Europe was good to Keys standup paddleboard star Seychelle Hattingh, and her performance there showed her appetite for winning is nowhere near satisfied.
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Already a Guiness world record holder for distance on a paddleboard, the 2005 Coral Shores High School grad began this summer by earning the title of fastest paddler on Earth after winning a 200-meter time trial in Germany. She outrowed her closest competitor by two seconds.
"I was and still am so ecstatic with my results. I did better in Europe than I could have possibly imagined I would do," Hattingh said. "This was really a break-out experience in my SUP career."
She just returned from the continent where she competed for three weeks in the Standup Paddle Euro Tour. She excelled in long-distance races ranging from nine to 12 miles.
She finished the tour by coming in first place in the women's division in Bilbao, Spain. She came in second place in races in St. Maxime, France and Lost Mills, Germany.
"My results on the Euro Tour brought my rankings up to No. 8 female SUP athlete in the world," Hattingh said.
After achieving the distance record in December paddling 110 miles in Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Hattingh said she wasn't expecting to stand out in speed competitions this summer. But the idea did cross her mind.
"I asked myself before the competition, 'How cool would it be if after gaining the long-distance world record, I also gained the speed title,' not really thinking I would actually do it," she said. "I thought that was defying science a bit to have both speed and endurance."
Hattingh's recent performances, which include winning the women's division of the 11 Cities 135 Mile SUP Race Holland last year, are even more impressive given the 28-year-old began paddling competitively only two years ago.
"I know I have so much room for improvement still and I am going to keep training to get faster and stronger," she said.
And Hattingh is not done pushing herself.
"I want to be No. 1 in the World. I know I can do it. Everything I have set my mind to in this sport, I have achieved through dedication, good coaching and amazing support," Hattingh said.
Hattingh, whose day job includes giving standup paddling lessons and teaching yoga, is able to travel and compete in large part due to the support of local sponsors like Crossfit Key Largo, Remedy's Nutrition in Key Largo, Paddle the Florida Keys in Islamorada and Keys Mobile Chiropractic Care.
"This Florida Keys community in particular has been so supportive," she said. "I love that I come from a small, island town."
For more information on Hattingh's standup paddling, go to www.seychellesup.com.
David Goodhue: 305-440-3204