Outdoors

Keys native Seychelle Hattingh takes standup paddleboarding by storm

Professional standup paddleboarder Seychelle Hattingh glides through the water on her standup paddleboard. Hattingh, a 2005 Coral Shores High School graduate, will attempt to break the distance record for a 24-hour period in December.
Professional standup paddleboarder Seychelle Hattingh glides through the water on her standup paddleboard. Hattingh, a 2005 Coral Shores High School graduate, will attempt to break the distance record for a 24-hour period in December.

Everyone has her or his own version of what’s fun. Seychelle Hattingh likes to break records.

The Upper Keys native just returned from an 11-city standup paddleboard race through the canals of Holland, where she won the women’s division. Hattingh, 28, was crowned supreme champion in the 2015 11 Cities 135 Mile SUP Race Holland. During the race, Hattingh paddled between 25 and 30 miles a day for five days.

“It’s a unique standup paddleboard event,” Hattingh said. “There’s no other like it in the world.”

What is the 2005 Coral Shores High School grad going to do for an encore? Officially break the record for the longest distance paddled in a 24-hour period. This is not going to be an attempt — she already broke the record, just not officially.

On New Year’s Day, Hattingh and Scott Baste, her boss at Paddle! The Florida Keys, decided to do some distance paddling. A day later, Hattingh covered 94 miles. The Guinness world record for women is 90.4 miles.

“We did it just for fun,” Hattingh said. “I broke the record and I wasn’t even trying. So I thought, let’s do this officially. That’s what kind of sparked this whole thing.”

The 24-hour men’s distance record is 101 miles. Yes, Hattingh wants to beat that too.

“My goal is 106 miles because I want to break the men’s record too,” she said. “I’ll be stoked if I get over 100 miles.”

Hattingh plans to achieve her goal Dec. 5 and 6 at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota.

But it’s more than bragging rights she’s after. Hattingh also is raising money and awareness for Special Olympics Florida Monroe County. The program in the Keys has a standup paddleboard team that not many know about, Hattingh said. Special Olympics does not charge any fees to families of athletes competing and training. The organization relies on donations.

“It’s a great program,” she said.

All money Hattingh raises will go directly to the Keys program.

Along with racing paddleboards professionally and teaching and giving paddle tours at Paddle! The Florida Keys, Hattingh also instructs paddleboard yoga for the Tavernier shop.

She also instructs yoga on the land at Key Largo Yoga & Holistic Health Coaching’s two studios — at mile marker 99.1 and mile marker 91.2.

“I am a vegan and perpetual student of holistic health,” she said. “I love standup paddling, yoga, training, travel and having fun.”

Hattingh has been an athlete her whole life, but thought getting paid to compete “was only a pipe dream.”

After graduating from Coral Shores and what she describes as a “brief stint in college,” Hattingh sailed around the world. She was a professional yachtswoman for eight years. She began standup paddling in 2010 and moved back to the Keys in 2014 to make paddling a career.

To donate to Hattingh’s world-record paddle, go to www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/seychelle-hattingh/24hour. You can follow her racing schedule at http://www.seychellesup.com/.

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