Surfing with Debra Rose


Fueled for Surfing

Winter is here, and along with it comes a change in our regular habits, our energy levels and our surfing routine. Beyond switching over to the 5/4 with a hood, 7mm booties and 5mm gloves, we make many subtle and not so subtle adjustments to how we approach surfing.

Maybe you were at the beach at 5am all summer so you have less crowded waves. Now, you wait a few hours until it warms up, sometimes even going in the afternoon before the sun starts to set. Hours in the water are shortened so you don’t freeze, and you surf differently with all of that gear. You are possibly more aggressive because you are chilly, or less so because you want to avoid going under water as much as possible. There is a chance you put on your wetsuit before leaving the house, and wear it home post-session until you reach your shower. Nature ultimately determines the conditions when choosing our approach to winter surfing.

We put ourselves through these winter rituals because surfing is worth it, and the lower temperatures are not going to put something we love on pause. Of the many things we are tweaking for the colder months, what we eat, the quality of our sleep and how we exercise should be paramount to handling surfing in the off-season.

Some surfers try to get into the habit of eating and sleeping with the seasons, going to bed earlier, not consuming meals or snacks as late in the day, eating local, seasonal foods, and revolving workouts according to the daylight. As the temperature, our energy levels and amount of sun exposure all drop in the winter, we have to adjust accordingly. Luckily this is the last month before the days start growing longer, so it is a perfect time to reassess your surf and lifestyle habits.

Are you getting enough sleep, and going to bed as early as possible, embracing the shorter days for modern-day hibernation? Is there a chance you are eating fruits and vegetables grown elsewhere rather than choosing foods that correspond to our area and climate? We certainly eat according to the environment while on vacation, why not continue that habit at home?

For surfing, it is important to take note of what your food habits are, especially the best fuel for you pre and post-session. There are many different strategies and approaches; raw nuts after surfing, no fruit before surfing, more juices in the summer, more tea and coffee in the winter, chia seeds soaked in coconut water for breakfast, lots of caffeine and healthy fats for your joints, brain and digestion, a yogurt, or no dairy at all, the list goes on. It is an individual decision so how you choose your fuel depends on what works for you.

All of it takes planning, discipline and knowing what your body and mind need. Eating is for energy not a moral dilemma, and once you figure out what works, make it the healthiest version possible. Food in its purest form, unprocessed, without added sugars is the cornerstone of your health, brain and your foundation to determine how well you physically function. When you are out there on a clean, glassy day with lots of sunshine and little wind, you can thank yourself for choosing optimal habits and fuel for your health and your life. If you start making those decisions now, your future self will thank you later.