Key Largo Paddler Comes Home From Europe A World-Class Athlete
A Key Largo native is making a name for herself in stand up paddling, and is now among the top 10 fastest female paddlers in the world.
Twenty-eight-year-old Seychelle Hattingh started using a stand up paddle board two years ago. Already, she has become a world class competitor. Hattingh just came home to the Keys after a series of wildly successful competitions in France, Spain and Germany.
“I knew in my heart that I was able to be competing at this level, but I hadn’t actually had the opportunity to do it yet, to prove it yet and so I got that this summer,” Hattingh said.
A video posted by Seychelle (@seychellesups) on May 15, 2016 at 4:47am PDT
While she is still celebrating her position as the eighth fastest female paddler in the world, she says she has big plans for the future. “It motivates me to want to keep doing even better, and to realize my ultimate goal which is to be No. 1.”
Hattingh says the island environment of the Keys inspired her to take up the sport. “Just having grown up on the water, having the availability where I can just put my board in from the dock at my house and go is pretty incredible,” she said. “So there’s no excuse to not get out and paddle, and not get out and train."
A former runner, Hattingh started paddling professionally somewhat by chance. “I got a part-time job when I moved back to the Keys teaching stand up paddling, and the board shop where I was working encouraged me to start racing. They told me I was actually really good."
Describing what paddling means to her, Hattingh says, "It’s a beautiful experience, it connects you to nature and you’re getting a great workout, so I fell in love with the sport. I think one of the main reasons I fell in love with it is because I live down here.”
If Hattingh’s winning streak continues, South Florida may soon be home to the world champion in stand up paddling.