Surfing … indoors? Yeah, it’s pretty much as awesome as it sounds.
When Surfset Minnesota reached out challenging me to a class, I have to admit I was a bit nervous. So I did a little research and discovered that Surfset Fitness was a dream that was pitched on the television series Shark Tank, (a show where budding entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors) and became a reality.
Check out their pitch here.
As a fan of the show and after watching a few clips, I was definitely game for some Surfset fun.
But I still had a few concerns:
1 – I’ve never been a board athlete. I have only skied twice in my life, have never snowboarded, am awful at wakeboarding, have fallen off of every skateboard I have ever tried to step on to, and have never had the opportunity to surf. So I felt like I was going into this completely blind. I have to have some sort of background in order to be “good” at this, right?
2 – If we’re being honest, I’ve never been a board athlete for a reason. That whole balance thing … I consider myself lucky if I can get through the day walking on my own two feet without tripping more than a handful of times. Balance and I just don’t get along. This is bound to be a disaster, right?
3 – I honestly didn’t know how a surfing class could be held indoors. I was worried it might be kind of corny. And without the resistance of the water, how can it be a workout? It just didn’t make sense to me.
Well, I was wrong. About it all.
The two cuties in the pictures are Tara’s daughters (the owner of Surfset Minnesota.) They jumped in on a class with me and a few others & totally showed us all up!
There are 4 different classes at Surfset Minnesota: Burn, Balance, Build and Blend. They all have their own unique design with a specific purpose in mind and change often to provide variety for those who regularly attend classes. All classes are led by an instructor, are about 45 minutes long, and usually include one-five other people to suffer through the class with.
The classes combine a mixture of bodyweight movements for exercise and balance, plus a few yoga movements both on the ground and on the board. The class called Build includes some resistance band work. If you look closely in some of the pictures, you can see bright colored bands fastened to the front of the boards.
The boards also have different levels of difficulty, depending on your experience and how brave you’re feeling. The boards are sitting on top of some inflated balls, and fastened with two bands on each side. The more experienced/brave you are, the more you can deflate the balls, or release the bands to make the board a little wobblier.
It’s the “wobbly” part of the experience that truly provides a unique workout. While you do step-ups, push-ups, squats and other fun movements on the wobbly boards, you are trying to keep yourself still and balanced on top. It’s a great way to activate your core and really engage every muscle from head to toe without necessarily realizing it.
I will say that my concerns of not being the most experienced, the best at balancing, or the most coordinated individual were kind of ridiculous. You do NOT have to be a pro in order to step into one of these classes. When the balls are fully inflated, and all of the bands are fastened, the board is pretty steady. All four of the classes really ease you into the whole balancing on the board part of the workout too. The instructors do a wonderful job of easing any nerves, and providing support when you need it.
I was fortunate enough to try all four of the classes, and have to say that Build was my favorite. I love to lift weights and feel that kind of burn, so using the resistance bands felt a little bit more familiar to me. I would say that Balance was probably my second favorite because, well, that is something I am NOT a natural at.
So let’s get down to business, here’s the dish:
What I liked: It’s amazing how different parts of my body, from head to toe, were so sore after just one of the classes. While I wasn’t necessarily winded during the workout, I was certainly sweating quite a bit. I don’t do a lot of balance work, so all those little muscles that you engage while on-top of the board definitely get a workout!
What I learned: Well… “What I was reminded of” might be a little more accurate. I was reminded of how great it can be to be in a small boutique style fitness class. I’m used to large gyms like LA Fitness, Lifetime Fitness & Crossfit boxes up north in the Twin Cities (closer to where I live) so being in a smaller, more intimate class was nice! There aren’t as many people to duck and dodge, you don’t have to battle for equipment to use. It’s not intimidating in any way, because you are greeted with smiling faces and a very warm welcome. The instructors were there to help me through movements I didn’t necessarily understand, and we got to joke and laugh throughout the entire workout.
What I did not like: Because I wasn’t used to the balance work, my knees were actually ridiculously crabby afterwards. While we did do a cool-down/stretch after the workout, I should have done a little bit of a longer one.
My advice: Grab a pal and start with a Balance or Blend class. They are good intro classes to take to get used to the boards and the atmosphere of the studio.
Surfset Minnesota is absolutely NOT corny in anyway. It’s a no-nonsense workout that you can power through while jamming out to some awesome music.
120 W Park Square, Owatonna, MN 55060
Nicole Sweeney is a fitness freak who loves nothing more than coffee, laughter & sharing a good workout with any & everyone.. If you think of any crazy fitness fads you think she should try hit her up on her Instagram account @sisufit or Twitter @APGnsweeney