One surfer’s meteoric assent via TV coaching and wave pools

Does your surfing get bigger, better, faster in a wave pool? Edward Pong is a newbie who documented his rise from kook to capable with the help of several wave pool sessions and video instruction from Martin Dunn.

So impressed with his progression via wave pool repetition, Ed made a YouTube clip chronicling his improvement. The video shows how the surfer learned to use his weight to engage his rails, position his body going into turns as well as other techniques during the course of a year.

While everyone who puts in the effort eventually improves their surfing, in Mr. Pong’s case it’s remarkable due to the short amount of time, and just the few sessions, it took for him to improve.

Nikki van Dijk by Urbnsurf/Ed Sloane
Pros like Nikki van Dijk have separately used wave pools and Martin Dunn coaching to up their game. But the two together are a lethal combo in performance. Image by Urbnsurf/Ed Sloane

“BSR surf resort has helped improve my surfing,” Edward told us. “The amount of repetition in the pool cannot be duplicated in the ocean. BSR is like a ‘driving range’ for surfing.”

To advance he tapped into the expertise of veteran surf coach Martin Dunn. For 35 years Martin has coached everyone from beginners like Edward to World Tour competitors like Nikki van Dijk and Julian Wilson.

Martin drilled down Edward’s technical needs into two custom training videos. The first one, created in September of 2018, addresses general improvement needs while the second produced a year later gets more specific.

“In this video [as Edward’s performance was at a low level] I wanted to provide direction on a top-to-bottom surfing approach without giving him too much instruction,” said Martin. “I just wanted him to think about and learn the important skill of using the entire wave face as he surfs down the line.”

September 2018 Martin Dunn Coaching Clip

In the custom coaching clip almost a year later, Martin fine-tunes on specifics like where Edward should direct his weight and energy.

“From the footage he sent, Edward was using the entire wave face more correctly,” added Martin. “So in this video, I wanted to introduce more specific instructions on how to perform different maneuvers technically correct. These skills are what he is working on right now.”

August 2019 Martin Dunn Coaching Clip

Martin added that he has to assess where the surfer is in their learning journey. In Edward’s case, the change in one year was dramatic from a coaching standpoint.

“My job as a surf coach and particularly in this case as an online surf coach, is to decide what level the surfer is right now, and what should be the next developmental step they should take,” said Martin. “It shouldn’t be too easy, or too hard, but something that challenges the motivated surfer moving forward.”

Clip made by Edward Pong documenting his improvement

Main story image by artist David Hall