The TURN Surf Betties: Katie (left) and Beth
TURN is the only fitness studio/gym in Richmond that offers the Surf exercise workout on Surfset boards. And because of that, we thought you should learn a little bit more about it, and why we brought it to our studio. Who better than to tell us all about how great and beneficial this workout is, than our resident “Betties” (that’s surf lingo for girls who ride waves), Beth Roach and Katie Hoak. Beth an avid surfer and surf instructor in the Outer Banks and Katie who is a former ballerina and fitness enthusiast turned instructor.
Tell us about yourselves. What’s your name and where are you from?
Katie Hoak. I’m from Greenville, SC
Beth Roach. From Surry, VA - a rural town on the James River southeast of Richmond
What brought you to Richmond?
Katie: After ten years in NYC, my husband (Jerry) and I decided it was time for a new chapter. He went to grad school here and when he got a job offer at the Martin Agency, we decided to take the plunge.
Beth: My best friends from JMU all moved to Richmond right after we graduated so it was where I wanted to be - with my friends, in a city and close to home.
What brought you to TURN?
Katie: I wanted to get back into exercise and something dance related. I found a Groupon for TURN and decided to give it a try because it had a ton of classes that interested me. Ironically, Surf was the first class I attended and I was hooked.
Beth: Seo (Kelleher) recognized my love for the boards when the program was at Shockoe Slip Yoga. She took me under her wing when she helped launch the program at TURN. We took a chance on the program being more successful at TURN and we were right!
Why did you decide to teach Surf?
Katie: It became a bit of an obsession. I loved the challenge of adapting regular exercises to the board and mastering my balance.
Beth: A big part of my vision early on was to provide opportunities for people to get comfortable with the mechanisms of surfing and then use my connections at the beach to get them actually surfing in the water. I didn’t set out to become an instructor but it became a natural fit. Surf is fun and makes us happy. Happier people make a better world. We’re changing the world here folks!
What is the most challenging/rewarding?
Katie: The most rewarding has been watching my students have fun and get stronger/more confident each week. I’m a big proponent of “work hard, play hard” and I think this class gives you both but is also silly and fun. It is land surfing after all!
Beth: It has allowed me to be creative in unusual ways. 2.5 years ago we used a strict format. Now, the program has transformed into what you can expect from a real surf session. We paddle out. Work on catching waves. Then, finish with epic rides, poses, or dance moves. I spend a lot of time selecting my music too so my inner aspirations of being a deejay have finally come true.
What’s the most common misconception about the Surf program?
Beth: That surf is way too hard! There are modifications and amplifications for all fitness levels.
How comparable is it to real surfing?
Katie: Very comparable. It’s probably the best simulation you can find to help you prepare for any water sports. I went surfing for the first time in June (9 months after I started doing Surf Fit) and was pretty much blown away by how much the skills we were teaching in class helped me do what I needed to do in the water. The same was true with paddle boarding. My core balance is so much better than it used to be.
Beth: The movement of the board definitely mimics how it feels to move in the water. However, the water def throws some serious challenges. I can’t teach you how to read the waves on a Surfset board, but I can help you visualize and practice the steps you need to catch the wave.
How has Surf helped your health and fitness goals?
Beth: The first time I paddled out in spring after using the boards all winter, I felt a lot less rusty. I was sold then.
Katie: I feel like I’m stronger, more toned, excited for class and never bored.
What’s your favorite thing to do at the end of class?
Katie: Surf Drills! Which pulls together all the things we’ve worked on in class. We blast a really great song like Hawaii 5-0 and just go hard for 2-minutes!
Do you think this program has longevity?
Beth: Yup! I don’t think people will get tired of going to the beach ever. I hope that they are inspired to take a lesson some day!
What’s your favorite thing to do after class?
Beth: Enjoy Scott’s Addition watering holes and chill with the squad.
Katie: I love dragging the surf boards over to the TURN sign and taking photos. Especially Boomerangs of everyone together in different poses.
Surf classes with Katie and Beth take place Wednesday 6:30am, Thursday 7:00pm and Saturdays at 11am.
About the Author
Sandi Cauley is a small business owner, fitness instructor, dancer and retired broadcast journalist. She operates Turn Cardio Jam Studio in Richmond, VA (founded in 2015) with goals to mesh dance + fitness and connect others with some of their youth. She is also a 3 x boy mom, a Tejana, a wannabe