We Tried It: Surfset Fitness Class

By: Meggan Ellingboe

What do you do when you can’t surf or paddleboard due to the weather? Or what if you just want to a new fitness challenge? You get on a surfboard with Surfset Fitness! After the holidays, my friends and I went to a Surfset Fitness class at Anytime Fitness. These boards look like an actual surfboard, a but a little shorter in length. They’re set upon a series of three rubber balls which are secured in a stand. One friend likened the board to a long BOSU ball. You can stabilize or destabilize the board by adding or subtracting a tension strap.

The Class

SurfSet Fitness has a series of four classes that build on each other. Each class is 30-45 minutes. The four class types are balance (literally get your balance and bearings to learn how to use the board), build (strength with a resistance band attached to board), burn (cardio) and blend (45 min class of all three elements). We were instructed to go barefoot.

Getting started

After a little warm-up, our instructor Erika guided us through a balance class. This is a level one class, which allowed us to get used to the board and how it moves. It’s harder to stay on board than you’d think! Erika showed us where we place our hands and feet for various exercises. I definitely felt where I was imbalanced. We tested out a few planks and then we began a couple sets exercises that we did twice through.

For the first series, we started on our stomachs for some swimming, a classic pilates lower back exercise. We then transitioned from our stomachs to lie on our backs to literally backstroke our arms. All the exercises were close to the board, with a low center of gravity for ease and comfort.

Just when you’re feeling comfortable

We started the second series of exercises that involved standing on the board. We practiced the transition to standing as you would on a real surfboard. We lied on our stomachs, pushed up to a plank and took a step forward into a low lunge. Eventually we stood up after the low lunge! To stand up on the board and do exercises, we had to find a firm foundation from the feet up before we started moving. We finished with a series of squats.

Time flew by! Before we knew it, we were cooling down.

A few moments from the class


SurfSet Fitness is a full body workout without high impact. While I want to try the other levels, the balance level was deceptively challenging. I like to think that as a yoga and barre instructor, that I can do anything relating to balance, but this was not easy! It was great to get out of my comfort zone.

I loved that we worked a wide range of motion; most exercises involved changing levels (go from high to low or move left and right). We used all the tiny stabilizer muscles you forget you have. As my friends and I are runners, with our feet cooped up in running shoes, it felt good to go barefoot and spread our toes. I could feel my heart rate up as I coordinated my body on the board. I can imagine that the build and burn level classes would torch some calories like a HIIT workout.

SurfSet, like any mind-body class, involves major concentration and the ability to humble yourself. We all fell, swayed, or simply rolled off our boards at some point! A sense of humor is required.


I felt that the class was too short, and I don’t say that just because we were having fun and wanted to do more. From my perspective as yoga teacher, I felt like Erika had to keep us moving and keep keep us flowing through the series. While she did give good cues and instruction, I think an extra ten to fifteen minutes would add a lot of value. Those extra minutes would provide time to break down form (especially with first timers), practice some clean reps before beginning movements  or the series and give extra tips on technique. I would say 50-60 minutes would be a good class length.

Want to try it?

Surfset is available at a handful of Anytime Fitness locations. There’s a lot of buzz around it, and you may see it at a gym near you soon. Are you willing to give it a try?

Meggan is a certified yoga instructor. She hosts outdoor yoga classes during the summers in Minneapolis. You can also find her running marathons or exploring far away places. She believes fitness is an empowering tool to live whole a life. You can follow her on Twitter: @megganellingboe


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