By Diana Garrett & Aaron Thouvenin, Founders of SURFSET New York City
At first glance, many people don’t think of surfing when they think of New York City. While there are waves and a solid surf community in NYC, the Big Apple is better known for skyscrapers and subways more than sand and surf. As New York City surfers, we know both sides. We know about taking surfboards on the subway, changing from wetsuits to business suits, and walking in flip flops through sandy beaches and dirty concrete all in one day. We love surfing our favorite local breaks, but without the consistency of surfing several times a week, it is difficult to work the muscles and skills we need to improve.
That all changed in 2011 when three friends from New Hampshire created a fitness concept called SURFSET Fitness. As surfers, we were immediately drawn to it. We could build the muscles we used in the water on land with the revolutionary RipSurfer X, an unstable surfboard designed to mimic the feeling of being in water. In just a few classes, our surfing improved! After SURFSET Fitness went on Shark Tank and secured a deal with Mark Cuban, we became two of the world’s first Master Trainers and Ambassadors.
Soon after, we combined our experience teaching hundreds of classes with our passion as NYC surfers to launch SURFSET New York City. We created an extended surf community in NYC as unique as the city itself – inspired by surfing, focused on fitness, and full of fun – for surfers and non-surfers alike. At SURFSET New York City, you’ll get an efficient, total-body workout that will also improve body awareness, dynamic balance, and stability. Not only will you get the benefits of interval training, but you’ll also take your workout outside of a static environment to one that is always changing. Rather than doing repetitive movements in one plane of motion, you’ll do the entire workout on an unstable surfboard that will change your body from the inside out.
We tailor our classes for all levels – they’re great for surfers looking to improve their skills and non-surfers looking for a fun way to get in shape. Sometimes our classes motivate aspiring surfers to get in the ocean and catch their first waves. So, if your next adventure does take you surfing, we included our Top 5 tips below.
5 Tips to Get Surfing
1. Get In Surfer Shape
Surfing is a physically demanding sport that combines elements of strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility in each session. You’ll need upper body strength and endurance for paddling, core strength and flexibility for your pop-up, and lower body strength and stability to control your board while riding a wave.
Of course, the best (and most fun!) way to get in surfer shape is to surf, but as New Yorkers, we may not be able to get in the water as much as we want to. To make the most of your time in the water and get in surfer shape, check out SURFSET New York City. Our surf-inspired classes combine elements of cardio, strength, and balance training on an unstable surfboard. The more you work on the muscles and skills you’ll use in your surf session, the more successful you’ll be in the water.
2. Practice Your Pop-Up
The pop-up is the most important surfing move, and surfers can always work to improve it. Focus on your efficiency and alignment. While it’s important to stay centered over your board, it’s also important to stay low in your surf stance to maintain control. At SURFSET New York City, we practice these in every class. Our unique equipment helps give you feedback and point out any misalignments you may have on your pop-up, to help you perfect it on land before bringing it into the water.
3. Get Comfortable In the Ocean
When you are doing any water sports, safety is the number one priority. Before surfing, you should feel comfortable swimming in the ocean, going over and under crashing waves, and be able to identify any local hazards before going in the water. No two days and no two surf breaks are exactly the same. You can ask the lifeguard, a local surf shop, or check surf conditions before you go in the water on sites like Swell Info, Surfline, and Magic Seaweed. You should also watch the break before you go in the water to see where the waves are breaking, how the swells are forming, and the timing between each set of waves.
4. Take a Lesson
The best thing a beginner surfer can do is to take a lesson. In New York, Skudin Surf is a great school with locations in Rockaway and Long Beach. If you’re interested in a surf trip, check out Surf, Yoga, Beer. They host several trips a year in amazing locations around the world.
Your surf instructor will not only give you tips for paddling out, find you the right spot in the lineup, and help you catch waves, but will also help you get the right equipment and teach you about surf etiquette.
A couple quick tips:
· Generally, a long board with a soft top is best for beginners.
· You may need a wetsuit or rash guard depending on the water temperature. The wetsuit will keep you warm, and the rash guard will protect your skin from developing a rug-burn-like rash from friction on a surfboard.
· The surfer closest to the curl of the wave has the right of way. (Don’t drop in on anyone!)
· When you wipe out, land flat, cover your head and always find your board ASAP. Holding onto your board will ensure it does not get picked up by a wave and hit you or anyone else.
· Paddle around the break and yield to those riding waves when you’re paddling out.
5. Have Fun
Surfing is challenging, but it is also so rewarding and fun! As with any sport - practice, patience, and consistency are keys to success. Embrace the challenge, enjoy the ocean, and remember – the best surfer out there is the one having the most fun!
Diana Garrett, founder of SURFSET New York City, learned to surf more than 15 years ago in San Diego, and she’s been riding waves (in the ocean or on the RipSurfer X) ever since. As a surfer and former competitive gymnast, acrobatic performer, and gymnastics coach, her fitness focus has always been on core strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance. It’s no surprise that her SURFSET New York City classes combine all four in fun, surf-inspired interval workouts!
While Diana has surfed the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, you can usually find her riding her fun board at Long Beach, NY or Spring Lake, NJ. Diana’s SURFSET New York City classes bring the excitement of surfing to land, whether you want the rush of catching a wave, the lean strength of a surfer, or just a fun way to stay in shape. Diana is a certified SURFSET Fitness Master Trainer and NASM Personal Trainer.
Aaron Thouvenin, founder of SURFSET New York City, has always been a sport and fitness competitor and enthusiast. He developed a passion for surfing while attending college and pursuing a basketball career in Australia, and has never looked back. He combines the fun, free spirit of the surf lifestyle with the training regimen of a competitive athlete, and is a true believer in the fitness and spiritual benefits of surfing. Most importantly, he believes fitness should be as fun as surfing!
Aaron has personally experienced the benefits of SURFSET Fitness classes and the RipSurfer X since SURFSET first launched in 2011. After years of working and studying techniques with trainers from various areas, he tried SURFSET Fitness and was hooked. As a SURFSET Brand Ambassador, Master Trainer, and founder of SURFSET NYC, he is excited to share his enthusiasm for surfing, fitness, and coaching with the world. His motivation and focus on plyometric movements and core balance will have you in surfer shape in no time! Aaron is a certified SURFSET Fitness Master Trainer.