Malibu is one of the best places to go surfing in the world. The breaks at First Point are incredible. Being that the waves are so good for surfing, many surfers can find themselves in the water for hours at a time. Making sure that one consumes adequate nutrition for these long surf sessions is essential. Surfing is a strenuous sport. Many times a surfer is required to paddle hundreds of yards to get past the white water and the breakers. Not only that, but if the waves are big, it will require the surfer to go underwater, otherwise know as duck diving, to avoid getting thrown around by the big waves. This means a surfer must hold their breath, which is tough on the cardiovascular system. A surfer must stay in shape physically and cardiovascularly if they are to have fun while at the same time staying safe. The ocean is no joke, it can be dangerous. This article will address recommendations for nutrition pre and post surfing sessions.
Pre Surfing Nutrition
Before hitting the waves, one of the most important things to remember is to hydrate well. Many surfers like to go into the ocean first thing in the morning (dawn patrol), which means they have just woken up. It also means most likely that they have not eaten or drank anything in over 8 hours. Therefore before going into the ocean a surfer should hydrate with water. Try to consume at least 16 oz of water for adequate hydration.
Because these dawn patrols are very early in the morning many surfers will drink coffee before they go surfing. But this is not recommended because caffeine can dehydrate the human body very quickly. Not only that but caffeine releases cortisol in the body which is a catabolic hormone. Catabolic hormones are muscle wasting and fat promoting very powerful hormones. Instead of having coffee with caffeine in it, a fast digesting carbohydrate like a banana, watermelon, grapes, or an apple is a much better choice for pre surfing nutrition.
Energy drinks containing caffeine is also a bad idea for pre surfing nutrition. Many of these drinks contain over 200mg of caffeine which causes a massive spike in cortisol levels and can dehydrate the body very quickly.
Foods To Eat Pre Surfing
1) Banana. High in electrolytes and provides moderate digestible carbs.
2) Orange. High in anti-oxidants
3) Nuts like almonds and cashews. The protein and fat in the nuts will provide sustained energy
4) Commercial protein and grain bars. Just make sure that if you are going to use a commercial protein bar make sure that it it contains minimal ingredients and grains. No need to buy protein bars, a simply healthy bar will work fine.
What To Avoid Pre Surfing
1) Coffee with caffeine
2) Energy Drinks or Energy Shots
3) Pre Workout Supplements. These offer no health benefits or advantages to the surfer. It will only dehydrate the consumer
Post Surfing Nutrition
After the surfer gets done riding waves post-exercise nutrition for recovery is recommended. Typically if a good swell is hitting the coast, most surfers are back at it the next day. Therefore food for recovery is important. The human body needs four things for post-workout recovery: protein, carbohydrates, antioxidants, and electrolytes. These nutrients are easy to consume and will help the surfer recovery from the surf session.
Post Surfing Nutritional Recommendations
1) Chocolate Milk. Believe it or not this contains all four nutrients needed for post workout recovery. It's known as the poor man's post workout drink.
2) Unflavored protein powder with fruit. One of the best things one can do is make themselves a protein shake. Combine the protein powder with fruits like banana's, strawberries, and berries. When choosing a protein powder, always try to get plain protein powder. Plain protein powder is better because you can add your own flavor system while avoiding artificial ingredients and colors, which are very unhealthy. A company called Proteinfactory.com has a great selection of plain protein powders to choose from like unflavored whey protein.
3) One of my favorite post surfing nutrition foods are the superfruit bowls. Just make sure that if you are going to order one of these bowls that you have them blend in plain protein powder or unflavored protein powder. Protein is needed to supply the muscles with essential amino acids.
In conclusion, surfing is a strenuous exercise. Surfers that consume the proper nutrients while avoiding the wrong ones will be able to perform their best, day in and day out as long as the swell still bringing epic waves!