Mary Beth Lessing moved back to Long Island from Pennsylvania two years ago and brought her Surfset training board with her.
A track and field coach, she was using the board it to help train Division 1 college athletes. After getting settled in Islip, she bought five more boards, and found space at Drew Patrick Spa in Bay Shore for classes.
Surfset Long Island has since become a sensation.
Lessing now runs 18 classes a week at Drew Patrick, in addition to visiting local schools and other organizations.
She is one of only 20 master Surfset trainers in the world.
“And this is the only full Surfset studio on the Long Island, right here in Bay Shore,” Lessing says proudly.
“We’re getting all kinds of new people to [Drew Patrick] that we’ve never seen or met,” said Corinne O’Hara, Drew Patrick’s marketing manager. “And the kids really love it.”
It works like this: You take a workout class, but on a surf-inspired board that’s “designed to simulate the physical demands of surfing, without the ocean,” reads the Surfset Fitness website.
“Anything that you would do on the floor, now you’re doing it on a surfboard with instability, so you’re activating that core the entire workout,” she said of why it’s so effective, and popular.
But it’s also popular because it’s fun.
O’Hara said needing to balance also helps take the mind off of whatever other challenging workout activity you might be doing.
“It’s not one of those grunting workouts,” Lessing said. “We’re rocking all over the place; we’re laughing. And once you get used to the board, after maybe three classes, you can then take it to another level.”
“It’s really a strong workout,” said Drew Patrick’s president, Drew Patrick Allt. “It’s like a really intense pilates class; it’s really full body. And Mary Beth is a really great motivator.”
Surfset Fitness has been featured on dozens of local and national news outlets. Lessing bought her first board after Surfset featured on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2012.
Interested readers might now be wondering if they need to know how to surf.
“I don’t even surf; everyone asks me that, and I say no. I feel like such a phony,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a surf-inspired workout, so you’ll use all the muscles that you need for surfing. So I do get a lot of surfers in here through the winter, either to up their game or just stay in shape.”
Top: Mary Beth Lessing on a Surfset training board.
(Credit: Surfest Long Island on Facebook)