Downunder Kayak's new fitness routine

Surf into Spring

Ready for something new and fun? Shake up your workout routine with indoor surfing and paddleboarding lessons. Fitness & Surf, the latest extension of the ever-innovative Downunder surf and kayak shop in Saugatuck, is introducing fitness via surfing simulators. Guess what? It's a blast!

The short boards are mounted on half-mound stability balls, to give you that water feel—and that means engaging muscles for balance. You then learn and practice all the buff-body building techniques of surfers, like popping up to a standing position. Add music and an energetic and enthusiastic instructor, headed by Fitness Director Karen Jewell, and time will fly while you're getting prepped for summer beaches and water sports.

"It's about getting the surfing workout without the sand, salt and water," says owner Kim Beaumont, "and the bonus is for those who want to surf; you develop the skill and muscle memory to make the learning curve easier. All of our programs are about empowering people, making it easy to achieve—on water or off. There's an element of 'Can I do it?', and we help people get it."

Downunder launched in Rowayton and then opened in Westport in 2011. Since day one, Beaumont and her crew have rolled up their sleeves to get involved in the community. They arranged paddle for brunch and lunch events, so kayakers can fuel up at Moja and Riverhouse Tavern. They've also helped introduce water sports training to underprivileged children through nonprofits and other consulting work. And they regularly hold fundraisers to benefit organizations such as Save the Children, Harborwatch, Cancercare, and Soundsurfer.org.

On March 9 they held "Freezin for a Reason," a stand-up paddle for racers and leisurely experienced paddlers who were just looking for fun. The event benefits Sandy Hook and Newtown Social Services (there was a modest $20 suggested donation). "In particular, I want to help the first responders," says Beaumont. "Through the two 'Sandy' tragedies many of us have seen first-hand what they face to do their jobs. Downunder is fortunate to have a fun way to help."

Then in the afternoon, folks headed over to see the new fitness studio at 15 Ketchm Street, for a Health & Wellness Expo. People tried indoor surfing, met team riders, learned about a new junior training program that were run by experienced racers, and talked to wellness pros from local businesses such as ifloat, Zatcoff Nutrition, Physical Synergy, Saugatuck Studios, and Get in Shape. There will also be snacks and drinks from Embody, yoga and massage — and even took their chance at winning a door prize for a season pass to Downunder!

Whether you're a fitness buff or bored of fitness, there's lots of ways to charge up at Downunder.

FROM FITNESS DIRECTOR KAREN JEWELL:

"Regular exercise is key for maintaining your ability to perform ADL's (Activities of Daily Living) well into your retirement years. You will be amazed to learn how much strength, balance, coordination and range of motion all play a part, even when it comes to something as simple as reaching for a can in the cupboard!

Have you ever heard someone say that if you turn a light switch on you may as well leave it on as that is when the most energy is burned? Same is true for the human body. Exercises that include quick bursts of energy, such as performing a series of two- to three-minute cardio routines with a break in between, will expend the most calories!

Did you know that you get out of every workout what you put into it? That means you can burn anywhere between 300 to 800 calories in a single class—it's totally up to you!

Obviously, Downunder Fitness & Surf SUPnSURF and SurfSET programs are the best way to get fit—and have fun doing it!"

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