National Surfers Make Intelligent Nutrition Decisions April 23 2018

Nota: Para el version español, haz clic aqui. 

The power behind talent come from the nutrients that we put in our bodies. Surfers already know this. If you have all the talent in the world but enter a heat dehydrated, you talent isn't worth much. Maybe one day you were feeling super well in the ocean, catching your best waves with strength and another day, no. It can be because of the condition of the ocean or lack of sleep, but also can be for the body's condition. And the body needs the energy of food. In fact, it's important to plan your diet to accomodate your training and competitions. Mario Rios, coach for the National Selections of Surfing, explains that every person is unique and what functions for one doesn't function for another.  

Mario Rios con La Sele Jr. De Surf 2017

The National Junior Surf Team  2017. Photo: Mario Rios 

"For hereditary reasons, your metabolism is unique. Cutting-edge research shows that no single diet works well for everyone-the very same foods that keep your best friend slim may keep you overweight and feeling unhealthy and fatigued.” Mario Rios, coach, Federation of Surf Costa Rica

We are blessed to live en a county where there is an abundance of fruits and vegetables that grow all year. They provide many of the vitamins and minerals that are recommended in general in agreement with the food pyramid, but also are not for everyone because of the sugar. Athletes need to eat in a way that accomodates their training, lifestyle, and in accordance with their individual metabolism. 

Nationals surfers share with us how they make intelligent nutrition decisions in the foods they eat. 

What are your preferred foods on a comp day and in general during training?

Rubiana in her backyard at Avellanas. Photo: Fredo Barquero

Rubiana Brownell: Generally, I don't eat a lot on a competition day. I like to eat fruits and maybe drink a coconut water before a hear. If I eat heavier food, like gallo pinto or a sandwich, it's only if I have a couple hours to digest completely before competing. 

Before a competition, I am not very strict with what I eat, I just try to avoid dairy and sugar.

When I am training day to day I try to incorporate as many organic fruits and vegetables as possible. 


Aron in the tube, Marbella. Photo: Fredo Barquero 

Aron Alvarez:  The day before a contest I like to eat pasta because it's not too heavy. During a competition in the heats, I don't eat a lot until I know that I am not competing again. Even more so, I stay hydrated with a lot of water, Adrenaline, Powerade or other energy drink. 

Beto Muñoz, Semana Santa Classic, Dominical / Photo: Paul Gerace

Beto Muñoz. In general, I really like casados, rice, beans, gallo pinto, eggs, bacon, cheese and avocado. Always something light in contests, fruits.  

Paulina y Camila Summers from the Caribbean eat a lot of local fruits in their diet.

Paulina Summers:

Before the events we eat foods high in potassium like bananas and potatoes. In general we eat a lot of garlic, lemon,watermelon,apples,oranges, pineapple,broccoli, and tomatoes. I don't drink coffee and I avoid sugar before a heat. If I am competing in a lot of heats, I try to eat fruit in between them. 

Aldo Chirinos, Avellanas. Photo: Fabian Sanchez, Surfing Nation 

Aldo Chirinos Flecha:

The night before a contest, I generally eat pasta. Before a heat, I prefer to eat small portions of food, rice, beans, with fish or chicken. It depends on how much time I have. And if not, I'll eat fruits and nuts. In my daily training, i eat a lot for lunch and dinner, but while I am competing I don't eat much, but healthier. 

Coral Wiggin, Little Hawaii this morning. Photo: Freddie Wiggins 

Coral Wiggins: 

My daily diet consists of portions of rice, beans, plantains, salad and protein from chicken or fish. During competition I don't really feel like anything so I drink a lot of protein shakes with fruit (strawberries, blackberries, banana and papaya) and light food. During a competition day the most important is to hydrate myself. I drink Electolit and water. 

Eva Woodland, Santa Teresa. Photo: Fabian Sanchez 

Eva Woodland: On competition days I drink as much water as I can. I eat alot of fruits and vegetables. My favorite fruits in Costa Rica are granadilla, avocado and pineapple. I try to eat a lot of carbs to maintain my energy so I eat bread, rice and beans. I am pescatarian and try to avoid lactose products as much as possible. Wherever I travel to, I try to continue eating healthy. Normally, I eat a lot of homemade meals. 

Do you have a favorite local restaurant? 

Rubiana:  My favorite local restaurant in Cabinas Las Olas in Avellanas and Pimiento Verde in Tamarindo. It's not a restaurant but where I get all of my organic food. 

Rubiana buys all her organic vegetables at Pimienta Verde in Tamarindo. 

Beto:  Rustico, Wishbone and Pizza Shop. My favorite is the chicken special at Rustico. 

Aldo:  My favorite restaurant in Playa Negra is Cafe Playa Negra (Peruvian restaurant) and Jalapeños (Mexican food). 

Aron: Yes, my favorite local restaurant is Rustico, it's the best. 


More than anything, Mario Rios focuses on the importance of hydration. An athlete needs to drink water before, during and after an activity. Without that, he or she is going to experience headaches and is not going to have a lot of strength. 

"I recommend water with marine salt, that you can find in the supermarkets. Also, coconut water. It's totally natural, without artificial coloring or sweeteners and you can find it everywhere in the country. But it is also not for everyone." 

Coral  prepares her own protein shakes at home with strawberries, blackberries, banana and papaya. 

“It's very important that the surfer enters the ocean well hydrated. Water alone is not sufficient because it doesn't stay in the body. You need the electrolytes. Because of this, add three cubes of sea salt to the water."- Mario Rios

What are you favorite foods for training and for contest days? We'd love to know! Leave a comment below. 


 Mario Rios, coach, Federation of Surf Costa Rica

Follow Pura Vida Board Gear on instagram @puravidaboardgear 

Author: Kate Hanley

Many thanks to the Federation of Surf Costa Rica for their collaboration on this article and to all the surfers that participated: Coral, Rubiana, Eva, Beto, Aldo, Camila and Paulina, and Aron.

The fifth date of the National Surfing Circuit will be the 26th and 27th of May in Playa Behuco. 

Let's continue a healthy lifestyle, helping each other to make intelligent decisions. Pura Vida!

All photos courtesy of Mario Rios, Freddie and Coral Wiggins, Rubiana Brownell, Eva Woodland, Paulina Summers, Aldo Chirinos and Aron Alvarez.