Four Nutrition Tips To Help You Surf At Your Peak

27 Nov 2017 1 Share

Story provided by The Surf Meal Co

When surfing, everyone wants to surf as well as they can, for as long as they can. For recreational surfers, your energy level and muscle function can be the difference between the wave of the day and a trip to Nemo’s house; for competitive surfers, it could mean winning the heat or packing your bags. Surfing is climbing to higher levels of commitment and professionalism and so surfers are now having to making conscious choices about their diet and nutrition to remain at the top of their game.

Here are our four surf nutrition tips to help you perform at your peak:

1. Adequate hydration

Every surfer has to tackle this issue – we find ourselves surrounded by water with nothing to drink. Even though we may not feel ourselves sweating, while surfing our bodies lose water due to the physical exertion and the high osmotic gradient, and often coming back to shore isn’t an option, because of this we can find ourselves going for hours without replacing the water we lose out in the line-up. The best way to combat this is to ensure you are well hydrated to begin with. The human body requires adequate hydration to function properly – even a two per cent drop in adequate hydration can lead to poor muscle function, loss of strength and decreased stamina. Adding BCAAs (including The Surf Meal Co BCAAs) to your water (Leucine, Isoleucine & Valine) will help delay fatigue and improve mental and physical performance by increasing rates of protein synthesis and suppressing muscle protein breakdown. This aids in recovery and helps to reduce sore muscles for following sessions.

2. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet

Our second tip is a healthy balanced diet full of good quality whole foods. Now, this isn’t going to be news to anyone – how often on remote surf trips (whether that be camping, from a boat or overseas) do you start to crave some good old vegetables after a week on noodles, BBQ meat and tins? Sometimes it’s not practical to bring all that fresh food with you and you’d be lucky to get one of those organic vegetable boxes delivered to Gnaraloo!

Slipping a tub of Greens powder in the Esky is a great way to get all good nutrients that you crave and would normally get from your veggies without the dramas of storing and transporting fresh produce. While a powder should never replace what should be a solid intake of weekly veg, the hassle-free transportation is a really convenient way of getting some great organic, natural nutrients to keep you shredding, and the benefits are even more obvious when used in conjunction with wholefoods.

3. Maximising your energy prior to each surf session

Ok, so we know that we have to eat well to be healthy and do the things we like doing. But what about the early? Easier said than done, right? You’re up before the garbo to hopefully score some uncrowded waves before the crowd or winds inevitably set in, and now you have to have a big breakfast to keep you going for the session!? Often the last thing you feel like doing is eating straight after you wake up and even if you do, it will most likely leave you feeling sluggish for the first hour of the surf (typically recovering just as everyone else is getting out there). To avoid this nightmare scenario, it’s best to keep some breakfast bars that have a balanced carbohydrate and protein ratio in the glove box and eat one on the way. Carbohydrates are our bodies preferred fuel source and the protein will help keep you feeling full; find a bar you enjoy that also includes L-glutamine as this will aid stomach function, helping your body process the nutrients! There is no need for excessively protein-rich bars because we aren’t looking to build muscle, just to keep them going for as many waves as possible! Such bars are perfect for the days where you are scoring multiple sessions (lucky bugger) or even between heats if that’s your scene. Basically, something small and power packed to keep you focused and able for the job at hand – getting barrelled!

4. Optimising post-surf for recovery with adequate nutrition and hydration

Largely overlooked is the post-surf ritual. Our recovery routine is just as, if not more, important, than the pre-surf one. How many people do you see at your local car park stretching down after the session? Or actively replenishing the energy and nutrients they just used (Bintangs in the pool don’t count)? No sooner are we out of the water, then we are sitting in a car on the way to work or “recovering” in front of the TV. It may not feel like it, because surfing is really fun, but a two-to-three hour surf is some serious exercise; you are actually losing electrolytes through sweat the whole time and in a typical surf of this length with say 30-plus waves you are looking at travelling over 15 kilometres and using 1500-plus calories. So, to avoid ceasing up, sore backs and dehydration (particularly if you want to get back out there in a hurry), mirror your pre-surf routine when you get back on land.

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