What to eat before and after surfing?

There is plenty of advice about nutrition on the internet and you can get into endless debates about it. Here is a simple guide with pictures about what you should eat before and after a surf session.

My main goal here was to make you feel energised before surfing and make sure that your body can recover afterwards. If you know enough about what you are eating to not over or under eat, you are already better than 80% of the surfers at your break.

Note: You can get a lot more sophisticated, but this is a good 101. I have studied nutrition as part of my university degree in Physical Education and Sport Sciences and I’m a certified personal trainer. 

How much to eat before surfing?

How much you should eat depends on your weight, physical conditions and how hard you are planning to go in your surf session. Here are some good guidelines:

  • Always eat latest 1 hour before your session
  • A 110 lb /50 kg woman should eat 15-18g of carbohydrates (60-70 calories) for each hour you plan to spend in the water.
  • A 176/80 kg man should eat from 20 up to 25g of carbohydrates (80-100 calories) for each hour you plan to spend in the water.

Here are some examples for surfer’s breakfast that you can find near any beach:

  • 1 medium banana (7″ to 7-7/8″ long) (118 g): 27g carbs, calories 89
  • Fruit salad (1 cup (249 g): 32g carbs, 124 calories
  • Avocado Toast, 1/2 Avocado, 1 Slice Multigrain Bread> 250 calories, 28g carbs
  • Low fat cereal bar (check the label, as these may be full of sugar!) Here is an example for Publix Brand – Low Fat Fruit & Grain Cereal Bar, Strawberry), 130 calories, 24g carbs
  • Smoothie with milk: similar to fruit salad in calories and carbs

Calorie counting and measuring portions

You can find food info on MyFitnessPal. I use their app to log my food intake, it’s free. You don’t need to be obsessed with calorie and carb counting, if you use an app to look up the calories, you will start to get a feel for the portions after a while. If you have a digital scale at home, measure a few plates of food before you eat and look up the nutritional info on MyFitnessPal to get a better feel of how much carbs and calories you are actually eating.

How much to eat after surfing?

After your session you will need to replenish your energy and recover your muscles. Try eating 20-60 minutes after getting out of the water for ideal recovery.

In general, you will need to eat a full plate of food, that should contain carbs, protein and vegetables. What you eat can vary a lot, but here is an idea of how much carbs and protein you would need. As a guideline:

  • A 110 lbs /50 kg female should eat:
    • 44.00 grams of carbohydrates (if you want to maintain body shape)
    • up to 77.00 grams of carbohydrates (if you want to gain weight)
  • A 176 lbs/80 kg  male should eat:
    • 70.40 grams of carbohydrates (if you want to maintain body shape)
    • up to 123.20 grams of carbohydrates (if you want to gain weight)
  • Protein: you should eat 0.25g for each kg you weigh, so a 176 lbs/80 kg surfer should eat 20g of protein (80×0.25g) to recover / rebuild muscles and energy system after your surf session.

Here are some examples:

Post surf food:

  • Protein: Steak, grilled chicken, fish: these are great protein sources and one serving typically contains 10-15g of protein.
  • Carbs: Your carb intake will highly depend on what kind of side dish you order. Here are two healthy sides that are recommended:
  • Rice: Serving Size: 100 g, Calories: 152, Fat: 3g, Carbs: 78g
  • Roasted Sweet Potato: Serving Size: 0.5 cup, Calories: 112.2, Fat: 4.5g, Carbs: 17g
  • Here is a full meal example: Thai fried rice (1 cup): 296 calories, 46g carbs

I’m working on a simple calculator that you can use on your mobile to help you with this. Drop me an email if you want to try it out.



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