On Saturday morning, I headed to The Sporting Center at Chelsea Piers to try out SurfSet Fitness.  It was a freezing morning and the idea of pretending to surf just sounded ridiculously appealing. I couldn’t really picture what the class would actually entail but was dying to find out. Due to the just general whackiness of MTA, my train options didn’t really put me all that close to Chelsea, so even leaving really early, I arrived at Chelsea Piers just 10 minutes before class was supposed to start. Ugh. I HATE cutting it that close! Especially going to a place for the first time, and since I have never actually been inside the Sporting Center, it took me a few super frustrating minutes to figure out how to get INTO the gym. I just didn’t expect to have to go through the garage to get in, now that I know where the entrance is, it makes more sense, but for a few minutes, there I was…really annoyed at how hidden it seemed! It also meant that I didn’t get the time I was hoping for to actually get to scope out the Sporting Center, a place I have been dying to check out! Oh well, check in was super quick and easy, and after changing in the gorgeous locker room, I hustled to the studio.

SurfSet is held in a small studio that you get to by following the indoor track to the back of the gym, past the indoor beach volleyball court, and next to the rock climbing wall.  Seriously, could this gym be any cooler? I got there before the class had actually started, but just barely, so after a quick hello and introduction, I went to my surf board just as our instructor, a classic surfer girl, started explaining about getting on the board. The room, a simple white box of a studio, had been given a beach-y vibe with palm trees in the corners and my favorite part, old surf movies projected onto the walls. I loved the mood set by that old footage, but of course, I was so busy trying to not fall off my board that I couldn’t really watch it once we started.

In the pictures I had seen of the “RipsurferX”, the indoor surfboard used in the class, it had sort of looked like a Pilates Reformer to me. So, when I first stepped on the board, I was taken aback by just how much the board moved and how unstable it was to stand on. This was going to be more challenging than I thought! The first few minutes I was really shaky but after a little getting used to the surface, I got the hang of it (no pun intended). SurfSet has different types of classes and the one I took was called the “SUP Challenge” – which somehow I had totally missed when signing up. We spent the majority of the class paddling standing up with a paddle attached to resistance bands. It was really hard – especially when we did lunges while paddling! My legs were quaking by the end of class. Since it IS a surfing based class, we did practice pop-ups, too.  The classic surf move. It took me awhile to get used to them, but towards the end, I was getting it and landing in the proper “ready to ride the wave stance”. The board’s unstable surface made even classic moves– from the squats, pushups, knee-to-elbow planks, situps and even a burpees variation– unique and really challenging. I loved the new spin on the moves but my favorite part was how it felt more like playing than working out.

SurfSet is a killer workout but also just a ridiculously good time. I can’t wait to go back! Next time, though, I will get there with a little extra time to spare so I don’t have to run past all the awesomeness at Chelsea Piers!

(Image of Studio from SurfSet’s Facebook page)

6 thoughts on “SurfSet Fitness: catching a wave inside Chelsea Piers

  1. Fun! I like how hardcore this version of the SurfSet class sounds. And Chelsea Piers is awesome. I’ve been enjoying it with my weekend membership I won and wish I could go more; I will be sad when it ends in March. I spent three hours there yesterday, from yoga to abs to leg strength training to speed workout on the track. I do not spend three hours at a normal gym! Definitely give yourself time to explore! I also finally figured out where the rockwall and this class were on Sunday when I was sprinting around the track (and dodging the small children since it is Family Time on Sunday morning to midday).

  2. Just found your website, love it! I remember reading about the surf class online somewhere and totally forgot about it until reading your post. Sounds like you had a great time! I really want to try this class out, especially before I go back to Hawaii in the summer 😉 I can’t wait to read more of your articles!

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