10 Remote Waves With a Serious Litter Problem

10. Bag Pipe


Nestled at the edge of a rock shelf not too far from Thurso, is this gem. I have shot it to death over the years and it’s such a fun picturesque little number to shoot. But whilst the immediate reef may look pretty clean walk round the corner and the tideline is a mess of rubbish.

toppur A11Z0539 A11Z0541 pepsi

9. The Ice Beach, Southern Iceland


More famous for its natural icy litter, and despite the high energy nature of the stretch of coast there is still plastic and fishing gear, not in huge numbers but enough to make an impact. Ian Battrick here dodging bergs.

8. Wilderness Slab, Canada


I’ve been lucky enough to camp out here for weeks on end in the Canadian wilderness, but despite its isolation, miles from civilisation, there was still rubbish on the beach. It still bugs me looking at these two shots of bears, one with a foam tube in front of it, and these were everywhere, and the other with a big gulp plastic cup, and there was a lot more besides.

b2 b1

7. The Dunes, Iceland


This beach break is not super remote, but I won’t spoil the adventure for people by saying exactly where it is, lets just say it’s on the south cost of Iceland. The fun bone crunching peaks can get pretty good, but the beach here is pretty shocking. Loads of tiny pieces of plastic in the tide line, bottles frozen into the beach last time we were there and the dune system more or less anchored by fishing nets.

These dunes were literally held together by nets washed up on winter storms.  frozen_bottleUnlike the cornish coastline a lot of the ICelandic beaches are more rocks than sand and the huge sand south coast is such high energy with longshore currents there isn't much of small plastic debris. But on this sheltered beach, tiny pieces of plastic were frozen on the tide line.

6. Unstad, Norway


The Arctic beauty, the crisp clear air and the quality waves are easy to see, what isn’t is what lies along the boulder shoreline, but it’s there in large quantities. It doesn’t take long to hop between the rocks and start to find fishing gear, all sorts of bottles and bits of plastic from pram wheel to torches. The torch in question we traced to North America, whilst there was plenty from Russia as well.

A two minute beach clean between shots at Unstad

5. Capbreton, France

Ian Battrick in a clean tube

OK so this isn’t very remote, in fact it’s one of the most famous stretches of beach break on the planet, but it’s also one of the most plastic ridden. It’s sadly a place where I swim out and regularly get tangled in rubbish, the beaches beyond where the tractors stop are just littered with rubbish, and even where they clean there is plastic, as the shot of the rubbish on the table shows.

cap_plastic_3storm3This cane from one tractor track, about 100 yards long, so a cleaned area of beach, the number of q-tips is horrifying, don't flush em folks

4. The Right, Iceland


This shot is one that sparked The Plastic Project, this right point in Iceland isn’t super remote, well by Icelandic standards anyway, but the perfect point and snow capped mountains are marred for me by the little dots of colour up the beach, that’s plastic and there is loads more up and down the point. It is close to a harbour, but it’s still no excuse for somewhere so beautiful.

Ian on the left and Dane Gadauskas trudging up a chilly point. This place was littered with rubbish, plastic bottles, buoys and oil drums.    We're tracking this bottle of Caustic Soda back to its producer.ol1

There is just loads of plastic on this point.

3. Other Parts of remote Iceland

Sub Arctic

Going to be a bit general here, this is a series of breaks over a large area of Iceland. The local crew surf all year round, and whilst not hard to find I’d hate to spoil the adventure by giving them away. Suffice to say I’m horrified by the coast up here, out of the Gulf Stream, and facing Greenland with very little in the way of population it is covered in plastic waste. Mind blowing how our actions are affecting such a remote corner of the planet.

Tree trunks from Norway and Northern Russian rivers, plastic and rusting oil drums from all over. Pretty shocking, this is such a remote stretch of coastline and it's littered.retroice2  retroice4retroice3

2. The North of The Sun Beach


I didn’t realise this was where they filmed the film North of The Sun until we found their house, which is entirely made of stuff found on the beach. Over the course of the winter the Norwegian boys removed 3.5 tonnes of rubbish off this beach, a beach that takes three hours to hike into, is so remote but sits at the end of the Gulf Stream. When we turned up the situation was mind-blowing, so much rubbish on the beach, closest I have come to tears, such an incredibly beautiful place, ruined by our irresponsibility.

hike4hike6 hike7hike9

So remote, yet so covered in rubbish

1. Oldshoremore


We turned up expecting a fun little right-hander, we found in places almost waist deep plastic. Nestled on the north west coast of Scotland this place shocked me. Remote, seemingly sheltered and untouched it was an absolute magnet for rubbish, and at the end of the winter it was stacked. So sad.

old7 old8 old9 old6 old3 old4 old5 old1 oldshoremorelocation


So that’s it, there is more, way more and we now strike out on the next mental part of the mission into even more remote stretches of coastline. Please follow me on here and if you’d like to help click HERE as we still have some items available.

0. No.10


Not plastics, just the potential of radioactive litter in the form of particles the size of sand, scary, but love to swim at this place.



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