An Auckland based Dietitian (dietician) (West Auckland). Specialising in Diet for Sport, Diabetes, recovery, training nutrition and weightloss.
When I was younger it wasnt something I ever gave thought to. Now though …..well, I am a dietitian so I suppose I should think about this kind of thing. Should I eat for my surfing ? Will it help ? How? Annnnd will it make me a better surfer ?
These tips are just general advice and so are the food suggestions, for more specific or tailored nutrition get in touch with me or any other qualified dietitian. First things first, you have to have fuel if you want to go the distance ! Now when I surf I generally hang in till the bitter end, till I cant feel my face/feet anymore or until the waves have become so bad …..Im forced to belly ride in on mush, because Im trying to maximise my surf time , to maximise my wave time, to get better.
1) Fuel up before you hit the water , dont fill up.
Try get some good longer acting Carbohydrates in their. You want to last the distance and do not want your arms turning to jelly while your caught on the inside or battling a rip to stay in place.Im usually in the water 2-3 hours on average. I usually surf on the New Zealand west coast which means lots and lots of paddling! Which in turn means burning up fuel. SO before you hit the water make sure A) your hydrated and B) you have fuel on board. I like something easy because a lot of the time Im hitting the water first thing in the morning, I dont want to be too full but I have to have that energy.
Heres some ideas :
2) Keep hydrated , it will stop your performance fading
It will keep you sharp, why…..because all the research says so! The effect of the sun, the salt water and the exercise will sap the fluid right out of you! So make sure you have fluid to sap, hydrate. This includes when you get back out of the ocean, take water in your wagon.
3) Eat well, when your not surfing
To maintain your weight . Not just for health and heart and fitness. But because surfboards cost a bit of coin and we both know a few Kg difference makes all the difference to how your board responds in the water ! Dont sink !Eating right for surfing will make it easier to maintain the weight you want to , I mean you dont want to get to big and no longer fit your new multi hundred dollar wettie, Figure out what weight gives you your best performance with your equipment and try and stay around that by eating well. Watching your portion sizes and keeping the junk food to a minimum. Remember alcohol carries a fair whack of calories too.
4) Post surf snack!
Be prepared , it makes all the difference to your next surf . Restock your fuel stores (muscles ). So you can be out smashing waves for your 2nd or 3rd session of the day ……..well at least the next morning anyway .Ever get back from the water and devour everything in the house ? Or alternativly not get a chance to eat but feel fatigued for your next session?
If your a devour everything kind of person , at least your body is telling you , refuel! But you want to get the right food in at the right time (the sooner out of the water the better). You want to help your muscles repair so including protein is good and you would have depleted your glycogen (fuel) stores in your EPIC ALL TIME session so you need to replace them and research has shown the sooner you do it, the more efficient it is. If your like me and most other surfers, you are probaly heading back to your car so your limited on what kind of epic cuisine you can really create. Preperation is the key here.
Heres some ideas:
Will it make you a better surfer? Well No , not directly. But it will help you surf longer, help you get out for more sessions and reduce your fatigue…….so eating the right foods at the right time can help you maximise your surfing to help get you hit your goals! Got any other tips, let me know in the comments .
After working at the DHB for over 5 years , specializing in the area of diabetes both type 1 and 2 , I've learned keeping it simple is the best approach. If you do not get it right or perfect it's not a reason to give up or stop. It's all about progression not perfection !!! Diabetes keeps changing as do we, so to expect it always going to be the same is setting your self up for disappointment. progress with your weight, with exercise, blood glucose, HbA1c , knowledge, ratios ! not perfection. just try and nail the big things and often before you know it the smaller things fall into place . If you end up having a bad day , don't stress when the next day comes keep progressing :)