How did Seychelle Hattingh get the strength and stamina to propel a stand-up paddleboard for 24 hours straight— including throughout the night—breaking the world’s record in the process? From Pilates, of course! “My goal when I first started Pilates was to strengthen my core,” says Hattingh, 28, who paddled the record-breaking 110 miles around a course on a lake in Sarasota, FL, in December. “I have since learned that Pilates is great for so many other reasons, including proper alignment, activating every muscle in my body, and moving and working from the core.
And she needed it for the incredible physical challenge she faced. “The last three to four hours were the worst,” she recalls. “I was completely exhausted and everything in my body ached, but I never thought about quitting. By the last lap, though, I had 10 to 15 other paddlers in the water, cheering me to the finish. I crossed the 24-hour line at a full sprint.
World Record Sup Paddler Seychelle Hattingh Photo Gallery
Hattingh, a native of the Florida Keys, is also a yoga, SUP and yoga-on-a-SUP teacher. She first tried SUP in 2010 and started competing four years later. Although she had taken some Pilates mat classes years before at a local gym, she started doing it seriously this past year, training with Norma-jean Nolan of Pilates in Paradise in
Marathon, FL. Twice a week, Nolan, a Level 5 Romana’s Pilates teacher, takes Hattingh through a routine on the Reformer, Barrel, Electric and Wunda Chairs and the Foot Corrector. Hattingh also does a mat routine on her own at home once a week.
My favorites are the leg-strength-building moves we do on the Electric Chair like the standing presses and Mountain Climbing,” she says. I also love the Pull-Ups and Push-Ups on the Wunda Chair. It takes moves that I thought I had been doing all my life and makes them so much harder, when done the way Joseph Pilates designed them. I also find the stretching more effective than in a yoga class—and this is coming from a yoga instructor! I always leave feeling great, balanced and aligned.”
“Having a strong foundation is what allows me to paddle for miles and miles without fatigue,” says Hattingh, who also won the 11 Cities Tour, known as the “Tour de France of SUP,” a five-day race in Holland covering more than 120 miles this past September. “I have an old hip injury, which causes my pelvis to lose alignment. Pilates trains my body to hold that alignment and gives me ways to challenge my body that I have never experienced before, even with a lifetime of athleticism.