What to eat before and after a surf session

Ever heard the phrase, “food is fuel”? Well, these words are absolutely true when it comes to surfing which is why we have a guide for what to eat before and after a surf session. 

When learning to surf, the things you put in your body can heavily affect the outcome of your session and have a bigger impact than you might think.

Down below are some beneficial foods, along with ones you should avoid, that are great for what to eat before and after a surf session!


There can sometimes be a weird stigma about eating before any sort of physical activity. However, it is extremely important to fuel your body with the right nutrients prior to a surf session.

When the waves of Hawaii or LA are pounding, you don’t want to end up feeling lethargic or like you might pass out. You also definitely want to have enough energy for those brutal paddle-outs!

It is super important, however, to correctly time when you eat. It’s usually best to eat a meal around 2 hours before a session and fit in some snacks no less than an hour prior. This allows for optimal digestion time.

You may be wondering, “well, what are some good pre-surf meals and snacks”?

In regards to meals, try to aim for foods with a lower glycemic index rating, or in other words ones that will have less of an effect on your blood sugar, as well as ones that are denser in carbohydrates. This will allow for longer-lasting energy when you’re out in the water!

Down below is a list of some great meals that contain these elements:

  • Whole-grain toast with nut butter
  • A bowl of cereal with fresh fruit
  • Quinoa or brown rice with veggies
  • Whole-wheat pasta with tomato sauce

When it comes to pre-surf snacks, two of the best and easiest ones to reach for are bananas and muesli bars.

Now that you’ve heard about some great pre-surf foods, let’s talk about arguably the most important part of surfing preparation, hydration.

Hydration is the key to having a quality session, and something you should be making your number one priority when analyzing what to eat before and after a surf session.

Being properly hydrated will have an extremely positive effect on your energy levels, and it will not go unnoticed while you are out in the ocean.

If you’re not drinking a good amount of water, you can face the possibility of things like major fatigue which will have a huge impact on your surfing performance.

Make sure you’re constantly sipping on water or electrolyte-based energy drinks prior to your session!


While there are foods that can have a major positive impact on your surfing performance and energy levels, there are also ones that can have a pretty significant negative effect.

Down below is a list of some foods to avoid prior to heading out as well as why they can have an adverse effect on your surf session:

  • Super salty foods

Because hydration is one of the keys to having a successful, energy-filled session, you want to avoid foods that will make you dehydrated. An excess amount of salt will unfortunately do just this and can even increase your risk of cramping up while surfing.

  • Dairy

Any foods containing dairy will take a pretty decent amount of time to digest. Because of this, eating any type of dairy before your session can cause stomach pain and even cramps which can make for a pretty unpleasant surfing experience.

  • Sugary foods

You’ve probably heard the phrase “sugar rush” before in your life. Essentially, a “sugar rush” is the initial burst of energy you get from intaking sugar. However, they are also followed by a “sugar crash” which will have an extremely negative impact on your energy levels. Having a crash while you’re trying to surf can be a pretty painful experience.


Fueling your body with proper foods after a surf session is just as important as correctly fueling your body before.

This is because your body needs the proper nutrients to nurture and repair itself after a hard session, especially if you were surfing for a long time.

Try to lean towards foods that have a high protein content!

Down below is a list of great post-surf meals that do exactly these things:

  • Turkey burger with a side of veggies
  • Chicken with rice
  • Salmon with potatoes

For a lot of surfers, hunger can approach immediately after a long, vigorous session.

However, most people don’t always have the time to cook a gourmet-style meal right away, so it’s important to have snacks ready to go and on hand.

Like the post-surf meals previously stated, you want to make sure you’re reaching for snacks that contain a good amount of protein and nutrients that will replenish your body.

Two great snacks that do just this are rice crackers with nut butter, and a protein shake.

Hydration is arguably the most important aspect after a surf session, just like before.

You may not realize it, but your body will lose a lot of its water, especially if you’re out there for a while, so it’s crucial to restock your body with the vital fluids it needs.

Now that you’ve read about a few great surf foods as well as tips about how to prepare your body before a session and recoup it after, we hope you’re feeling much more prepared and knowledgeable for whenever you decide to head out into the beautiful big blue.

Good luck, stay safe, and have fun riding those waves! Never forget, food is fuel!


If you want to read about surfing and the physics of it read this article!

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