Tried & Tested: Surfset Hong Kong
We're getting surfer's bods in Hong Kong—in an air-conditioned gym.
The Basics: Want to get a hot surfer’s bod but worried about all that pesky water? Growing in popularity in the last couple of years, Surfset—a fitness routine designed based on the athletic benefits of catching waves—has had a home at Hanuman Thai Boxing and Fitness in Hung Hom since late last year. Workouts are done on a Surfset machine: a surfboard placed on a base of three rubber balls to give you the feeling of being out on the water, allowing you to work on balance as well as build core strength. Three small-group workouts are offered at Surfset: “Balance,” meant for beginners, focuses on yoga-like stretches for flexibility and core work. For the more hardcore, “Build” encompasses bodyweight and resistance circuit training to help you get shredded. “Burn” classes are a mix of both: with high intensity intervals to help burn fat and moves to build core strength.
The Experience: I recently went for a trial Balance class. Despite knowing my way around a stand-up paddle board, trying not to shake on the board was a huge challenge in the first half of the class, which gave me fewer reps of the squats and jumps that gym managing director and instructor Cherilyn Chow had us do. It’s impossible to follow along unless you grasp how to balance on your board. Throughout the workout, plenty of squats and lunges are involved in Balance, as well as a difficult burpee-like movement where you rapidly jump onto your board, stand and stretch upwards, and jump off again. A slow cool down stretch really pushes your flexibility with twists on yoga poses.
The Takeaway: Though the first half of the class is difficult to get into, the usage of the board really forces you to focus on form and to really push to utilize every muscle. Once you get the hang of the board, the moves are easy enough to follow for fitness beginners, and it’s ultimately a sweaty and effective workout.
$100 for first time trial, $250 single class, $1,050 for five classes. Unit A, 13/F, Kaiser Estate, Phase 1, 41 Man Yue St., Hung Hom, 2362-3665, surfset.hk