With the global expansion of the corona virus in the past two months, the world of professional sports has almost taken a break. Professional surfers who normally spend the majority of their years on the road suddenly find themselves at home – no matter what the Swell report says. On April 28, the World Surf League (WSL) canceled or moved the entire competition calendar to July 1, and even that can change.
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Since normality is far away and many surf spots are still blocked, professional surfers are more focused than ever on nutrition. Thinking is simple: a healthy body offers the performance advantage that is needed as soon as it is allowed to paddle out.
But surfers have a few extra variables in the fight for maximum fitness. These athletes are often exposed to the vagaries of an insecure and endless itinerary that makes it increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy routine. Professional surfers who are tasked with multi-day flight routes, brutal competition routes and calendars that change with every inconsistent wave report are traditionally forced to adapt their nutritional routines to street life or risk banging into some of the most unforgiving surf-ons Planet. Will their routines – designed for resilience and road use – become habits under travel restrictions and mandates to stay at home?
We've met some of the biggest names in the world of professional surfing to find out. From big wave surfers Ian Walsh and Kai Lenny to WSL brackets Yago Dora and Kolohe Andino, we asked the sport's top performers how the normal ocean athlete can keep an eye on nutrition when it's time again Chasing waves.
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Zak yle / Red Bull content pool
Men's journal: what's the biggest nutrition tip you've received over the years?
YAGO DORA: We usually buy groceries from the market and cook them where we stay so that we can better control what I eat.
IAN WALSH: I drink a lot of water when traveling! 64 ounces per flight keep me healthy and help fight jet lag.
It's also important to adapt to local foods and be open-minded to maximize nutrition where I am. Don't focus on what I'm missing when you're not at home. This way I make sure I get enough calories even though I don't eat what I'm used to. I like to experiment with new kitchens while I'm on the go.
KAI LENNY: trace elements. I have learned that your body absorbs water much better if it contains trace elements. Salt water spends most of my time in the sea and under the sun. It is very dehydrating and I need to be sufficiently hydrated at all times. I have felt a big difference in my feeling since using the trace elements. During my endurance SUP and foil races, these typical sweeter drinks interfere with my events by causing stomach pain. I moved around by taking a ball of the MR100 amino acid supplement before and after the event.
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Mohamed Ahsan / Red Bull content pool
How does your eating plan keep you healthy on the go? And why is it the key to your performance?
KOLOHE ANDINO: I think the greatest thing for me is to eat whole foods or anything that comes from Earth. My diet is mostly meat and vegetables – I try to eat paleo and clean as much as possible. I feel like I have more energy all day long.
I think providing your body with clean ingredients is a big step in improving your performance. My body enables me to take part in competitions and perform. Therefore, it is very important to feed him healthy food.
IAN WALSH: If I keep as close to a healthy diet as possible, I cannot get sick. There are so many factors when traveling that you cannot control, but I can control my (diet)!
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What is your miracle meal or drink on the tour or when traveling and why? (Doesn't have to be healthy.)
DORA: Paçoca. It is a Brazilian sweet, similar to peanut butter. With a good mix of energy and carbohydrates from the sugar and electrolytes from the salt, it gives me a boost and also reminds me of my home.
LENNY: Taco Bell Bean Burritos! I have had my best results and most amazing rides after dinner. It may sound crazy, but I promise you it's true. I tried longest perfectly formulated menus and I always had a big crash during a race or a session. For whatever reason, once I started eating bean burritos, I won races and events that I didn't have before.
Zak yle / Red Bull content pool
What is the biggest challenge in managing your diet?
DORA: There are some places where it is not so easy to eat exactly what you want. The more remote you have to adapt to what they have to offer, but even in these places you can still eat really healthy.
WALSH: In accordance with normal nutrition, the hardest part is – you don't know what different nutritional values you get in different kitchens.
ANDINO: We often eat out or there are limited options. So it's always a plus to find places you like and have good food. There are a couple of places on tour that have a restaurant that offers solid options, and I will eat there every night.
I often bring snacks and non-perishable goods in my suitcase to eat all day, which is very helpful.
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