Surf’s up, without the water at Revere Hotel

Air-filled bladders and elastic suspensions under the board simulate the instability of surfing.
Air-filled bladders and elastic suspensions under the board simulate the instability of surfing.(SURFSET Fitness)

Next week Bostonians will surf on the roof of the Revere Hotel Boston Common — minus the water. Seven stories above Stuart Street, SURFSET Fitness will launch its first official surf-inspired workouts in the city.

Its classes take the surf out of surfing, but not the exercise. Participants work out on a stationary surfboard, getting all the exercise without the salt spray.

Founded by three New Hampshire natives and put in the spotlight in 2012 by ABC’s “Shark Tank,” SURFSET got $300,000 from billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban. With Cuban’s support and the national attention a reality show can bring, the company says it now runs 780 classes each week as far away as Singapore and Prague.


Founders Mike Hartwick, Sarah Ponn, and Bill Ninteau see the rooftop as an oasis to bring the program back to the city where the idea developed. In 2011, the three crossed paths at a Boston Sports Club in South Boston and developed a workout regimen to prepare for a surfing trip. Soon after, SURFSET Fitness Inc. was born and is now based in Manchester, N.H.

The four styles of 60-minute class — balance, build, burn, and blend — use interval training, where participants can burn between 500-900 calories per class. Air-filled bladders and elastic suspensions create instability under the 35-pound board.

“When you are on that board you are working every single muscle in your body,” says Ponn, SURFSET’s marketing director.

Exercises include signature surf technique the pop-up and other maneuvers with surf-inspired names like wave runners, shark kicks, and duck dives. The moves combine for a mix of strength training and cardio.

“We take the fun of Zumba — get people moving and enjoying themselves — then take the challenge-yourself mentality of CrossFit and combine them,” says Ponn. “We want you to be smiling while you are challenging yourself.”


SURFSET classes at the Revere Hotel will be held Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit Classes are also held in Lowell, Pembroke, and Swampscott.

Alexa McMahon can be reached at