Seychelle SUP & Paddle Monster Team Up: 2024 Spring Training Camp in Wrightsville Beach North Carolina

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of joining Seychelle for her first training camp of the year with co-host Larry Cain from Paddle Monster in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Seychelle and Larry hosted 18 athletes that came from all over the United States, Canada, and even Europe! We stayed in a house only a few doors down from the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. I had actually stayed in this exact house a couple of years ago back in 2022 with my fellow Canadian athletes, so coming back to the house felt like coming home. We enjoyed a full week of training twice a day, refining our skills, working on drills, and nailing down techniques that set us up for success for our races at the end of the week. We all had our own unique individual goals to accomplish at the end of the week competing in our own races with the Carolina Cup event. Some of us competed in the harbor island race, some in the money island race, and a few of us in the famous graveyard race.

We arrived at the house on Monday April 22nd in the early evening. We started getting to know each other by playing a fun meet & greet game on the front porch that made us all smile and open up to each other. It was extremely fun watching everyone bond so quickly and get to know each others paddling backgrounds. Afterwards we had a nice family dinner that was poke bowls made by Seychelle’s husband Will. He cooked all of our meals throughout the week which was just absolutely incredible and delicious! He nailed every single meal to perfection! I swear I want people to join these clinics and retreats with Seychelle just to eat Will’s food! All of the athletes in the camp thanked Will immensely too as everyone appreciated eating such a wide range of healthy, diverse foods all week.

Our first night together on the front porch

Poke bowls made by chef Will!

On Tuesday April 23rd during the morning clinic Seychelle and Larry went over basic paddling stroke technique. I also was able to capture a video of everyone paddling on their left and right side so that we could use the footage for a video analysis session later on in the week. For the second session in the afternoon we split the group up, so half could train with Larry on the inter-coastal side, and the other half could play in the waves with Seychelle on the ocean side. Both groups had so much fun learning how to refine their technique with Larry, and also learn how to get out past the wave break and surf their race boards back in with Seychelle. Everyone in Larry’s clinic loved learning how to refine their stroke technique and were making major improvements quickly since the morning session, while everyone in Seychelle’s clinic had a blast playing in the waves! One athlete in particular I remember watching was Lori, and she caught the most epic wave of the day! We were screaming for joy watching her shred all afternoon. We ended the day with watching the full moon rise together on the beach which was also super special.

Coach Seychelle and Coach Larry’s morning clinic running through stroke technique

Coach Seychelle and Coach Larry’s morning clinic running through stroke technique

Coach Seychelle’s afternoon clinic on the ocean

Enjoying Taco Tuesday 🙂

Watching the full pink moon rise over Wrightsville Beach

On Wednesday April 24th we started the morning session with video analysis! We had a blast getting super analytical watching everyone’s paddle stroke on the right side. It was like watching a 2.5 hr movie that was commentated by Seychelle and Larry. During that session it was quite fascinating to watch them work so well together, breaking down everyone’s stroke technique and explaining the things that they either do the same or slightly different with their own paddling styles. They are both phenomenal teachers and knew exactly what to say to every single paddler in order to help them improve their stroke technique to ultimately get faster. Everyone in the room learned something from watching each other’s stroke, and it was pleasurable watching the group continue to grow closer together. After lunch our afternoon session consisted of learning how to paddle downwind, upwind, and in side chop. It was challenging to say the least, but everyone walked away learning something new about themselves, whether that be how to stay calm, paddle hard, and how to push their own limits. I can personally say I am super proud of everyone for making it through the challenging conditions we had that day! This is when Larry’s famous quote “Love the Conditions” comes into play! Not every paddle is going to be easy, but when you learn to embrace whatever conditions you got… paddling in the hard stuff can become quite enjoyable. I kept repeating that quote in my head leading up to my own race as the week went on, knowing that the forecast for Graveyard was predicting a challenging ocean…

