Meet The Man Who Slept In His Car For A Month And Logged 108 Sessions At URBNSURF Melbourne - Stab Mag

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Ed Robinson is our new hero. Photo by URBNSURF

Meet The Man Who Slept In His Car For A Month And Logged 108 Sessions At URBNSURF Melbourne

Four back surgeries and full-time job be damned. 

Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 5 minutes

“I thought it was such a perfect opportunity,” 45-year old Ed Robinson tells me.

“I was working the night shift in Melbourne near the pool, so when I heard about the unlimited thing, it was perfect. Just work all night and save money on petrol. I live down in Torquay, so I saved the money from driving back and forth.”

The “unlimited thing” Ed’s referencing is the URBNSURF Winter Warriors package — $1500 AUD for a month of unlimited sessions, which we reported on as the single most cost effective way to rapidly improve your surf technique. 

The reason I’m calling Ed is because he set the record for the most sessions in a single month at the pool — in turn winning the Winter Warriors contest for May (and earning himself a free, private, after hours session for him and 36 of his friends.) 

“The pool and the waves are so tight and compared to the ocean, everything’s so much more refined. But by the end I was definitely improving.” Photo by URBNSURF

“I did 108 sessions in May, and I think I did 37 in one week,” he laughs. “My best day was nine. By the end of that day I was exhausted, but I was running on the froth. I couldn’t have done it without magnesium and my massage gun.”

As a full-time commercial construction worker and part owner of the Kingfisher Mentawai Resort, Ed is a far cry from the trust-fund fueled, wave-deprived, corporate overlord I was expecting to speak with. With a few decades of Mentawai seasons under his belt, he’s had more barrels than most mortals will lap up in their lives — and has financed his dreams with old-fashioned blue collar labor. 

“I was just working all night, surfing all day and fitting in a little sleep here and there. I’ve got my car set up, I love sleeping in my car, so I would just work full-time at night and go to the pool first thing in the morning exhausted, just fuck-eyed from work. I’d usually start with one session to get one for the day, and then four or five sessions later I’d be like, ‘Oh God, I’ve gotta sleep before tonight.’ By the end I was just running off a few hours here, a few hours there. Working night shift you kinda get used to it,”

“I was sore and stiff, but overall it was a really positive thing. Even the temperature, which was getting super cold toward the end was good. They’ve got good rubber and they’ve got the hot tubs there, which make a massive difference.” Video via URBNSURF

“I’d been foiling heaps and neglecting surfing a bit, so when I heard about the offer, I just wanted to get the froth back for surfing. It was the perfect opportunity to just surf my ring out and get the fire back for surfing before going to Indo again. I just turned 45, and yeah, I’m definitely a frother.”

Ed says he spent most of his time surfing the turn waves, riding a 5’7 McNeil twin and some Slater Designs.

I didn’t do a heap of the barrel sessions. I did a few, but I found the turns more rewarding. Doing heaps of time in Indo, there’s real tubes over there. The little novelty tubes are super fun every now and then, but a whole session of it isn’t quite the same.

“I really saw it as training, trying to progress. I know I’m not the best surfer and I’m probably not getting any better, but I really wanted to just use it as training and repetition. Also, because there’s the FlowState cameras and photos and video there, you can go and look at your stuff after. I analyzed everything  — looked at my hands and arm positioning and really tried to work on stuff. By the end I was definitely improving. 

Imagine getting waves like this and still being excited to spend a month sleeping in your car wearing a 5/4.

“I looked at it like a challenge. As soon as I realized there was a contest, I was like ‘I’m winning this.’ When I’d see the other people that I knew were doing the challenge, I just knew I wasn’t getting out of the pool until I saw them getting out. I’m gonna remember that month forever, for sure. By the end of the month, my fitness for surfing was through the roof. I’m pretty sure I know who came second, but he was like 40 sessions behind me.”

Though he makes light of the sleep-deprivation, Ed acknowledges it certainly wasn’t easy going.

“Honestly, the most negative thing for the month was my productivity at work. Talk to my bosses about that. They’re the ones that suffered probably, but I had the best month ever,” he laughs. “By probably the second or third week it was becoming a bit of a chore. I was still having fun in the pool, but the body was starting to get sore and stiff and I was feeling the sleep deprivation. When the month of May was over, I did have a couple days where I just needed to do nothing.

“The free session is more about my friends than me. After 108 hours in the pool, another hour is not really the most attractive thing. But if I can have all my mates there and that’d be unreal.”

He also says his girlfriend Millie was remarkably supportive of his endeavor, even coming up from Torquay to share a session.

“She was awesome, when I said I was thinking about doing the Winter Warrior challenge, she was like, ‘Yep, do it. I’ll see you in a month.’”

Getting to 45 years-old while still retaining the degree of excitement and gratitude that emanates from Ed doesn’t come without its roadblocks. In his case, four back surgeries and a handful of pessimistic surgeons have bolstered his appreciation for every single moment atop a surfboard.

“I’ve been told I shouldn’t be walking and stuff, so I’m just happy to be in the water, let alone doing this sort of stuff. I actually took one of the surgeons a photo of me doing a big bottom turn at Greenbush just to show him I can still surf and he shouldn’t tell people they can’t do things. He was stoked. He said he’s never gonna tell someone they can’t do anything again. I’m never going to stop frothing, growing up is a trap.”

“Sitting in an office desk for eight hours is going to be way more damaging for my back than getting a set on the head.”

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