Ride some tasty manmade waves at Big Surf Waterpark’s surf school.

Surf’s Up

Written by Sunaina Tandon Category: Health & Fitness Issue: May 2017
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Board Games
Keep riding waves in these board-centric classes.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Offers three SurfSet classes, incorporating video, simulated movements and core training: strength and stretch, yoga and circuit. fairmont.com/scottsdale/activities-services/
Desert Paddleboards
Try paddleboard yoga classes in Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa, or rent paddleboards for day jaunts to the Salt River or Saguaro Lake. desertpaddleboards.com

Big Surf Waterpark
Surf lessons cost $150 per person
1500 N. McClintock Dr., Tempe
480-994-2297, bigsurffun.com

As summer bulldozes its way into the Valley of the Sun, the temperatures soar, the air gets drier and the waves get bigger. No, they’re not a mirage – the man-made waves at Big Surf Waterpark are real and made for surfing. The park opens in May and surf lessons begin as soon as public demand is high, typically around Memorial Day weekend.

Channel your inner Californian with a fun workout that engages your arms, shoulders, legs and core. Though it may seem intimidating at first, Big Surf’s lead instructor Don Bowen says it’s a sport for all ages. “I absolutely guarantee each instructor to be passionate about getting every student standing up and surfing, day one,” he says.

Skateboarders and snowboarders easily transition into surfing, Bowen says, but there are ways for others to catch up. He says burpees are the best workout to prepare for surf lessons because they condition your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings and abs. Swimming is also great practice because it challenges your cardio endurance while toning your entire body.

About 15-20 minutes of the first lesson is spent on land learning about safety and the provided board and leash. The leash wraps around your ankle and is meant to help you keep your board in control – and in reach – when you inevitably fall off. Instructors cover the basics, including proper stance and how to “pop up.” Practice makes perfect, as the adage goes, so on the second day of surf school you spend more time in the water mastering swift movements. You’ll be hanging 10 on some tasty waves in no time.

“Be ready to deal with your new healthy addiction,” Bowen says.