Curator of Fitness & Fun on the Seacoast

Catchin’ The Surfing Fitness Wave: Paddle Your Way To “The Perfect Workout”

photo of Swayze and Reeves in 1991's film Point Break

“Surfing’s the source man..” -Bodhi (Swayze-on right) to Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) in 1991’s Point Break [a cult classic!]

“Surfing’s the source man… swear to God.” ~Bodhi (the late Patrick Swayze) in Point Break.

Bodhi just might be on to something. If you’re looking to “shake up” your workout, or if you are feeling kind of beat up and sore from all the kettle bells, circuit or weight training, and more hours on your bike or miles on the pavement don’t sound as much fun as they did this summer, then you should head for the coast (or your local gym), and paddle on out and go ride a wave!

Yes, surfing could be your source for full-body fitness this fall. Swear to God. And lucky for us, fall offers some of the best (mint) surfing conditions up and down the east coast. Want a great total body workout and what some fitness gurus and trainers are calling “the perfect workout?” Well, surf’s up! …and it’s uptown now, too.

photo os surfer at Rye Beach, NH

(photo courtesy of Summer Sessions Surf Shop – Rye, NH)

To some surfing may seem like playing in the waves, but believe me, surfing is an intense and a fun workout. Aerobically surfing keeps your heart rate up, teaches you to control your breathing and helps you to get into better cardio shape, just like running or biking. While anaerobically, surfing helps you build strength (especially the core) as you paddle and swim out to catch your waves (sets) and helps improve your balance and coordination.

As a hido or highway (novice) surfer myself, I have spent far more time paddling out (and in the spin cycle) than “taking the drop” into breaks to ride to the beach so believe me surfing is a serious total body workout, hard work and tons of fun. I learned to surf at Apollo Bay off the Great Ocean Road in Australia. I was exhausted after my full day of lessons with my Aussies mates, but I did not want to leave the beach. I kept paddling out for more!

photo of surfer Laird Hamilton doing beach push-ups

Laird Hamilton shows what being in sick “surf shape” is all about!

Actually, some of the fittest athletes in the world are surfers (i.e. World Champ Kelly Slater, Laird Hamilton and 7-time Women’s World Champ Aussie Layne Beachley). A new study on the fitness of pro surfers indicates that the sports scientists agree. In an August Phys Ed blog in The New York Times titled, “Riding The Wave of Surfer Fitness” by Gretchen Reynolds, researchers at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand who studied the fitness of pro surfers concluded:

…surfing is a considerable workout requiring high-level aerobic endurance,… given that the heart rate stays above 120 beats per minute at least 80 percent of the time, and given the amount of time spent paddlingBut surfing also requires muscular power, particularly in the upper body…. those (surfers) who could generate the most wattage while paddling were also the highest-ranked surfers (and the most fit).

Bodacious, brah! So, now that you’re super stoked and ready to give surfing a go, or if you just want to see how much wattage you can generate paddling, go grab a board and paddle your way to a fun, full-body fitness workout.

And you’re in luck. Here on the Seacoast we have a couple swick (sweet & sick) surf shops (with amazing and experienced surf coaches) to help you out with your new surfing fitness workouts. Out at Hampton Beach, there’s Cinnamon Rainbows and at Rye
summer sessions logoBeach there’s Summer Sessions Surf Shop. Check ’em both out. They’ll hook you up solid with rental gear and a board, and/or surf lessons too. Rentals usually run $25-$35 for a half day (for a wetsuit + board) and lessons typically run you $40-$50/hour.

photo of Cameron Diaz surfing

Cameron Diaz (ripped, strong core & in sick “surf shape”) waiting for her set.

I recommend taking a private or group surf lesson from the pros at Cinnamon Rainbows or Summer Sessions – a half day will do ya. And, like Johnny Utah screams after catching his first wave, trust me, surfing and your workout out in the waves will be AMAZING!

But, what happens when you can’t surf, or the waves aren’t breaking, or it’s just too cold to paddle out to the break? In the Auckland University study, the scientists also concluded that: “There is no reliable lab-based treadmill (or indoor) equivalent to riding a wave…”

Well, that is, until now. Yes, get stoked, “The Perfect Workout,” surfing has come indoors thanks to the folks at SURFSET Fitness! This exciting new fitness concept (now a gym/studio class with certified instructors AND which recently survived ABC’s Shark Tank and now has Mark Cuban’s backing) was created when Mike Hartwick, a former pro hockey player loved the way his body looked and felt after months of surfing:

“I would quickly bulk up and lose the lean and toned physique that surfing gave me, no other workout could compare. Then it hit me. I’ll design a machine to mimic the workout that I got while surfing.. it will keep me in peak physical condition…SURFSET Fitness was born.” 

photo of surfset fitness paddler

(photo courtesy of SURFSET Fitness)

Now everyone can get and keep a lean and toned surf physique all year-long, at home or at the gym, thanks to SURFSET Fitness and the world’s first total-body surf trainer, The RipSurfer X (see above). According to SURFSET Fitness, the board “was designed to simulate the physical demands of surfing without the ocean.” 

Although relatively new to the fitness landscape, SURFSET Fitness plans to offer fitness classes in studios and gyms in 20 states – they already offer classes in NY & NJ that are sold out every week! SURFSET Fitness is coming to NH this December too, in Gilford at Body Design By Joy. The surfset fitness logoSURFSET Fitness classes, just like the real thing out at Rye on the Rocks, will help you strengthen your core giving you that “Surfer Six Pack” while burning off an estimated 450-800 calories in just one (30-minute) class. That’s some gnarly fitness!

At the beach or in the gym this fall, now you can get in surf shape and stay in surf shape! So, why not head on OUT to the coast for fall fitness fun, paddle out and catch your wave, and a great workout too? Or you can come on IN and check out a SURFSET Fitness class in your area and get to paddling on the RipSurfer X.

Sarah Ponn, Fitness & Nutrition Expert with SURFSET Fitness is right on and I think says it best, “Surfing is the perfect workout. If you look at it scientifically, it gives you everything you need to get the lean athletic physique that people love. And besides that, its fun!”

Go catch a wave, brah, and you’ll be sitting on top of the fitness world.


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Categorised in: Fitness Business Reviews, Gear & Equipment, General Fitness, Outdoor/Extreme Sports, Swimming for Fitness, Uncategorized, Workouts & Training Tips

2 Responses »


  1. Seacoast Fitness Daly Class Review: Surf’s Up – Getting On Board With SurfSET Fitness For A Super Stoked Workout! | SEACOAST FITNESS DALY
  2. Seacoast Fitness Daly Class Review: Surf’s Up – Getting On Board With SurfSET Fitness For A Super Stoked Workout! | SEACOAST FITNESS DALY

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