The Bay of Biscay is Sick

Golden dawns with the scent of pine in the air, and the noise of a fresh ground swell cracking across a shallow sandbar are what the French Atlantic is all about. But now, with every morning, as we slip into winter it is becoming more and more about rubbish. The high tide line is thick with large and micro versions of our plastic waste. Even with the relentless efforts of tractor crews, a fresh load is vomited onto the beach every morning. I wrote a little while ago the French coast was getting cleaner, I was wrong. There is everything from medical waste to single use creamer, Coke bottles to fishing gear, every object you can think of is washing up here, and the tide of crap is relentless.


The only answer is to stop this entering the sea, beachcleans are a short term fix/band aid, we have to cut the source and educate the whole planet as to what is going wrong.


The Trash Isles

One of the main things I’ve always wanted to do with The Plastic Project is to reach the people that traditional campaigns do not reach. It’s easy to be in a social media bubble of like minded people high fiving at the latest small victory, but the real change happens outside of that. When I first started talking to Lad Bible I thought the idea of going to The UN to form a new country was a bit stupid, surely the UN has better things to do, but then again, our dying oceans is pretty high on the agenda. Plus if we can reach a group of young people, especially young men who normally wouldn’t give a toss and get them to change their view on plastic, then we’ve reached an almost unreachable bunch, and I know, I have been one. So rather than me spout on about The Trash Isles, here’s Ross and Al, I’m stoked to be one of the first citizens and an ambassador, and you can to by signing up here –

Environmental/Photography Workshops

These five day workshops have been an incredible success. They offer a little of everything for photographers of any ability or experience. We cover everything for the beginner or experienced photographer when it comes to shooting surf and adventure, but there is a heavy slant on Environmental photography, and we use them to help document wild coastlines for The Plastic project.

We have three five day workshop locations, Ireland, France (taking in Spain and Portugal) and Scotland.


The European trips are perhaps the most exciting. We are based in Hossegor, but have the flexibility and free range to be totally mobile so can chase big swells and storms from France all the way to Nazare, including Mundaka and Galicia as well. Add in trips through the Pyrenees and The Picos de Europa and it is an incredible one week experience. This workshop is running in February 2018.


In Ireland we are either based in Bundoran in Co. Donegal or close to Lahinch in Co. Clare. We keep the exact location flexible until a week before we leave, so we can be flexible with weather and surf conditions. Both locations are epic, and we also shoot between the two and head up into the rugged landscapes of north Donegal, Co. Sligo and Mayo from Bundoran, as well as into Kerry and Galway from Lahinch.

It is a really versatile week in Ireland, which can see you shooting some of the best big wave riders in the world one day. Then stunning rural scenery the next. We hook up with pro surfers to shoot, as well as doing other activities like climbing and kayaking, depending on the conditions. It’s simply a great way to get out and shoot in a small group, under expert guidance, in incredible locations.


In Scotland we are based in Thurso, a town perfectly placed for striking out into some of the wildest coastlines of Europe. The waves around Thurso are world class and the reefs and slabs are a focus for the workshop. We also have the option of heading over to Orkney as well. Then to the west there is the incredible coastal landscape around Tongue, Cape Wrath and the incredible Ben Hope, the most northerly of the Munros. If that isn’t all enough to wet you photographic appetite, then there is also the spectacular sea stacks of Duncansby Head, and the incredible North Sea coast. It is a week spent in the most incredible scenery.


Despite my reputation for sleeping rough on adventures, we have comfortable accommodation in both locations. The fee includes the workshop and accommodation, and I’m happy to give people a ride from anywhere to the destination to keep travel costs to a minimum. Food is not included, but we generally all chip in and self cater.


As well as constant one to one work out in the field, we have a studio setup in our base camp, where we can look at shots and go through techniques for light room and photoshop, as well all the business side of photography.

These workshops are not only fun, but an adventure into adventure, surf and environmental photography.

For 2017 I have one spot remaining in France in late November, it costs £450 with a £200 deposit required to book.

Otherwise the next Adventure workshops are in January 2018, with Scotland on 15th -19th. Plus an incredible European adventure in February, based in France we will follow swell across the north of Spain and into Portugal. Please email on for more details or to book.

A Bit About Tim

Tim has spent 15 years as a photo editor, magazine editor, adventure photographer and creative environmentalist as well as publish eight photographic books. He is well placed to guide and help you improve your photography as well as taking you on an epic adventure.


I’ve added an extra workshop in January in Scotland. A wild time to chase and photograph storms and surf in the hours of daylight, then chase solar storms at night with a dedicated Aurora hunt. Drop me a line for details.


In February we have a new workshop based in France, but taking in northern Spain, Galicia and possibly portugal. We’ll chase swells across the Iberian peninsula from the beaches of Hossegor to the biggest waves on the planet at Nazare. As well as the surf we’ll document the environmental impact of rubbish and help the plastic project. The cost is £450 which includes flights and accommodation and all travel on the ground. Drop me a lien for details.


A Note About Me – I was a magazine photo editor for three years and then a magazine editor for seven, I have written five books and most recently been a digital content and social media manager for Nike. As well of this I have had worked published in almost every major surf and Men’s health mag globally as well as working on brand campaigns for Nike, O’Neill, Billabong, Finisterre and Jaguar.

Dispatch Part One

Since I started I always believed that surfers and photographers being on the front line of global plastic pollution were best placed to document it, so it’s what we’re doing. There are over 100 of us globally documenting what’s really going on, so are you ready for a trip around the world?

Elli Thor Iceland from The Plastic Project on Vimeo.

Alan Van Gysen from The Plastic Project on Vimeo.

