Top tips for staying hydrated during swimming, surfing & water sports

You know the benefits of open water swimming and have all your kit, so you’re ready to dip your toe in the water, right? Not quite yet… have you considered your hydration?

The importance of hydration during swimming

Dehydration might not be something you immediately associate with water sports, but it’s a swimmer or surfer's worst nightmare. Studies have shown that dehydration of as little as 2% negatively affects mood, concentration, cognitive ability, strength, endurance and overall performance.

It’s easy enough to become dehydrated on dry land, but being in the water creates a whole new challenge. It’s hard to tell how much you’re sweating during water activities and wearing a wetsuit also impacts the body’s thermoregulatory processes. It’s vital to replace the water you lose via sweat to maintain optimal performance levels and to generally feel like a healthy happy human being. Submersion in cold water can also increase your dehydration rate, as fluid moves away from the skin inwards to protect core body temperature.

Top tips for staying hydrated during swimming, surfing or any other water activities

Never fear, it’s pretty easy to stay hydrated when out for a swim, surf or kitesurf session, you just need to make sure you prepare ahead of time. These are our top tips:

  • Arrive hydrated
  • The best way to ensure dehydration doesn’t ruin your swim or surf is to drink around 600ml of water during the 4 hours before you take the plunge. Make sure you also have some carbs in you to provide the energy you’ll need.

  • Listen to your body (and remember your water bottle)
  • This is a little trickier, as when you’re out in the open water it’s easy to get fully absorbed in your swim or surf, but it’s important to always listen to your body. If your mouth feels dry or you experience a cramp, head straight back to shore and have a drink. We recommend keeping your water bottle easily accessible by your changing robe or poncho towel to avoid any unnecessary fumbling when you’re cold and wet.

  • Have a hot (sweet) drink to hand
  • Particularly important for cold water sessions. Pack a flask with a sweet, hot drink for the moment you emerge from the water. As well as providing an added boost of hydration, the energy boost of the sugar combined with the warmth of the drink will help your body gently warm itself up.

    But which are the best water bottles and flasks for outdoor activities? Check out our recommendations.



    Miranda Mazzarella looks after Ecommerce and Marketing at Vivida Lifestyle. When she's not making sure the website's working as it should be or creating our next email campaign, she enjoys meditation, yoga and woodland walks. Her happy place is sea snorkelling amongst the fishes.