Surfer Diet: The Best Food and Drinks for the Waves

The hypnotic waves of the ocean, the salty breeze brushing your cheeks, and the adrenaline of catching the perfect wave—for surfers, these moments define their lives. Whether they are seasoned pros or beginners learning to become one with the sea, one thing remains constant: nutrition.

In this article, we will be covering what nutrients you need, some diet rules, and some meal plans to help you on your surfing journey.

Needed Nutrients

Surfing is a great all-around exercise. On average, one session can burn approximately 150 to 300 calories per hour. Here are a few examples of what your body needs to achieve optimal results:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • Saturated Fat (in moderation, of course)
  • Calcium
  • Iron

It sounds complicated, doesn't it? Surprisingly, it isn’t. In today’s world, we can easily find numerous supplements and markets offering a variety of vegetables and meat.

Diet Rules

It’s a no-brainer that surfers need to have a balanced diet. Pros go above and beyond to maintain their bodies. For regular folks (such as you and me), there is no need to subject ourselves to such disciplines. Instead, you can remember the acronym GOPHL:

  • Greens for days- Incorporating a salad into your meal will give your body various multivitamins and minerals.
  • Omega-3- Taking this supplement will enhance your brain activity.
  • Protein- Your body will need energy, and what better way to source it than in a delicious meal
  • Hydrate- Water is your best friend! After strenuous activities, rehydrating yourself will help your body cool off.
  • Limit carbs- If your goal is to lose weight through surfing, then limiting carbs should be on your list to get that dream body of yours.

Scheduled Meals

Parents used to say, “Wait thirty minutes after eating before swimming”, and that applies to surfers as well. To avoid feeling too full, it is better to give your stomach some time to digest the meal you have eaten before catching waves. 

For meals

  • 1 hour before and after

For snacks

  • 5 to 10 minutes before and after

While the saying has already been debunked years back, surfing with a full belly isn’t the best feeling in the world. This goes to show that even the tiniest detail can affect your overall performance.

Breakdown of Meals

As you know by now, what you eat plays a big role in your session and recovery. To save time, here are a few tips for planning your meals.


The primary meal of the day. Before hitting the waves, it is best to take as much nutrition as you can. Opting for carb-loaded meals is sure to give you the needed energy to last hours on end. Here are some meals and beverages that give you the needed count:

  • Cereals with yogurts and fruit
  • Avocado toast topped with egg
  • White meat, paired with vegetables and brown rice
  • PBJ Sandwich (a classic)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Ginger/Lemon Tea
  • Water

Pre-surf Snack

We know what you’re thinking. Yes. You just had breakfast. Why should you eat again before grabbing your surfboard? The reason for that is your body will be going through rigid movements. As mentioned before, surfing is an all-out workout, and you need to have as much energy as possible. 

  • Water (hydration is important!)
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Trailmix
  • Banana or Apple slices
  • Bread with a glass of milk
  • Yogurt Pouches

Of course, it is best not to over-indulge. You wouldn’t want your movements to feel dragging!

Post-surf snack

Now that you’ve conquered your first double-up, your body should be drained of energy. Take a look at our list below:

  • Water (or coconut water if you’re feeling it!)
  • Sports Drink (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.)
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Jelly sweets
  • Nut Bars
  • Fruitshakes
  • Crackers

For your body to recover, a high-calorie snack is recommended. Intake of water and/or sports drinks will greatly benefit your body. After burning almost 300 calories, your body should be working overtime now. How else could you better cool down than by drinking some cold beverages?

Carbs and some sugar will also replenish your energy; just remember that moderation is key to everything.


If you were to ask Pros what their meals are after burning a heap of calories, you might be surprised by their answers! This is the best time to gain what has been lost. Here are a few meals seasoned surfers take:

  • Burritos
  • Acai Bowls
  • Poke Bowls
  • Tacos
  • Burgers

The answers are endless, and all boils down to personal preference. It’s perfectly fine to treat yourself after a session. Don’t forget that the aim is to replenish the carbs you’ve burned!


After eating a lot for lunch, your next meal will likely be dinner. Having a light dinner would have to be the best option. It’s still a good idea to choose a meal with lots of carbs and protein. The muscles in your body will soon start their repairing process, and they will need all the help they can get.

  • Sandwich with salad
  • Grilled Salmon with a side of Vegetables
  • Beef Stroganoff paired with mashed potatoes
  • Fish Tacos with a smoothie on the side

What to Avoid

  • Alcohol
  • Fatty Foods
  • Too much caffeine
  • Spicy Food

“You are what you eat and drink”- at least that’s what they say. In this day and age, it is difficult to follow the meal prep to a T. Since you’re in it for the fun (or maybe even an aspiring athlete), there is no need to be strict about it. If you want to drink some beer after a sesh, then go for it! It’s all in your hands to balance things out.


That’s pretty much the basics on the best foods and drinks for surfers. Good food isn’t about strict rules; think of it as if you’re picking the right moves on your board.

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all diet. It all boils down to focusing on getting the needed nutrition your body needs. Pay attention to your body’s signals, and everything else will follow suit.

James Davis

Written by James Davis

I'm a true California local, and I've spent my life riding the waves along our stunning coastline. Surfing has always been my greatest love, and in my writing, I try to capture its genuine essence. My words aim to transport you into the heart of the surf culture, where the ocean and surfers come together in perfect harmony.

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