On the 12th October 2013, Stoked School of Surf teamed up with The Studio Group to put together an innovative ‘Surfilates’ workshop which was run on Muizenberg beach. Pilates instructors Claire and Nicole, each took a group through some surf specific Pilates movements on the beach.

The group was then divided into beginner and intermediate surfers and taken through a surf lesson where the groups were shown how the exercises they had just done in the Pilates class translated to their surfing movements.

It was a fun Saturday morning out and the feedback we had was so good that we have decided to put together some ‘Surfilates’ packages. These 4- week packages would include  a combination of 1-2 Pilates classes and a surf lesson weekly for weeks 1-3. In the fourth week, the Pilates and surfing will be combined as one continuous ‘Surfilates’ workshop on the beach. By students strengthening their core and working on their balance during their Pilates classes, we are hoping that this will translate to their surfing by improving paddling endurance, speedier ‘pop ups’, improved balance on the board, quicker responses to changes in direction on a wave and faster recovery after a surf session.

In my own experience I have found that Pilates is the best way to build ‘core’ muscle strength and flexibility for the specialized group of deep abdominals that so often get neglected in most exercise regimes. Having suffered from back pain for years, resulting in me not being able to surf for months at a time, Pilates has been the only form of exercise that has helped me. After three months of going to Pilates three times a week I went on a surf trip to Indonesia and was able to surf for hours on end with no pain. Pilates has also helped improve my surfing through better balance and flexibility. It is for this reason I feel so strongly about recommending a combination of both the Pilates and surfing for better performance and enjoyment of one of the best ways to spend a few hours in the ocean.