Does Surfset Really Prepare You For Catching a Real Wave?

As the cold sets in, the days get shorter and you trade in your tanks for sweaters, we bet you’ve been dreaming more often about laying by the beach. I admit, I too would much prefer to be catching some waves rather than layering to stay warm but the closest I can get to that in New York City is SurfSET.

After getting my beach fix from class I was lucky enough to plan a vacation on the west coast and of course, with surfing on the mind, I thought it was time to really put SurfSET to the test and see just how similar it is to real live surfing.

Enter Malibu Makos Surf Camp, an incredible surf camp for groups or private sessions. We met up with Skylar for a private surf lesson where we were able to put our SurfSET skills to the test.

Here’s what we found:

Yes! SurfSET really feels like surfing.

I had to start with this one because frankly, I was pretty surprised! The times I’ve been to SurfSET have always been a blast but I always assumed that the class had taken certain liberties when it came to really surfing. When it came to paddling, popping up onto the board and the balance exercises, the class was spot on! Skylar, our instructor, spent a lot of time focusing on the techniques, hand movements and basic footwork on the beach and frankly it felt just like a SurfSET class.

It’s just as much cardio as it is balance.

The biggest mental hurdle at SurfSET (at least for me) is the balance part. Am I going to fall off this board and make a fool of myself in this class?! Once you get past that and realize the board are actually pretty sturdy, then you really get into the cardio piece. The same thing happened with actual surfing — the whole time I was worried about standing up on the board and staying up. Really what I should have been worried about is keeping up! Paddling out, fighting the waves and all the steps that happen before you even get to standing comes out to being a lot of cardio.

You can learn a lot of the basics without ever being in the water.

The first 30 minutes of our two hour lesson was spent on the beach. At first I was bummed since I wanted to immediately get out there and hang loose but Skylar’s overview on the beach was crucial! Turns out core strength, balance and muscle memory are all things that that require no water to master. Also, these are all things SurfSET focuses on in class. Spend your winter practicing and you’ll be in good shape (figuratively and literally) by the time you’re ready for those summer waves.

Will anything truly be as magical as being out in the ocean surfing along the dolphins? Probably not. But if you’re far from an ocean or are looking for something to hold you over until it’s gorgeous outside again, SurfSET is a legitimate (and fun!) alternative.

Cara Friedman is the Director of Community at ClassPass. When not trying new classes, you can find Cara at the movies, reading her Kindle or celebrating happy hour.