Many of you will know Seychelle from the SUP race world, she is an extraordinary athlete and coach and now mom too. You may also recognise her as a familiar sight on the red and white SIC boards, paddling on the stunningly beautiful waterways near her home in Florida. As we emerge out of the winter in the UK I can only say I’m a tad jealous of the weather conditions in Florida, but I’m always inspired by Seychelle keeping it real and honest in her online interactions with the SUP community, as well as delivering top notch paddling advice and tutorials, which we have featured here at TotalSUP too. With the Carolina Cup happening in less than a week, where Seychelle will be in attendance, she is racing and coaching clinics, for which she is, in her own words, ‘excited and lit up with renewed passion’. I caught up with her to see what the rest of the race season looked like. We also chat retreats, SIC kit, and how life and training has changed after becoming a mom.
Welcome Seychelle, for those who may not be familiar with you, please could you introduce yourself?
Sure! I’m Seychelle. I live in Melbourne Beach on the East coast of Florida. I’ve been Stand Up Paddling for 9 years. I originally got into the sport to teach Stand Up Paddle yoga and my passion for SUP quickly grew into competitive racing. I am currently a professional SUP athlete and coach. Through 1:1 and group coaching programs, I help paddlers to paddle faster, gain confidence, and enjoy life and their sport more. I am also a new mom, a lover of Life, and super weird 😛
Please could you tell us a little bit about where you paddle at home, it looks like the most beautiful spot!
I live on a barrier island on the East coast of Florida that was once home to the Ais Indians. I live far outside of town on a rather isolated section of beach. On one side of my home is the North Atlantic Ocean and access to several of the best beach breaks in FL, and on the other side is the Indian River lagoon and many miles of flat water paddling and mangrove trails to explore. It is very beautiful and a paddlers paradise for sure!
Is this the same location where you hold your retreats? Which look like a lot of fun by the way!
I hold my retreats all over the US. This year I have one retreat in the Florida Keys, one in Washington state, and one in Arizona. They are SO much fun! A week of paddling, adventure, exploration, learning, relaxation, and fun! What more could a paddler want?
Life has changed a lot for you over the last year, what does training look like for you at the moment?
Ha. Yes, it has. My son just turned 1 year old! Can you believe it?!
Training for me looks very different than it used to. I used to follow a training program very diligently. Now I need to be very flexible on what my training for any given day actually looks like and just do what I can when I can. Luckily I have a wealth of training experience and knowledge and I am making it work in ways that feel really good for me right now. Sometimes I have childcare and can go for a paddle, sometimes I can do a strength workout in my home gym in the garage while the baby is napping, sometimes I take him with me in the stroller and go for a run, and sometimes he is sick or uncooperative and I can get none of it accomplished and I surrender to that.
How has becoming a mom changed your outlook on training and racing, if at all?
Yes for sure. I haven’t raced competitively in over three years and for a while I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to return to it at all. A lot has changed for me over that period of time, more than just becoming a mom. It has been a period of challenges and growth in my life and in my coaching career. As far as training and racing, I used to have a lot more ambition, discipline, and determination, a desire to prove myself. Now I feel a lot more purpose and devotion to my sport, a desire to give back.
You advocate a holistic approach to paddling, is there one thing that any paddler can do now to benefit their health, fitness and overall paddling?
There are so many! I’ll give just one as you asked. Take the pressure off yourself to make it perfect. (This goes for everything in life) When we think it has to be or happen a certain way, we actually constrict ourselves and our energetic ability to make it so. When we approach it with openness, flexibility, a “something rather than nothing” mindset, we keep the energy and ourselves open and are less stressed, more creative, and perform better.
SIC has supported you for over 7 years, what boards are in your SIC quiver this year?
Yes I am so grateful to be a part of the SIC Maui Ohana! I currently have an XRS 14×20, RS 14×21.5, Atlantis 14×22, Slice pro-7’8″, Swindler 9’0, Okeanos 12’6″ air, and a raptor 5’8″. (Though I have yet to learn to foil)
Do you have a board preference for different conditions, and which are your favourite race conditions?
Yes I like to have a board preference for different conditions though this is not always possible with traveling to races. My favourite race conditions would be a varying conditions course. One where there is a bit of currents and wind and dynamic water to paddle. Just getting back into racing, I am not sure what type of racing or race conditions are going to feel the best for me this year.
Can we ask what is on the card for you this year? Can we expect to see you at any big races?
Yes! Here’s my tentative race plan:
Carolina Cup – April 29/30
70/48 – June 2/3
Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis – June 23/24
SIC Gorge Paddle Challenge – July 22/23
Key West Classic – September 30
Chattajack – October 28
USA Nationals – November 12/11
ICF Worlds – November 15-18
Finally, the Carolina Cup is coming up, is that an event that you will be attending?
Yes! I am feeling SO excited to race and really lit up with my renewed passion and purpose for being here. That being said, I am not expecting to place very well at this event. I still have a long way to go in my training and fitness to be able to keep up with the top women once again.
Thank you very much Seychelle for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us, we look forward to following your year ahead. You can find out more about about coaching on her website and her Facebook page
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