Surf's up in the fitness studio

Mon May 14, 2012 11:15am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Spun out on spinning? Bored in barre class?

Group fitness gadflies can rejoice. Indoor surfing is a new workout, born of the sea but carving out a place in the center of town.

"It's actually harder than surfing," Sarah Ponn, co-founder and fitness director of SurfSET Fitness, said of the class, which claims to squeeze about three hours' worth of surfing-based movement into the 45-minute indoor workout.

"Our primary goal is fitness," she said. "We burn a lot of calories. There's a lot of paddling, a lot of standing on an unstable board. It's very athletic."

The class revolves around a piece of equipment called the RipSurfer X, which was developed by SurfSET's CEO Mike Hartwick, as a way to stay fit after he retired from professional hockey in 2010.

"A surfboard, a real one, is mounted on an unstable surface of inflatable bladders. It moves based on where you place your weight," Ponn explained. "It's like being on water. (In surfing) if you step down with your right foot it will displace the water. Here it's not water, it's air."

The class is sequenced like a surfing session on the sea, even as it draws from many disciplines, from interval training to resistance training to Pilates.

"We do what you would do during a surf session," Ponn said.   Continued...

A SurfSET Fitness class in New York in an undated photo. REUTERS/SurfSET Fitness/Handout