The Appeal: My social media feed has recently been flooded with images of sunkissed hair, tropical cocktails, and barely there bikinis — all to remind me that summer is here. City Surf offers fitness classes “inspired by the everyday lifestyles and training of surfers.” I thought the concept a little corny at first, but Cameron Diaz’s body doesn’t lie. Surfing is a workout.
The Instructor: Catherine Wehba is the epitome of surfer cool. Tan and athletic with a bleached blonde ponytail, she led the class with detailed instruction and a smile. She began as a student at City Surf and now teaches Beach Body Bootcamp, City Surf, and City Surf Circuit classes throughout the week.
The Space: The bare-bones studio consists of one large room facing Allen Street with a small check-in desk and a few lockers to stash your gear in. The rest of the room is dedicated to class space, where there are two rows of TRX boards facing a mirrored wall and a large white wall where surfing videos are projected throughout class.
Who’s There: With the exception of one guy and one middle-aged woman, this was a fit group of girls in their 20s. The attire ranged from yoga tights with Lululemon tops, to Nike shorts and comfy T-shirts. They could tell I was a newbie because I strolled in wearing sneakers.
How It Went: For the first 15 minutes of class, we watched as our instructor demonstrated the exercises to be done at each of the 14 stations set up around the room. She explained that we were to do each move for 30 seconds before moving to the “middle station," then on to the next exercise. The middle station was a move that we all did together for 10 seconds, and it remained the same throughout each of two circuits. For the first circuit’s middle station, we held 10-pound bags of sand over our heads before throwing them to the ground as hard as we could. For the second, we alternated pushups and holding a plank position while touching our shoulders one at a time.
The challenging instability of the TRX board made even basic moves like crunches and planking burn tenfold. Our instructor paced the room helping students and motivating the class. As we moved through squats, wall sits, and weighted crunches, my heart rate climbed to the 160 mark and stayed there for the entire class. Even when I reached a station that was easier for me, the fast pace of the circuit kept my heart pumping.
The Aftermath: I could feel the work I put into my shoulders and core the next day, but I wasn’t so fatigued that I couldn’t go about my normal routine.
Loved: Music can make or break a class, so I appreciated the mix of rock and pop (Green Day, Beastie Boys, Ellie Goulding) pumping through the speakers. I’m also a sucker for the “surf lifestyle” vibe they’re selling. I left wishing I weren't 300 miles from the nearest beach. I settled for a salt scrub and a spray tan.
Hated: Some of their class selections stray from the surfboard a little too far. They offer two options that claim to be inspired by barre and yoga routines, but I don’t see how those two independent methods could translate to this type of equipment without losing their root benefits.
Cost: Newcomers can purchase a two-week trial for $15 before committing to any packages or memberships. From there, you can purchase one session at a time for $20, ten sessions for $150, or commit to a monthly unlimited membership for $95.
Difficulty Level: This class is tough because there’s not much room for modification once you’re on the TRX board. At times, the biggest challenge is just staying on the damn thing. If you have strong legs and good balance, you will rock this class. If not, you may spend your first few weeks wobbling around until you build your strength.
Bottom Line: While the idea of a themed studio got under my skin at first (what’s next? Ski Bunny Fitness?), the concept grew on me. You get a great workout in a fun setting for a fair price.