Gear Review: Skratch Labs Hydration Mix

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“Symptoms of hyponatremia include nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, loss of appetite, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms, or cramps, seizures, and decreased consciousness or coma.”

Well, thankfully, a year ago this week, I didn’t end up in a coma or have a seizure, but I had pretty much everything else. I was completely delirious when Lexy brought me home from the Onslow Bay Challenge race. I remember driving by this house (well, I was riding), that I go past every day and thinking “What is that? Where am I?” I have since come to believe that I was suffering from hyponatremia, brought on by drinking too much water and not enough electrolytes during the 10 mile, 3.5 hour, 113 degree heat index race.

We’re going to try again this Saturday. Everyone hope for mid-eighties for temperatures.

The Quest to Find Optimum Hydration Mixes

After nearly killing myself due to complete lack of knowledge about hydration, I started on a quest to find a sort of hydration formula that my stomach could tolerate (I can’t drink Gatorade after the OBC last year), had enough sodium, and that tasted good. I was only marginally successful. Until I stumbled upon Skratch Labs Exercise and Everyday Hydration mixes.

Now, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. And harking back to Amy’s last article, I’ll say what she said “YOU HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.”

Because I’m on a quest to work on my nutrition and hydration, I have found that people have VERY PARTICULAR tastes and opinions about what works for them. They ALL want you to do what they do. I’ll tell you right now: I’ll try many (but not all things) once, but I’ll do what makes ME feel good in the end. The Skratch stuff makes me feel great!

What’s in Skratch

You can buy two different versions: everyday hydration (which they say works great for hangovers, too! And I’ve NEVER known a paddleboarder to need a hangover remedy. . . ), and the exercise version. Here are the nutrition labels:



The formulas for both mixes have been carefully calibrated by Dr. Allen Lim. You can read more about how he designed them here.

Today, I went to buy some more Exercise mix at my local bike shop. (This mix was invented for cyclists.) Somebody looked at the label and said, “But the first ingredient is sugar.” Well, YES. If you drink gatorade, the first ingredient is sugar, but gatorade has a lot more sugar, as well as artificial colors, etc.

Let me be clear: I don’t drink this stuff if I’m sitting around in the air conditioning. I drink it when I’m paddling (exercise mix) or during/after a big day of garden photo shooting (yeah, that’s part of my job), garden errand running, and anything else that makes me sweat so much that I can taste the salt as it drips over my mouth. (GROSS! BUT REAL!) In fact, I drank some of the everyday mix today after a bunch of running around.

Personally, I sweat a LOT. I also go from feeling fine to feeling delirious pretty quickly. I have found, over the last few weeks, that incorporating the Skratch exercise mix into the paddle or workout routine, and the everyday mix on other challenging days, I can keep everything in balance much better.

I also like to drink Ultima, grape flavor, but it doesn’t have enough sodium for heavy sweating.

If I’m going to go surfing (for a couple of hours without hydration), I mix up a bottle of the exercise formula and drink half before and half after, or if I think I’ll be gone a long time, I might drink a whole bottle (16 oz) before and a whole bottle after to really keep my electrolytes balanced. I also drink a bunch of water before and after. On long paddles, I’ve been filling my CamelBak with water, and taking a bottle of the Exercise mix with me (a water bottle will fit where the PFD goes, and I can put the PFD on my board).

Skratch Pros

  • You can buy in bulk and mix your own (so no single serve plastic or glass bottles)
  • You can buy two-serving packets for convenience if you want
  • I feel great when using it!
  • It tastes good to me
  • No artificial ingredients, including no artificial colors
  • Just the right amount of carbs to give me a boost without being too calorically heavy


You can order it online here:

More sodium, better carbs, all natural