather than its politics.

Forty-year-old Orange Country surf instructor Lamberto Lo travelled to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on a government-sponsored trip to teach locals how to surf.

During his trip, Lo visited pristine waters in places of the country rarely seen by foreigners - closely escorted by government officials, of course.


"New Zealand of Asia - it was so lush, so green, the waters are pristine," Lo told ABC7. "You know, a lot of it is untouched."

Lo teaches surfing in China and has previously coached celebrities like Steve Jobs and Bill Murray. The champion Italian surfer Nicola Zanella also accompanied him on his journey.

He said he was "overjoyed" to share surfing with the people of North Korea.

"The water kind of cleansed off a lot of judgements I may have had before," Lo said.

Prior to his trip, he told the BBC he hoped to build a "solid local surf culture" in the country.

However, North Korean expert Jean Lee said it was a potentially dangerous mission.

"The country does have some beautiful, white sandy beaches along its east coast but I can't think of a place that is more antithetical to surfing's 'hang loose' culture."