Water and bananas: very important for your surfing needs

You are about to go surfing. Your fridge contains a banana, cookies, milk, yoghurts, a bottle of water, a beer and a sandwich. Should you eat or drink anything before hitting the waves?

There are a few important and interesting things you should know about surf food. Experts believe you should adapt a meal or snack to the level of physical effort you are about to undertake.

So, if that last meal you ate was three hours ago, it's better to boost your body with something that will support paddling, standing up and carving. Avoid hot or too-cold liquids and snacks. Never drink alcohol before a sports activity. Bananas and water are excellent to fight cramps.

Surfers don't usually eat or drink while riding waves. It's not like in athletics where you can carry a candy bar in your pocket. There are special underwater bags for food and liquids, but most would agree it isn't easy to carry them.

If you're planning to surf for three consecutive hours, try stopping after each hour for a light refueling meal. Remember, except in extreme cases, you can practically never drink enough water - especially when you are highly active for sustained periods of time (and often in hot, salty, windy, or dehydrating conditions).

Carbohydrates - that is, glycogen - are very important for your muscles and liver. They help to maintain normal blood glucose levels, enhancing both physical and mental performance.

Sports dietitians say surfers should recover their bodies after surfing by choosing food rich in carbohydrates, protein and salt. If you've just been surfing for three hours you might have used 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour between the needs of your brain and body, so it's time to refuel your engine.

"Surf Food - The Ultimate Surfers Cookbook" is a collection of recipes from the world's best surfers, featuring mouthwatering dishes to keep you both entertained and well-fed. Also, take a look at a few surf training schemes.

Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) has developed a few guidelines for your sports nutrition plan. Here are a few tips for surfers:

What to eat and drink before surfing:

Breakfast cereal, reduced fat milk and fruit
Porridge, reduced fat milk, fruit juice
Toasted muffins or crumpets, honey/jam/syrup
Toast with honey/jam/marmalade/vegemite
Baked beans on toast
Low fat creamed rice, tinned fruit
Pasta topped with low fat tomato based sauce
Jacket potato, creamed corn
Low fat cereal bar/muesli bar/sports bar, banana
Roll or sandwich with banana and honey
Fresh fruit salad, low fat yoghurt or low fat dairy dessert
Smoothie with reduced fat milk, low fat yoghurt, any fruit
Soy smoothies with soy drink, blended fruit

What to eat and drink during a three-hour surfing session:

1/2 liter of sports drink
300 ml of cola drink
1 sports bar
1.5 cereal bars
1 sports gel
1.5 small or 1 large banana
45 g jelly babies or jelly beans
0.5 round jam sandwiches (thick sliced bread) and 1 tablespoon jam
Liquid meal supplement (2.5 scoops in water)

What to eat and drink after surfing:

Carbohydrate-focused:
Sports drinks
Fruit juice or soft drink
Banana sandwich fresh fruit, canned fruit
Sweet muffins Breakfast bar, muesli bar
Sports bar

Carbohydrate + protein focused:
Fruit smoothie (low-fat milk, banana, yoghurt)
Liquid meal supplement
Breakfast cereal, milk and fruit Sandwich or roll including meat/cheese/chicken in filling
Baked potato, baked beans, grated cheese