Life As A Surfer

Surf Nutrition for the Everyman

One of the best decisions any athlete can make is a commitment to make wise nutrition choices. Sports nutrition isn’t just a fancy college course for jocks anymore. Like any strenuous exercise, knowing what to eat before and after surfing is just as important as your efforts in the water. Knowing what your body needs will lay the groundwork for a good session every time out.




Your body will need energy to sustain a marathon session or to simply function well enough to perform at a high level for an extended period of time. Now is not the time to be scared of carbohydrates (or calories), the body’s preferred energy source. It is important to put some gas in your tank before you slide into the water. The trick to proper surfing nutrition is to know which foods to consume and which to avoid.  


healthy meal ideas for surfers

One important food characteristic is the time your body needs to break it down into energy. Ninety (90) minutes before a workout of any kind, but especially high energy ones like soccer or surfing, it is a good idea to put down some food with a low glycemic index (GI).  This means the foods break down more slowly and will provide energy stores over a longer time frame. This group of food includes most fruits and vegetables (except potatoes & watermelon), grainy breads, pasta, legumes, milk, and products extremely low in carbohydrates (fish, eggs, some meats, nuts), brown rice. Medium GI foods include whole wheat products, sweet potato, table sugar, and most white rices.  


Geat pre-surf meals:

1) Breakfast burrito with whole grain tortilla, eggs, ham, cheese, and black beans

2) Whole grain Cheerios with milk and an apple

3) Peanut Butter sandwich on whole wheat bread, glass of milk, and some mixed nuts. 




As most of us know, the post surf meal is one to relish. Is there anything like post surf hunger? None I know of. This is when it’s good for you to eat proteins, to help your muscles recover, and carbs, to replenish energy stores. Eating 30-60 minutes after exercise will provide the most benefit due to an increased production of enzymes needed to store energy and build muscle.


nutritious surfing meal ideas

Foods high on the GI index will quickly replenish energy stores after surfing. These include corn chips, corn flakes, Rice Krispies, waffles, potatoes, watermelon, croissants, white bread, doughnuts and straight glucose.  Although some items are good after exercise, for a healthy lifestyle it is best to follow a diet with low GI foods. Nutritionists have tied repeated glycemic “spikes” to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Lesson learned: high GI is acceptable after exercise, but not for lunch at the office.


Great post-surf meals:

1) Turkey and cheese sandwich on white bread with some watermelon and corn chips

2) Waffles with syrup, hash browns, and sausage links

3) Baked potato, white rice, and chicken breast


Sports nutrition is an important aspect to any athlete’s lifestyle. Surfers are especially prone to poor nutrition due to early morning dawn patrols, three hour sessions, and low budgets. Use the tips above to keep yourself healthy, full of energy, and ready for that second session.

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