10 May 2024 – Yangon, Myanmar: The first ever ISA (International Surfing Association) Surf
Level 1 Instructor and Aquatic Rescue Courses to be held in Myanmar were completed on the
8th of May after an intensive 8 days of theory, training, and practice at the Ngwe Saung Yacht
Club & Resort on the west coast of Myanmar, where 12 students will now be receiving their
official certification as ISA Level 1 Surf Instructors.

Surf Coach Training/ Photo By Tim Hain

The 8-day program was created and funded by the Surf Association of Myanmar to provide the
highest level of training available to the surf school instructors at the Ngwe Saung Yacht Club &
Resort, who are also members of SAM and of the local Bugwe Surf Club based at the Resort.
As the most easily accessible surfing destination to the capital city of Yangon, the Ngwe Saung
Yacht Club & Resort also houses the only surf school in all of Myanmar, thus it’s critical
importance to the growth and development of surfing in the country.

As in many developing nations in the world that have a coastline and surfable waves, most of
the inhabitants know nothing about surfing or swimming, even though many are fisherman and
are out in the ocean each day. Drownings regularly occur for a variety of reasons, and in the
absence of trained lifeguards, it is the surfers who become the lifesavers.

Lifeguard Training/ Photo By Tim Hain

Though this program was specifically directed towards training and certifying the surf school
instructors, the Resort’s lifeguards as well as the Bugwe Surf Club and SAM members were also
able to observe and participate in varying capacities during the 8 days in order to widen the
impact of the training, spread the knowledge, and prepare them for future ISA certification. A
total of 27 people, 5 female and 22 male, were able to enrich their experience throughout the
program.

One of the volunteers is having fun/ Photo By Tim Hain

ISA Presenter Jonni Morrison-Deaker was delighted with the opportunity to come to Myanmar
to teach surfing and safety to this keen group, saying “There is nothing I like more than teaching
a group of young and attentive surfers, especially ones that are just beginning their surfing
career and like this crew who are really the pioneers of surfing here in Myanmar. I was amazed
at how quickly they understood, and how committed they were to learning, day after day, as I
put them through 8 full and intense days of instruction. I can’t wait to come back in the future
and see what progress they have made….I know they’ll do great,” he exclaimed.
From classroom theory to hour of stretching, swimming and training in the pool, doing run-
swim-runs and board rescues in the ocean, learning CPR and doing evacuations, creating lesson
plans and choosing equipment according to the students and the wave conditions, ensuring a
safe teaching environment, and performing at least 20 hours of practical surf lesson training on
each other and hotel staff and more, it was indeed a full on intensive 8 days.

Jonni Inspiring next Myanmar Surf Coach and Life Guards/ Photo By Tim Hain
Jonni Inspiring next Myanmar Surf Coach and Life Guards/ Photo By Tim Hain

Aung Zaw Lin, whose nickname is Pinky, is one of the more experienced surf instructors, having
traveled and surfed in both Bali and Thailand. When asked how this course impacted him and
the other instructors he replied, “After taking this course, we now understand how to better
teach our students here at the surf school and it really opened up our eyes about the safety and
rescue techniques. We are so much better prepared now to train the students so they are safe,
as well as give them better surfing skills, and then if something does happen in the water to
anyone on this beach, we now know how to properly rescue them. It’s a great feeling to have
this new knowledge!”

Stand up on the surfboard./ Photo By Tim Hain

Thwe Thwe Soi (Nida) acts as the leader and elder sister to the group, having discovered this
area several years ago after finishing her education in the USA and moving back to Myanmar.
“Our surf instructor team here is very young,” she explained. “So we lacked in confidence and
professionalism to do a surf school properly, so that is what this course has done for them in
addition to the learning and practical training. These kids are really intelligent and highly
motivated, and are so passionate about surfing, so with this kind of guidance I know they will
really go far.”

Making this program happen was Surfing Association of Myamar’s president Phone Kyaw
Myint (Carl) working with the Asian Surf Cooperative. “SAM has crossed a significant milestone
by hosting our first ISA Surf Instructor Level 1 course here,” said Carl. “It is our objective to
ensure we have good fundamentals and a strong foundation for surfing to grow in Myanmar.
With this certification of our surf instructors, we can achieve our goals to continue to grow the
sport in a professional and positive manner. And after talking with the students I have realized
they have now become the first real lifeguards Myanmar has seen as well. That is something I
am proud about for sure. A big thanks to everyone involved including the staff, volunteers,
students, teachers and the ASC for making this a reality.”

Class Teaching/ Photo By Tim Hain

ISA Development programs such as these are core to the ASC’s mission of responsibly growing
and supporting surfing around the Asian Region, from the grassroots level of learning up to the
top levels of professional competition. We are looking forward to continuing to support
countries including Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines,
China, Korea, and of course Indonesia in the months and years ahead as we celebrate 20 years
of surfing development here at the Asian Surf Cooperative.