Class Review: SURFSET NYC
Confession: I went to SURFSET NYC on a date. As a result, I didn’t take any pictures of the space, but I can give you a thorough review. SURFSET NYC is an offshoot of SURFSET Fitness which got its start on Shark Tank (Cuban went for it, though frankly I’m surprised it wasn’t Barbara). You can now find classes around the US and even father afield (Canada, Costa Rica, London, the list goes on). I have long been intrigued and, needing a fun date idea (he likes surfing), thought why not?
Instructor: Aaron Thouvenin
Aaron is one of SURFSET’s Master Instructors. Since I’ve never taken another class, it’s hard for me to say what sets Aaron apart from the non-masters, but he was very welcoming, kind, and had great energy. I think Aaron could tell that I was pretty out of my element but he kept me positive, was encouraging, and peppered class with encouraging words to each of us.
Class: SURF Strength
SURF Strength is a circuit-style workout and takes place on paddle boards which are mounted on three balance balls. There are three rounds of moves, sort of like doing a Sun Salutations 1-3 series if that were a thing, and each round builds up in reps. For example, if the first circuit was sumo squats, pistol squats, and lunges, the first time through you’d do 5 of each, the second time 7 of each, and the third time 9 of each. Class began with some jumping jacks and squats on the ground and then we moved onto the board where, as I just hinted, we did a mix of yoga poses and various squats. Did I mention the board is wobbling and every second it feels like you’re going to fall onto the floor?! (Truth: I fell twice 🙈)
I took class at the East Village location so can only speak to that studio. It’s not your typical boutique studio, there are no amenities or showers (though there is a bathroom), but they have done a nice job with what they have. The room is an open studio which has been filled with a double ring of 15 boards. Next to the mats are blue yoga mats that are meant to elicit the ocean. Various other props like bathing suits and leis are placed about and there is a large screen showing surfing footage at one end of the room. Water is available for purchase, towels are provided, and there are cubbies in the room for your things. Nothing fancy, but it’s perfectly fine.
As with my comments on the studio, this is limited to Aaron’s playlist and let’s be honest, every instructor has some exceptionally good and bad playlists. I would put this in the bad playlist category. The class wasn’t billed as a theme class, but when we began, Aaron told us it would be songs of summer. Ok. Where he lost me was when a song repeated. I don’t mean to be awful but you can’t repeat a song, especially as a Master Instructor. Weirder still, Aaron didn’t even acknowledge it, which made me question whether he realized and ultimately left me feeling like he really didn’t care about the playlist which was a little uninspiring.
You may have guessed by now but I really didn’t like this class. I left feeling like I had wasted $57 ($25 first time special for me and $30 for him - It was my turn to pay for something). Maybe the other classes are different, but I didn’t once feel challenged. Staying on the board was hard, but not in a way that challenged your core. I honestly don’t know that you could get into shape or build any sort of strength from this class; maybe if it was the only physical activity you did, but even then, I think you’d get a better workout walking to the studio.
Have you tried SURFSET? What was your experience like?