July 2012

Freedom On The Water

Finding New Freedom

Date July 1, 2012

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It all started with her pinky toes.

Melanie Seiler knew stand up paddling was going to have serious impact on her musculature after her first day on a board. She woke up the following morning and felt the workout in her pinky toes.

But that only motivated Seiler, who now runs the SUP tour and instruction program at West Virginia’s Adventures On The Gorge resort.

“Things just built from there and my body grew to where I could produce speed I had never felt before,” she said. “Which surprised me, since I had been a paddler for 15 years before ever standing on a board.”

Meeting Seals

There are a variety of forms of SUP to explore your favorite environment, she said. You can try surfing ocean waves, river whitewater or flat-water paddling on lakes. You can cruise, or you can race. Some people are even combining yoga and stand up paddling.

In the end, Seiler pointed out, the benefits of SUP might not lie in the muscles, but in the mind.

“I have to say that’s been the best worked-out muscle — the power of looking forward to the next outing, the satisfaction while gliding along the shore line, the intrigue of people interested in what I’m doing,” she said.

“What do you call that powerful feeling of Mother Nature and calmness and power with speed?” she added. “Isn’t that sexy to you?”

(Photos courtesy of Nikki Gregg/Starboard)

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