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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Whale Boat Races are a Go!

A week or two ago, T-Hope Korea was told that the annual Whale Boat Race (held in conjunction with the Whale Festival) would no longer have an amateur, foreigner friendly event. There was not much reason given beyond some apparent complaints of drunken dancing long after the event was over. This was quite a blow, as the race is not only an excellent community gathering for expats in Ulsan, but also a key fundraiser for the volunteer organization.

However, after concerned people got involved, and a reporter from Busan asked the City Assembly some uncomfortable questions, the decision was overturned and the Whale Boat Race is back on. Of course, it’s now a scramble to get it organized in time, as the event will take place in 3 weeks, on April 26th. Proceeds from this year’s event will go to the Ulsan Orphanage, and the Lotus Children’s group, who work with Autistic children.

whale boat 1

For those new to town, the Whale Boat Race is a paddling race between teams of participants. Technically, the boats are “dragon boats”, but as it’s part of the Ulsan Whale Festival, it has a festival-friendly name. Teams of 16 people (at least 6 female participants per team), including drummer and steersperson, compete in heats, the winners of which go on to the semi- and final races. There are usually a few weekend practice times available, so that your team can become familiar with how to paddle in unison, and most importantly, how to steer a long, thin boat from a slippery platform at the back.

All teams are guarantee 2 races and if you make it to the final race, it will be a total of 4.

The first race will start at 9:00am and finish by 1:30pm. As the afternoon will hold the trained Korean teams races, the morning races are prompt, so don’t expect the usual Ulsan-time delay of 20-30 minutes.

If you’re interested in putting together a team of co-workers or friends, or would like to help with the organization or running the event day-of, please contact T-Hope through the link above.

This all takes place at the Taehwa River Park (pinned on the Interactive Map under “Recreation”), between the Taehwa and Byeongyeong Bridges. The meeting place/docks are right by the Taehwa Bridge. There will be a beer garden, and hotdogs for sale during the day, also part of the fundraiser for the above-mentioned causes.

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