The Ultimate Surfing Food: Raw Fruits And Vegetables

When you think surfing food, a pile of bananas probably doesn't come to mind. After all, most surfers are looking for energy-dense foods to power them through the waves for hours and keep them warm when temperatures dip.

But just as ultramarathon runners and scrawny guys looking to bulk up find themselves at the top of their game when fueled by raw fruits and vegetables, surfers are discovering a healthy low fat raw food diet keeps them at their best as well.

My personal athletic performance and health benefited tremendously when I went raw, but at the end of the day I'm not a hard core surfer.

So when Marc, a Portuguese surfer and reader of Raw-Food-Health.net, asked me if this diet would work for him, I knew I could only provide him with general answers.

To Help Marc out I've recruited devoted U.S. surfer and raw foodist Taylor Snipes to give him some tips.


Raw Surfing Food: Marc's Questions


Surfing Good Wave Ride

Raw Surfer Taylor Snipes On The Water

Marc is now 34 and and has begun to run into health problems that are slowing him down. He thinks raw foods might be the answer, but doesn't believe he can fuel himself with just raw fruits and vegetables.

Hi Andrew

There's so much interesting and compelling stuff to read on your website and I would love to get more raw, and essentially try being fully raw. But is it really suitable for me when I go surfing in cold water every other day? It takes a lot of energy and I really don't know if it's possible. I'm sure you are going to say yes, but Id love to hear it anyway :)

Everyone thinks I am so healthy, and I am compared to them. But I still eat a lot of grains and cooked foods, and slip into dairy as well. I always thought I was super healthy but as I get older (34 now) things pop up like candida on my back and between toes. Sometimes I'm just not mentally as energetic as I would like to be.

Because I live such a beautiful, outdoor, nature lifestyle I cant understand why I'm down (though I can imagine its the dead food I'm eating!)

I would love to go completely raw, but whenever I get tired I think no way, this cant be enough energy for what I am doing, I need food! Cooked warm heavy food!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks, Marc


Raw Surfing Food: Taylor Snipe's Response

The following was written by Taylor Snipes in response to Marc's question.

As a surfer for the past 12 years, I can confidently say that my surfing performance has never been better than it has been in the past 5 years on a low fat raw vegan, or, 80/10/10 rv diet. While at first I had some stuff I had to heal from (chronic fatigue, constipation, brain fog, insomnia, achy joints, chronic acne, and more), once I got over that hump my athletic performance (and health) went through the roof.

Raw Surfing Wet SuitAnd once I moved out to California (in Aug 2010) where there are consistently GOOD waves, my surfing has never been better and my energy has never been higher.

I literally surf as much as the waves and my schedule allow, which in the high season is around 20 hours per week, but which can go up to 30+ if the waves warrant such foolish behavior.

I study engineering full-time and pursue all sorts of projects in my free time, so I do have energy! This sort of lasting, sustained vitality is something I have only experienced since adopting this lifestyle.


In other words, it is DIRECTLY because of the way I eat and live that I am able to surf as much as I do—my recovery time is almost instantaneous; my digestion is perfect, allowing me to comfortably eat as much as my activity requires; I'm effortlessly hydrated; my body handles the sun so much better now (ie. I don't get sunburned nearly as easily); my sleep is deeper and more restful than ever before; my mental clarity is razor sharp; and more.

It's hard not to feel continually grateful for it all.


Raw Surfing Food: What Taylor Eats


Regarding my actual eating patterns on surfing days and days leading up to or following periods of high activity, I basically just eat the best in-season fruits and make the first meal or two of my day something that is calorie-dense–bananas, persimmons, dates, cherimoya, figs, etc, with juicier fruit and greens as my evening meal—I find that lighter stuff in the evening helps me sleep and recover better.

Sometimes I eat juicier stuff in the daytime as well, such as citrus, melons, papaya, and what not, but each meal choice just depends on how much water and fuel I need at that given time.

