Interviewed by Charlotte @ XOTB Durban

When did you start paddling?

I moved down to Durban in the beginning of January for a career opportunity and started paddling around the middle of February 2015.

Why did you start SUP?

I have always loved the ocean and the tranquillity it provides the soul, I used to surf when I was down in Durban on holidays and got introduced to paddling through XOTB, which has changed my life. It was a new challenge for sure, and a whole new sport that provided so much happiness in my life.

Do you have a background in ocean/water sports?

Like I said I used to surf down in Durban on holidays, I started surfing from a very young age, I would consider myself a water baby as I also dive, which is another world people don’t get to explore. It is so magical under the water.

Where’s your favorite paddling playground?

I love to go out in front of the XOTB shop at Addington Beach and paddle to the reef by the harbor wall or sometimes I take a longer paddle down to Bike and Bean – it’s my kind of heaven. For me, it’s the people that I paddle with that make stand up paddling special.

Why did you take it to the next level and start SUP racing?

I am fascinated by the human body, and how we can change it and conquer feelings of anxiety and being utterly exhausted.  Pushing yourself to such an extent and placing yourself in an uncomfortable situation yet still succeed in having fun.  I started racing because I loved that feeling of pushing myself to a whole new level and getting the rush of the board gliding underneath me. When I cross the finish line there is a warm welcome and congratulations from my team mates waiting on the beach for me – the support of the SUP Durbs community is special.

You’re a serious competitor in the Warrior events – with your Mum right by your side – you’re an incredibly dynamic duo. Tell me about how that started.

Now that is definitely not for the faint hearted.  I started doing the Warrior Race about 4 years ago with a group of girls for fun.  Obviously then it was still new, from competing in the 5km race it was fun to do it with friends but I was seeking more.  I love running so that was not the problem but my physical strength needed to be upgraded. Lol.

I started running the Black Ops Course with one of my friends and then got my Mom involved as well, we ran every race there was –  collecting the medals.  Every time we ran we tried to beat our previous time and so we did. My Mom still holds the Masters title and for myself, currently I’m 1st in my category and 7th overall.  We will be running the Warrior Race again on the 22nd of November 2015 in Johannesburg, it’s a huge privilege to do that with my Mom.  What can I say? She is one tough lady whom I look up to.

What board are you riding?

I recently got the best gift, a board that suits my personality.  It’s quirky and full of spunk lol.  I have a Hobie 14’ race board that was bought from XOTB, it’s absolutely amazing in the water, and it gets me excited to paddle every time I go out.

 

SUP racing isn’t for the faint hearted but you show up and you’re committed. What aspect of SUP challenges you most?

The biggest challenge for me is my mind.  I have days where I can paddle and it just works out but then I have days where I am so exhausted and paddling is almost impossible. Distance flat water paddling is extremely tiring and when I already feel tired, to put myself in that situation and push through it is the challenge, when my mind wants to take me somewhere else. It’s at that point when I look down and start singing “that” song that makes me happy and suddenly I’ve got power to go!  Another big challenge for me is catching waves, weird enough when I’m surfing it’s fine but just because the race board is so big it frightens me. However once I’m on a wave, it’s the most exhilarating feeling in the world. Once again it’s all in my head – and it comes down to digging deep and believing in myself.

What’s your favorite time of day to SUP?

The best time for me is early mornings, when the sun comes out and it’s still fresh, when the water washes over your feet and the sun kisses your face good morning.  On a lucky day you might even have the company of dolphins which is the most beautiful experience I have ever had, to be so close with them and the energy that surrounds them is unexplainable.

What’s do you eat before a power paddle training session?

I love my oats in the morning with some peanut butter and honey. It’s the perfect way to start my day and get ready for a good paddle session, but of course having that cup of coffee waiting for you afterwards just motivates you to paddle even faster.

What advice can you give to Durban girls who want to get into SUP but they’re apprehensive about doing something for the first time?

Paddling will change your life for sure, yes it is not easy and you will fall off and it will be hard but it’s like anything else you do, if you don’t try it how can you say you will be bad at it? Who knows… you might just surprise yourself and be amazing.  Women are strong and we have the ability and power to do whatever we put our minds to. Don’t be afraid to try something new as you might just miss out on the most amazing experience nof your life.

 

FEATURING : Durban SUP Girl – Danelle Hefers

 

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