The best food and drinks for surfers

Surfing
Surf Nutrition: eat well, and surf better | Photo: Shutterstock

You are about to go surfing. Your fridge contains a banana, cookies, milk, yogurts, 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 the 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 that you may 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.

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

1. Breakfast cereal, reduced-fat milk, and fruit

2 . Porridge, reduced-fat milk, fruit juice

3. Toasted muffins or crumpets, honey/jam/syrup

4. Toast with honey/jam/marmalade/vegemite

5. Baked beans on toast

6. Low fat creamed rice, tinned fruit

7. Pasta topped with a low-fat tomato-based sauce

8. Jacket potato, creamed corn

9. Low-fat cereal bar/muesli bar/sports bar, banana

10. Roll or sandwich with banana and honey

11. Fresh fruit salad, low-fat yogurt, or low-fat dairy dessert

12. Smoothie with reduced-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, any fruit

13. 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 and water

Banana sandwich fresh fruit, canned fruit

Sweet muffins Breakfast bar, muesli bar

Sports bar

Carbohydrate + Protein-Focused

Fruit smoothie (low-fat milk, banana, yogurt)

Liquid meal supplement

Breakfast cereal, milk, and fruit

Sandwich or roll including meat/cheese/chicken in filling

Baked potato, baked beans, grated cheese

"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.