I have always been proudly South African and have spent most of my life involved as either a participant or actively promoting and managing sport on some level. It has always been a dream of mine to get my SA colours and represent my country. Since being diagnosed with the combination of auto immune diseases I have, I felt this dream was out of reach.

I then discovered the sport that has literally been life changing for me. The sport of Standup Paddling. Standup Paddling has been a true lifesaver for me over the last 5 years. With my diseases one of the greatest challenges is living with constant chronic pain. At times the pain is so excruciating I don’t want to get up and as you can imagine living with this kind of pain can bring on dark all consuming depression and lows. It is a frustrating space and extremely irritating for someone who is active and outgoing as a default.

I however was extremely blessed to be introduced to the sport by a friend of mine and discovered that by paddling I was able to get out into the fresh air and enjoy exercise in a way that was not jarring or taxing on my joints and body. Don’t get me wrong it is a very strenuous sport and takes commitment and practice but is excellent for building stabilisers and strength in your body to help support and rehabilitate injuries and joints.

The SUP community welcomed me with open arms and have been an amazing support in helping me to keep moving on my toughest days. Every one of the amazing people I have had the honour of meeting and training with have showed up in every way to help me keep moving. Community is so important in our world and this incredible sport and community have shown me that nothing is ever impossible.

One day I dream of still representing my country in this sport as an athlete and now I know that nothing is out of reach, however I am honoured and thrilled to have been selected to represent South Africa and our incredible #SupTeamSA at the #ISAWorlds in Wanning China this year as the Team Manager.

So today as you begin your day never forget that if you Believe it you can Achieve it!

2 thoughts on “If you BELIEVE IT you can ACHIEVE IT

  1. You are the bravest soul Mands. And I have witnessed the positive impact that this sport has had on your body and on your life. You will get there my China!!!
    sending loads of love


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