From Breaking his Back to Starting a Singapore Stand Up Paddle Community: Yurii Siegel

This SUPventures' Stand Up Paddle instructor initially picked up Stand up paddle as a form of injury rehabilitation, but ended up starting a sports and fitness community instead

PHOTO: AMAR DONEPUDI, SPORTPLUS.SG


A former sailor, Yurii Siegel has always loved being out at sea. What he did not count on was dealing with an unexpected curve ball life would throw at him.


In 2016, Siegel cracked his L5 and tore his spine while in the gym. The injury left him out of action for many months, with the only exercise he was allowed to do being swimming and Stand Up Paddle boarding.


He recounts how he realised he needed to spend more time at Stand Up Paddling in order to improve his hip alignment, and needed some extra motivation to do so.

"I started working on it for about a year and I realised I needed to spend more time doing this, so I had different friends coming on different days so that I was able to go every day," Siegel said.


Little did he realise that those regular sessions with different friends would lead to him starting a Stand Up Paddle community that is now about 50-strong on Sentosa Island.


Known by the SUPventures community as the Chief Paddle Monster, Siegel is a hugely popular figure among children and the youth of the water sports community on Sentosa and it's easy to see why.

PHOTO: AMAR DONEPUDI, SPORTPLUS.SG


A cheeky and bubbly character who projects a positive outlook in life, Siegel did not let his injury or other setbacks stop him from creating a life he loves and takes pride in.


When asked about the effectiveness of Stand Up Paddling for sports injury rehabilitation, Siegel not only gave it his seal of approval but strongly urges those who are unable to participate in sports or workouts with pressure on the joints to consider Stand Up Paddling.


"If you are unable to do traditional sport or popular variations of workouts, Stand Up Paddle could actually be for you," Siegel said.

PHOTO: AMAR DONEPUDI, SPORTPLUS.SG


"It strengthens up the core without putting too much pressure on the joints, and if you have ankle injuries or ankle mobility issues those shallow movements helps to strengthen everything around it."


Stand Up Paddling is the fastest growing sea sport according to a report by the Singapore Canoe Federation, and has gained traction in recent years, particularly after the lockdown from Covid-19 that limited opportunities for people to travel overseas.


"People love it because it allows them to go out in nature and leave their cell phones behind," Siegel added.


"On a nice day when you head out, you might see turtles, a random stingray, or a blacktip reef shark. It's kind of like a kayak but you are a bit higher and it gives you a very different perspective."

PHOTO: AMAR DONEPUDI, SPORTPLUS.SG


Looking to try out Stand Up Paddling? SUPventures offers lessons for beginners and more advanced paddlers, so head down to Sentosa Island to get a workout and a healthy dose of Vitamin Sea!


Stay tuned for some useful Stand Up Paddle tips coming to SportPlus' very own digital entertainment platform Studio Plus next month! Or you could catch other episodes of stories of local fitness personalities, communities and experiences now on Studio Plus.


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