Class Review: Surfset at Oceanside Pilates

This is a LONG OVERDUE review, but one I’m excited to share!

I’ve heard a lot about Surfset – this workout was featured on the TV show Shark Tank and has been getting a lot of buzz. To be honest, the class sort of terrified me! It looked like it would be a huge test of my core strength and my balance – and anyone who knows me in real life will tell you, I don’t have the greatest balance on solid ground. The old me would have let that fear take over, but instead, I decided to push myself and give the class a try. Take a look at the promo video to get a sense of what this class is all about:

This fitness trend is still expanding in the Boston area, but I was lucky enough to find a studio about 15 minutes from my house that offers classes. Oceanside Pilates & Yoga is located in Winthrop, MA. The studio is on the small side, and Surfset classes are capped at 6 participants — which meant that I would minimize the number of people watching if I did manage to humiliate myself. I also got an adventurous and supportive friend to join me for the class – thanks for the moral support, Jayna!

Registering for classes through Oceanside can be a bit confusing. Most studios that I visit these days either use the familiar Mind-Body online class scheduling platform or their own equivalent system. Oceanside’s method was a bit more haphazard. Some instructors have their own online registration tools; for the class I chose, a Tuesday at 6pm offering, I had to either email or text the instructor. Not the most convenient of options, but the instructor, Lisa, was very quick to respond to my email confirming that I had successfully secured a spot in the class.

The Surfset class at Oceanside had a drop in rate of $15. The studio doesn’t accept credit cards, so bring cash, or you’ll be the goofball writing a check at the beginning of class (can you guess which one I was? Thank goodness I had my checkbook on hand that day!). Lisa did mention that the studio offers class pack cards at discounted rates, but there’s no pricing information on their website about this, so contact the studio directly if you’re interested in a class pack.

I arrived about 20 minutes early and found a space directly in front of the studio. There isn’t a parking lot for this location, so make sure to allow time to find street parking.

There was another Surfset class that ran from 5-6pm, so those of us attending the 6pm class waited just inside the doorway to the studio. If it’s your first class, you’re required to fill out a waiver releasing the studio from any liability – pretty standard stuff, but still scary for someone who’s already convinced she’s going to fall on her face!

I would have liked some more time to get used to the board before class began. It took about ten minutes for my body to figure out how to maintain balance and successfully move on and around the board. Ideally, it would have been great to get comfortable with the equipment and then begin the class, but the scheduling didn’t allow for this. As such, I don’t feel like I got the most out of the class’s initial warm-up period, because I was still figuring things out.

Lisa, the instructor, led us through several different progressions of moves, which she repeated before moving to the next series – so if you didn’t get something the first time around, you had a second chance to get it right. Some progressions were cardio-focused to get your heart rate up; others were body weight exercises that let you catch your breath but still kept you working. This strategy of staggering the types of moves and repeating them across the class was great for someone new like me – I definitely found myself pushing further and trying more of the moves as the class went on, whereas I was heavily modifying at the outset. Some of my favorite moves included planks and mountain climbers on the board – talk about an ab workout! – and push ups with your feet on the board and your arms on solid ground.

Surfset Fitness Review, Oceanside Pilates & Yoga

I went into the class expecting a great core and glute workout, and I was not disappointed. The next day, there were muscles in my butt that I don’t think have been worked that hard before – and that’s coming from someone who’s been taking barre and pilates multiple times a week for the past year! I was surprised and impressed with the arm workout I got from this class; my triceps in particular felt like they had been through the wringer later that night. The calorie burn was also pretty impressive; according to my Polar heart rate monitor, I burned 540 calories in the 60 minute class.

I’ll be honest: for the first 10-15 minutes of class, I was pretty miserable. I couldn’t quite get a feel for the board and I felt like a lot of the moves were beyond my physical ability. Early on, I looked at Jayna, a friend from the studio I attend regularly, and swore that I’d never complain about our Poise instructresses ever again. As I got more comfortable on the board, though, I settled into the rhythm of the class – and by the end of the hour, I was a convert. I couldn’t wait to tell other friends about Surfset and try the class again!

I’ll be honest – I’m not sure if I would return to Oceanside for future classes. While the location is convenient for me, the cash-only option and the lack of a reliable online scheduling tool are real drawbacks. I also would like to try another instructor. Lisa had great energy but was almost too intense for me at times, and she wasn’t always clear when offering modifications to the more challenging moves, leaving me a bit bewildered with my board. I’d be interested to try some other instructors to see how they approach their classes and to hopefully find an instructor whose style is more my speed.

Have you tried a Surfset class? What did you think?

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. I paid the full $15 class price for my Surfset experience. I am not affiliated with Oceanside Pilates & Yoga or the Surfset brand. 

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