Using the RipSurfer X: What to Expect From a Land-Based Surfing Class

Hang 10 and Get Fit on the RipSurfer X

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SurfSet

After seeing SurfSet Fitness' RipSurfer X on Shark Tank, I couldn't wait to give a land-based surfing class a try. So when City Surf Fitness opened in Austin, TX, I signed up as soon as I could to give the surfboard-like fitness tool a try.

City Surf is a multi-studio fitness chain located in Texas, Louisiana, and Colorado. The chain uses the RipSurfer X indoor surfboards to provide students with seven different branded classes.

These classes include everything from circuit training and boot camps to barre workouts and yoga, all performed on and around the indoor surfboards.

The Austin, TX facility was brand new when I signed up, so it was only offering two of brand's programs:

  • City Surf: A total-body conditioning class using bodyweight exercises and surf-inspired movements to challenge and improve balance, coordination, and strength.
  • Buddha Board: A vinyasa yoga class performed on top of the RipSurfer X.

I decided to attend both City Surf and Buddha Board in back-to-back classes.

What You Should Know About the RipSurfer X

The RipSurfer X really does look like a surfboard. It's about 6 feet long and two feet wide, with a surfboard shape. At only 35 pounds, it's relatively lightweight and easy to move around.

The board itself sits atop what looks like three small stability balls lined up under the length of the board. Tension cords attach the board to its sturdy base, holding it in place on top of the small stability balls.

The result is controlled instability. In other words, the board you stand on is highly unstable but still safe—you don't have to worry about the board falling off the balls and throwing you to the ground.

While I've never personally surfed, I have been stand-up paddleboarding, wakeboarding and water skiing, so I can attest that the instability of the board is much like what you'd experience while on the water—the board shifts and moves in every direction based on your movements and balance on top of the board.

Using the Board

After telling my instructor it was my first time attending a surf-inspired class, she took a few minutes to introduce me to the board and give me a run-down of what I could expect. The board's instability takes some getting used to, so she emphasized that it was fine to do exercises on the ground to the side of the board if doing them on the board felt too challenging. She also let me know she'd be offering modifications for each exercise so I could ease my way in.

As expected, the board is wobbly. It's unstable. But, if you do a lot of balance training the effect isn't all that different from standing on a balance disc or BOSU ball. The main difference (and benefit) is that it's a much larger surface that expands the pool of balance-focused exercises you can perform on the board. 

The one thing that felt particularly challenging during each workout was the board's length. The board is about six feet long, and I'm about six feet tall. Some of the exercises, like planks and push-ups, required full body extension. This was fine when the exercise was a static hold, but it became much more daunting during active movements, such as burpees or mountain climbers. I was a little worried I might hop my feet off the end of the board.

I didn't realize until almost halfway through the class that the RipSurfer X has pads and small bumpers along the back edge, making it possible to successfully "feel" the end of the board before you actually hit it. This realization helped me get more comfortable with the active movements that required a full extension.

The Class Experience

The City Surf class was tough! In addition to challenging, interval training-style programming, the class requires an extra dose of mental engagement to account for the added instability of the board. I especially liked the surf inspired movements, including "swimming" where you lie prone on the board and act as if you're swimming your arms through water, and pop-ups, where you quickly transition from a prone position to a standing position on the board.

Unfortunately, I wasn't as big a fan of the yoga class. The added instability of the board made it more difficult for me to successfully and safely achieve each pose. I would have preferred doing the class on the ground. That said, many of the women in the class were raving about the experience at the end, so I do know that other people enjoyed it.

Finding a Class

CitySurf isn't the only fitness studio that offers surf-inspired classes on a RipSurfer X. You can search for classes in your area by heading to the SurfSet website. They have a running list of all the certified trainers and studios that use their boards.

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