Best Foods To Eat Before & After Surfing

🕓   5 min read

✏️   Updated on 26th March 2024


Welcome dude and dudettes, in today’s blog post we’re going to be taking at look at the ‘Best Foods To Eat Before & After Surfing’.

Believe it or not, your pre-surf and post-surf meals can have a big impact on both your session and how well you recover. If you’ve never thought much about your pre and post surf food, this blog post might be of value.

Here’s a rundown of the areas we’ll be covering…

1. When Should You Eat Before Surfing?
2. Best Pre-Surf Meals & Snacks
3. When Should You Eat After Surfing?
4. Best Post-Surf Meals & Snacks
5. Additional Tips
6. Foods To Avoid

Let’s get started!




1. When Should You Eat Before Surfing?

So, you might have heard an age old myth about going into the sea after eating.

This ‘rule’ was originally published in the ‘Scouts Handbook’ in 1908. Although it’s basically been debunked over the years, timing can still have an impact on comfort levels.

So, how long should you leave it between your sarnie and your surf? My personal timings are...

  • For a meal, 2-hours before
  • For snacks, 15-20 mins before

Like I mentioned above, it’s more about comfort than the ‘potential drowning’ warning given out over 100-years ago. The times outlined above are what I’ve found work best for me, you might be different. If you don’t know how long to leave it, try the timings above.

In my experience, these gaps give my body time to digest. This extra time helps limit indigestion, bloating and stitches whilst surfing.


2. Best Pre-Surf Meals & Snacks

So what are the best things to eat before a surf session and why?

Well to explain this in the best way, I’m also going to be using a nutritional index known as the Glycemic Index (GI). This helps us identify what food makes a great ‘Meal’ before a surf and what food makes a great ‘Snack’ before a surf.

I promise it’s interesting, so just stick with me for now.


2.1 The Glycemic Index

What is the Glycemic Index (GI) and what does it tell us?

In short, the GI is a measure of how quickly different types of food cause our blood sugar levels to rise. The index ranks food on a scale of 0-100. The higher the score on the index, the quicker that food is digested, which in turn, raises our blood sugar levels faster.

Here are some examples of food with their scores…


The Glycemic Index (GI)

So a trusty banana with a score of (54) is digested much quicker than tomatoes which have a score of (15). In this scenario, the banana makes a much better pre-surf snack (as it raises blood sugar levels quickly) and the tomatoes make a great addition to a pre-surf meal (as it raises blood sugar levels more gradually).

Now that we understand the GI, the next bit is all about those perfect pre-surf meal and snack combo’s to get you fuelled!


2.2 Healthy Pre-Surf Meals (Breakfast & Lunch)

  • Whole-grain cereal with Greek yogurt and fruit
  • Avocado on whole-grain toast topped with a poached egg
  • Bowl of oatmeal and a fruit and yogurt smoothie


  • Egg and vegetable omelet on whole-grain toast
  • Chicken or turkey, brown rice and roasted vegetables
  • Creamy tuna pasta with sweetcorn


2.3 Quick Pre-Surf Snacks

  • Water to fully hydrate
  • Banana and a handful of trail mix
  • Apple and peanut butter bites
  • Handful of jelly sweets




3. When Should You Eat After Surfing?

When is comes to your post surfing food, it’s all about refuelling your body.

For me, after a two hour surf sesh I’m pretty ravenous so I make sure to have a snack pretty much straight after getting out. How quickly should you eat after your surf? These are less strict than the pre-surf timings but my personal timings are...

  • For snacks, 5-20 mins after
  • For a meal, 1-hour after

It makes sense to give your body something to feed on in that first 20 minutes after exercise. A perfect post-surf snack should also have a decent amount of protein to help repair any damage done during the session.

After your snack you’ll want to start thinking about a meal to fully refill. Most of the time for me if that meal isn’t lunch it’ll be dinner (depending on when I’m surfing of course).


4. Best Post-Surf Meals & Snacks

So what are the best things to eat after a surf session and why?

For this bit we don’t have to focus so much on the Glycemic Index (GI) as we’re not as worried about discomfort during exercise. The best post-surf meals and snacks are more about refuelling the tank whilst helping with the muscle fibre repair process.

Here are some of the best post-surf snacks and meals that do just that…


4.1 Quick Post-Surf Snacks

  • Water to fully re-hydrate
  • Rice crackers with a topping of peanut butter and banana slices
  • Protein shake and an extra banana
  • Pita dipped in hummus with a boiled egg


4.2 Well Earned Post-Surf Meals (Lunch & Dinner)

  • Scrambled egg on whole-grain toast
  • Turkey, lettuce and avocado whole-grain wrap
  • Fruit yogurt smoothie


  • Salmon with sweet potato and greens
  • Chicken, whole-grain rice and steamed veggies
  • Turkey burger with a side salad




5. Additional Tips

One of the most important elements of this ‘Best Foods To Eat Before & After Surfing’ question is hydration.

Staying properly hydrated whilst surfing can have huge positive impacts on how well your energy levels are maintained during a sesh. Being surrounded by water makes it harder to notice, but in a two hour session as much as 1-3 litres of water can be lost.

With such a large amount of water escaping when we breathe and sweat, it’s not surprising that energy levels decline as times goes on.


Hydration is key

The best way to try and combat this is to make sure you’re properly hydrated before you head into the water. So, if you’ve had a few drinks the night before and are a bit hungover, don’t expect anything in terms of energy levels.

The second thing you can do is re-hydrate yourself half way through your session. If you’re planning on surfing for two hours then grab a quick drink of water (or even better a sports electrolyte drink) after the first hour. Honestly try it, you’ll be surprised how big of an impact it has.


6. Foods To Avoid

Along with all of the ‘Best Foods To Eat Before & After Surfing’ info above, there are also foods that you should definitely avoid before surfing. It’s a fairly short list but hopefully an obvious one.

  • Alcohol
  • Excess caffeine
  • Mega spicy food
  • High-fat foods

Once you’ve finished your surf however, the list above opens up completely (Yes, they may not be the healthiest options, but in all honesty I will always struggle to say no to a Maccy D’s on the way home from the coast).





And that my watery friends is pretty much that. Everything you’ll ever need to know about diet and exercise along with the ‘Best Foods To Eat Before & After Surfing’.

I’m hoping you all found this useful and may start to introduce some of the advice into your surfing routine. If you have any cheat meals or secret snacks for before or after a surf, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

As always, be sure to follow on the usual socials below to keep up to date with the latest surfing content!


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Next read: ‘Quick & Easy, Pre-Surf Warm-Up’

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