Surf Physio Nutrition for Surfers

Surf Nutrition

Learn more about how to fuel your body for optimal performance and recovery

Nutrition for Surfers

Eating a balanced and varied diet that is well timed will help your muscles recover better after a session of surfing. Essentially within an hour post surfing we will need to eat to replenish sugars within in our muscles and aid in tissue repair.

Each and every individual will have different requirements, you will need to find out which foods what work best for you. 

Below is a general guideline of understanding more about healthy foods and how to fuel your body full of nutrients, minerals and antioxidants so that you can get the best out of your surfing.


Energy from Carbon and Water. Usually found in the form of glucose, lactose (milk is combination of glucose and galactose), fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (fructose+glucose).


20 Essential amino acids are nature’s building blocks for cells and tissues to regenerate. 

Questions to ask yourself include:

1. Do you feel more satisfied after a higher carbohydrate or higher protein meal?


Pre Surf

Hydrate. It’s essential to have good hydration for muscle performance as well as optimal mental function. Dehydration can lead to poor performance and cognitive decision making. 1/2L to 17oz of water 1-2 hours prior to surfing can make sure you are adequately hydrated.

Higher protein meals are best 1-2 hours before surf to allow significant time for digestion and a higher carbohydrate meal is usually required if surfing for a long session >1-3hour.  

Often times a fast releasing carbohydrate such as bananas or a smoothie will be an easy way to fuel up without feeling bloating or sore stomach when out on the water. 

Post Surf 

Hydrate. When we surf we don’t realise we are sweating to reduce our body temperature or to get rid of metabolites as we are surrounding by water or in a wetsuit where we have increased demand for thermoregulation. It’s important to rehydrate we might need between 1/2 to 1L / 17oz-34oz of water depending on cooler to hotter climates. Coconut water in the tropics or filtered water are great options. Include a pinch of salt, lemon or a basic sugar like glucose to improve absorption.

Within 1 hour post surfing you will need to eat a carbohydrate rich meal, this helps you rebuild depleted energy stores and help your the body to restore its glycogen levels (sugar stored in muscle) and the building blocks to generate new muscle.

Good sources of protein include:


  • Almonds
  • Brazil 
  • Cashews
  • Pecans
  • Macadamias
  • Walnuts


  • Pumpkin
  • Chia
  • Flax
  • Sesame
  • Sunflower

Beans and Legumes: 

  • Red
  • Black
  • Lima
  • Baked Beans
  • Chickpeas

 Edible Mushrooms:

  • White button
  • Portobello
  • Shiitake
  • Oyster
  • Crimini

Animal Based Protein: 

  • Sustainable harvested fresh fish
  • Mussels
  • Shrimps
  • Scallops 
  • Organic free range chicken, duck, turkey 
  • Grass fed beef or lamb

Healthy carbohydrates include:

  • Vegetables: Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Eggplant, Leeks, Peppers, Pumpkin, Squash
  • Root Crops: Artichokes, Beetroot, Cassava, Garlic, Onions, Potatoes, Sweet Potato/Kumara (NZ), Taro
  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, Kale, Lettuce, Bok Choi, Beet Greens, Swiss Chard, Sweet potato leaves
  • Vine Fruits: Tomatoes, Cucumber
  • Grains: Rice, Barley, Buckwheat, Millet, Oats, Rye
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth


Surf Physio Healthy Carbohydrates for Surf Nutrition

Tropical Fruits 

  • Acai 
  • Banana 
  • Cacao 
  • Cherimoya 
  • Coffee 
  • Custard Apple 
  • Dragonfruit 
  • Guava 
  • Lychees 
  • Jackfruit 
  • Mango 
  • Papaya 
  • Passionfruit 
  • Pineapple 
  • Plantains 
  • Rambutan 
  • Soursop 
  • Starfruit 
  • Watermelon

Sub Tropical Fruits 

  • Dates 
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Jujube
  • Lemons
  • Olives
  • Pomegranates


Nutrition for Surfers Blueberries Strawberries Raspberries

Temperate Climate Fruits:

Full of antioxidants, vitamins and carbohydrates for loads of energy

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Feijoas
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mulberry
  • Nectarines
  • Plums
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries

Good sources of fats include:

Great for nerves, skin and brain function.

A higher balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio is desirable. 

Avoid highly processed foods, trans fats and excessive saturated fat.

  • Avocados
  • Chia Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Coconut Oil
  • Ghee / Clarified Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Fish Oil

If you’re having issues with fatigue affecting your performance please see your doctor to assess if there is a medical issue or a nutritionist to assist you with developing the best diet for your performance needs. Have the right fuel in your body can help you boost your energy levels performance in the water and recover from competitions faster.