SurfSET Fitness: Stoked Surf 360 with Kira Stokes

By | May 23, 2012

I had so much fun at SurfSET Fitness the first time around, that I couldn’t wait to get back on the RipSurferX and take another class. Last week, SurfSET teamed up with Solo Event Space to host “Surfing on Wall Street” for a one-night-only sold out evening of classes. A few things made this workout event extra exciting for me:

  1. I got to go with the BFF, so that just makes any evening better.
  2. We got free stuff at the event. Score.
  3. Kira Stokes taught our class(!) Kira is the creator of The Stoked Method, and teaches classes at Reebok Sports Club on the UWS. I’ve never had the chance to take one of her classes, so when I learned that she would be teaching SurfSET I was, well, stoked. #punintended

Solo is a massive event space located on the bottom floor of the Setai Hotel building.  I arrived 15 minutes early for our 7pm class to scope out the scene and see how an event space could transform into a fitness studio. What I found was a huge LED-lit space filled with thumping Rihanna/Flo-Rida/LMFAO. An excellent sign. Kira Stokes was perched on her surfboard at the far end, with four rows of surfer students facing her. In the back were a couple of event sponsors giving out freebies. Branded beach balls were strewn about, popsicles were being eaten, Zico coconut water was being guzzled… it was a gnarly scene, man. My iPhone photo isn’t the most wonderful image, but you get the idea of what the class area looked like.

Class started with a super quick orientation to the RipSurferX: how to paddle, how to distribute weight, and most importantly, how not to fall off. And then we were squatting. I’d forgotten how hard it is to stabilize atop the surfboard, and found myself shaking like a leaf throughout most of the warm-up, which really wasn’t much of an “ease-into-it” type warm-up at all. I love how I assumed that since I’d taken a SurfSET class before that it would somehow be easier this time around. WRONG. Power squats, one-legged squats, and lunges were nothing like easy. But they were really fun.

The remainder of class consisted of a bunch of Kira-created circuits, with each being performed 3 times though (to allow the muscle focus group to completely fatigue). While we watched her demonstrate each circuit, we weren’t just hanging out, hanging ten. Nope, we were on our bellies, paddling furiously. Each set had elements that made me sure I was going to fall off the board. In one, we performed burpees with little jumps punctuating each movement. Jumps! In another, we had the most intense round of triceps work that I’ve experienced in quite some time, concluding with us kneeling on our boards, holding the paddles, and doing a modified crunch/triceps pull-back. In yet another, we were in a one-legged squat which led into an upright paddle row. We concluded with a set created to simulate surfing, which consisted of pop-ups, body weight shifts, and lots of core stability. And then finally, there was a dedicated abs section with a crazy amount of planks and oblique crunches.

The moves sounds insane as I write them out, mainly because they were. Yet all in all, our class rocked it. I largely attribute this to the fact that Kira is an incredible instructor. The acoustics in the space were not on her side (given the super high ceilings, loud music, and a huge space overall), yet her energy was palpable, and I found myself remaining motivated to push myself the whole time. Plus, she has an amazing body that really proves to you that she’s serious about fitness. No joke- the woman is composed of one chiseled sheath of muscle.

After class, Linds and I took photos with a sleepy puppy (SurfSET’s mascot, Hammy), politely  turned down a complimentary spray tan (because it would have just slid right off given how sweaty we were), collected our swag bags containing FakeBake self-tanner, more Zico water, Mercy hangover prevention drink, and our very own SurfSET branded beach balls, and then headed out to grab some dinner.

We ended up at Bite, on 14th street, which is one of those places that we’ve walked past hundreds of times but never thought to stop in. Turns out it’s really good as a quick, yet healthy and delicious Union Square spot. As we shoveled forkfuls of Mediterranean salad into our mouths (we so earned that dinner!), Linds and I recapped the high points of class, kvetched about how sore we’d be the next day, and agreed we’d go back to SurfSET the very next chance we had. I kind of can’t wait.

What was the last workout that you were really excited about or challenged by?