Everyone gathered in the living room analyzing stroke technique together

Coach Seychelle and Coach Larry explaining efficient stroke technique

The team enjoying our stroke analysis session 🙂

Warming up for our windy afternoon session

Coach Seychelle paddling downwind with her awesome athletes

Thursday April 25th the morning session consisted of steering drills and techniques, while the afternoon session consisted of footwork and practicing pivot turns. The sun was shining, the winds were light, and we honestly had so much fun just focusing on these super specific skills. Everyone was falling in, laughing, smiling, and enjoying their time learning how to walk up and down their boards together. That was another very special moment in the camp I feel honored I got to witness… Everyone acting freely and child-like just having pure fun and enjoying the stoke that SUP brings us all. After the afternoon session Larry and I sat down on the back porch of the house and had a really genuine coach to athlete conversation about the goals I wanted to achieve with my own race for Graveyard. I explained to him that “the quality of the women’s field is high this year, and I know my speed is improving, so the result doesn’t necessarily matter to me, so I want to paddle hard, but I also want to paddle smart”. We ended up having a great discussion about taking risks while I have the opportunity to paddle with some of the most elite women I know and see how that pays off. Seychelle shortly approached us and entered the conversation. We ended up also talking about the satisfaction of taking risks, winning, and what matters more at the end of the day. Is it the result? Or the people that get to greet you at the finish line when you’re done with your performance? We all agreed – it’s the people and the love that matter more.

Coach Seychelle and Coach Larry explaining steering drills

The team having fun during pivot turn practice

All smiles during pivot turn practice!

Coach Larry and Coach Seychelle teaching footwork skills and drills

Friday morning we walked our athletes through a pre-race warmup routine so that they could try to learn how best to prepare for the start of their races. After pulling some hard strokes, we got off the water early and went back to the house to go over the race courses on our big screen TV and talk about race strategy. After brunch we made our way over to the Blockade to pick up our race registration packets. We spent the rest of the day preparing in our own ways for all of our races that were going to happen the next day. As a group, you could feel the tension, and pre-race nerves, but we all respected each other’s pre-race nightly routines and had a lovely quiet evening before race day.

Stoked outside of the blockade runner after picking up our race packets

On Saturday April 27th, we raced, we rocked it, and we all had SO MUCH FUN enjoying our time on the water! Almost everyone in our training camp had made the podium including Seychelle and Larry! HOW COOL IS THAT!? At 5:30pm after the awards ceremony we met up on the dock across from our house to have a race debrief session where we all had a chance to share our race reflections. It was heartwarming and inspiring to hear everyone’s racing stories, and takeaways from our week that we had spent together. We all truly appreciated our time on and off the water learning, growing, and becoming faster together. Spending time with everyone on the dock after our races made me understand the value in paddle coaching and why these types of training camps are important. We all get to take away valuable pieces of information that we may not have been able to learn training at home (which oftentimes we do alone) and how getting REAL TIME feedback from professional athletes like Seychelle and Larry are incredibly important. I already cannot wait for the next training camp to keep learning and improving alongside coaches Seychelle and Larry and to see the next rad group of fun, awesome, stoked paddlers come up!

Our final farewell and family photo together 🙂

The team enjoying our time together on the water!

To learn more about Seychelle SUP visit her website

To learn more about the next training camp in Sarasota November 14th to 17th 2024 visit her website

*All paddlers are invited to join the training camp and the racing at the ICF Worlds. Even though it is a World Championships event, these events are open for and welcoming of all recreational competitors as well as for professional SUP athletes.*

For learn more about Seychelle’s coaching information Download the Seychelle SUP App Here

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About the Author

Maddi Leblanc

Maddi Leblanc is a Niagara born, Canada-based stand up paddling athlete for Team Canada, SUP instructor, and lake surfer. Maddi is also the events and community co-ordinator at Surf the Greats. She has been paddle boarding for over ten years, competing in SUP for seven years, and surfing the Great Lakes for seven years. She is also a masters alumni from Brock University in Recreation & Leisure Studies. Find her on Instagram.

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