There’s no doubt that paddling a surfboard out to the breakers is a good source of upper body exercise. What a lot of non-surfers might not realize, however, is that balancing on a constantly-shifting board is also a great workout for the core muscle groups. Surfer and entrepreneur Mike Hartwick certainly realized it, which is why he created the RipSurfer X stationary surfboard trainer – while it’s far from being the world’s only balance trainer, it’s claimed to be unique in offering all the fitness benefits of real surfing.
The device consists of a board that the user stands or lies on, mounted on a base that allows it to tilt in all directions as the user shifts their weight. Its tippiness can be adjusted by the user as their skill level and strength progress, by installing or removing stretchy rubber stabilizing straps that run from the underside of the board to the base.
There’s also an optional resistance set consisting of several types of elasticized cords, which run from the user’s hands to an attachment loop at the front of the board. These can be used for a variety of exercises, including one that simulates paddling through the water with your arms.
The RipSurfer X is actually the centerpiece of the SurfSET system, which incorporates free weekly online video workout sessions led by “experts” trained on the system – premium workout videos are also available for download, at a price of US$10 per session. These workouts (including the free ones) are said to build not only core strength, but to also aid in aerobic conditioning, fat burning, the building of lean muscle, power, muscle tone, and balance.
What Hartwick and his crew are really interested in doing, however, is setting up a network of SurfSET studios. Participants would drop in to these locations, and use on-site boards while following the lead of certified instructors. If it seems like your sort of thing, the company is currently seeking prospective instructors and/or studio franchisees.
Should you just like the idea of training at home, however, a RipSurfer X will cost you $450, with the resistance set running an extra $20.