During swells where I'm surfing 2-3 times/day for days on end, I pretty much just eat as much calorie-dense fruit as I can comfortably digest, which usually means feasting in the evening (ideally I stop eating 3-4 hours before bedtime) and during low-activity points, and then just nibbling and drinking water during the activities.

Especially on those amazing days where I surf from sunrise to sunset, I just try to eat a few dates/bananas/etc per hour and rely on the prior day's eating to really keep me fueled.

Raw Surfing Food:

When There's No Time For A Break


Surfing Food SaladIf I'm surfing a spot where coming in every hour isn't feasible and I know I'll be out for 5-6 hours, I'll try to eat as much dense fruit and drink as much water in the hours leading up to surfing that I can.

That doesn't always result in the perfect digestion, but it's what works when I know I'm going to be in the ocean at full intensity for a long time (though in general, it's best to eat AFTER activity). Learning what works best for you in regards to eating requires some experimentation, but in general you want to make sure that you:


Taylor's Surfing Food Nutrition Tips
  1. Stay properly hydrated (peeing clear 10x/day, on average)
  2. Make sure you're properly fueled and are taking in enough calories from raw fruit.
  3. Consume some celery for sodium, and some greens in the evening to provide your body with alkalizing minerals to speed up recovery and buffer all that metabolic waste.


That's a recipe for high performance.

The massive quantity of food only works when I am VERY active. I dial the calorie count down from about 4-6k calories on super active days to more like 2,500 to 3,000 calories on "normal", less-active days.

I should also note that eating for performance requires knowing when to eat just as much as learning when NOT to eat—digestion takes a significant amount of energy and blood flow, even when you're only digesting fruit.

In general, the more you develop your own self-awareness, the more well-equipped you will be to interpret your own messages from within, including distinguishing thirst from hunger, tiredness from hunger, emotional issues from hunger, etc. We've learned to eat for many different reasons!


Raw Surfing Food And Staying Warm


In regard to staying warm in the cold water, I've never been able to keep so warm in all my life as I have in the past couple of years. Just gotta make sure to eat enough. And I've learned through my own experience that true health and vitality means being able to be cool as a cucumber in the tropics and warm as a bear in the snow.

The longer you live this lifestyle, the more that will become your reality as well.

Oh, and get a good wetsuit! If you can, get two so that you always have a dry one. Without a wetsuit, you’re obviously going to freeze, no matter what diet you’re on. Surfers already know this, but if you’re a newbie, I’d encourage a visit or two to your local surf shop to learn more.


Raw Surfing Food: Living The Raw Lifestyle


Now, I don't want to paint this pretty picture without also adding that there is a learning curve to this lifestyle, and some people have more kinks and health issues to work out than others.

Diet and eating patterns are just one piece of the picture, though they definitely play a huge role. Also to consider are the remaining physical inputs (sleep, pure water, fresh air, sunshine), as well as the non-physical stuff (relationships, community, living a life of purpose, living in service, subconscious beliefs/programming, a connection with and faith in Nature/Divinity/God/the Universe, and more).


Surfing Food Fruit

And, while a bit outside the scope of this response, many could stand to benefit from one or two well-planned, supervised water fasts. But more on that another time!

All in all, there is much to consider in terms of understanding and identifying all the aspects of health and how they connect with one another.

This is why taking on someone as a coach/mentor in the beginning can be really valuable – it certainly was and still is a huge piece of my own success. I know Andrew does a great job with this, and would like to put it out there that I also offer one-on-one mentoring/coaching, along with educational materials and classes (coming soon!)

I invite those interested to contact me via email TaylorSnipes@pathofhealth.org

Wishing you all the best that life and love have to offer.


Raw Surfing Food: Following Up


Learn how to eat a healthy low fat raw food diet.

Think healthy surfing food will be boring without fatty oils? Spice up your dinners with Savory Raw Dressings And Sauces.

Learn what foods are healthy and which are harmful.

Hear from other successful raw foodists.

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