Andrew Cotton from The Plastic Project on Vimeo.

Alex Dick Read , The Surfers Path Founder Editor, British Virgin Islands from The Plastic Project on Vimeo.

Gabe Davies, Patagonia from The Plastic Project on Vimeo.

Tony Butt from The Plastic Project on Vimeo.

If you’d like to help us you can donate a pound HERE

If you’d like to help email me – – we’re not really looking for beach cleans though, just a picture of what’s going on.

The Plastic Project Enters Fifth Year


The Plastic Project is entering its fifth year and is going from strength to strength. After spending ten years working on a surf magazine as well as being a freelance surf photographer, Tim Nunn came to a decision. He could no longer keep going to some of the remotest coastlines of the world without speaking out about the catastrophic pollution that was affecting them. So with the knowledge that photography speaks louder than words or science, he started combing through his photo library covering adventures of surf exploration in remote locations.

“I always felt that environmental problems just don’t connect with enough people. Stats and scientific reports rarely inspire a reaction, but when you get in front of people and tell them about the rough adventures we have, it connects, and then it’s just a duty to let people know that we’re destroying these last wild stretches of coastline with our plastic addiction.”


Since starting the project Tim has made a point of reaching young people especially and has stood and given his slide/film show to over 20,000 people ranging from schools to corporate events. “Whilst online and social media is a great way to reach people, there is nothing like getting up and telling people face to face about the adventures and the problems.”


The project has been so successful largely because of how raw the adventures have been. Tim has been accompanied by the likes of adventurer Ian Battrick from Jersey and feral explorer Timmy Turner right through to young big wave charger Russell Bierke.

“It’s this edge, of doing everything on a shoe string, living rough to make ends meet in places like Iceland, Canada and Norway which has really captivated audiences.” Tim explains: “We’ve had some great help along the way over the last fifteen years, but have always had to pay for everything on a next to zero budget, but rough camping just makes for an even better experience. You end up finding more waves, having more fun and ultimately experiencing places in a much better way than staying in hotels.”

We live in a world of glorious imagery on a daily basis from across the planet on Instagram, but whilst these images may inspire us to travel, they don’t show the full picture. “I started to get frustrated, people are existing in a rose tinted world, so we have to not only inspire but educate about what the real situation that exists.”


Using surfing has helped the message spread far and wide, and as Tim points out surfers and photographers are accidental environmentalists. “No other group of people on the planet spend as much time in the ocean. In a three hour session we maybe only actually surf for ten minutes, the rest of the time we are bobbing around noticing what’s going on, we know when a place is polluted. The other outstanding aspect of surf exploration is going to places that no one else ever goes to; thus we are best placed to monitor and document through film and stills exactly what’s going on. If we don’t speak up for the ocean, we are betraying the thing we love”

As well as initiating a global educational programme and giving talks, Tim is now launching a series of short films, photographic exhibitions and books to help spread the word, as well as continuing to travel to the remotest corners of the planet in search of adventure, surf and rubbish.

Get a book or help and donate below.


Our Industry Part 5 – Revolwe

Our industry is making strides towards sustainability and protecting our oceans at all levels. It’s not always that obvious so we’re going to feature and make films about as many companies doing this as possible. Starting point is here with the guys over in Sweden and their accessories company which is doing everything possible to make a more responsible leash, amongst other things. Check out the interview here with one of the founders Jan Persson and find out more HERE

Where did it all begin? Did you want to start a surf co. first, or was the formation of Revolwe down to the desire to create something more sustainable?

   It all started from the desire to create something more sustainable and eco-friendly for surfers but at the same time my drive to start my own business was a big part of it as well.

  My background as a purchaser and the passion for surf all melted down to the birth of Revolwe, which stands for Recycle, Evolution, We. That’s because we, all together, can do something for the  environment and create the future.


Can you explain to us the breakdown of each leash, and where the components come from and how they are better than in a standard leash for the environment?

Sure, for the logos, webbing, rail saver and leash string we use fabric made from 100% recycled post-consumer PET bottles. We use approximately 3 PET bottles per leash and the use of recycled post-consumer PET bottles reduces raw material usage and reduces energy consumption by ≈3000 BTUs which is equivalent to the energy in 1/10 of a litre of gasoline.

For the cuff (the soft part around your leg) we don’t use neoprene.

That is because neoprene is either derived from petroleum or derived from limestone.

The environmental impact of something derived from petroleum is more familiar but the environmental impacts of something derived from limestone, might be less familiar.

Like oil, limestone is a limited, non-renewable resource that is extracted from the earth. Limestone rock is mined from mountains, and requires diesel-powered equipment such as cranes, backhoes, and dump trucks the size of houses. The crushed limestone is fed into a furnace and heated to extremely high temperatures (over 3600º F / 2000º C) in an energy-intensive process.

What we use instead of the conventional neoprene is Yulex® natural rubber.

The Yulex® natural rubber in our products comes from sources that are Forest Stewardship Council® certified by the Rainforest Alliance.

Only 0,5% of the world’s natural rubber supply currently comes from FSC certified sources.

The Forest Stewardship Council is the gold standard of forest management because it protects water quality, prevents loss of natural forest cover, prohibits highly hazardous chemicals, protects customary rights of indigenous people and local communities, limits clearcuts to protect forest ecology, protects high conservation value forests, and governs in a democratic and transparent way.

  • Sustainably grown and harvested
  • Irrigated by ambient rainfall
  • Protects the social and economic well being of forest dependent communities
  • Processed with recycled and recharged water supply aquifer during manufacturing.

By replacing conventional neoprene with Yulex® we are able to reduce CO2 emissions by ≈80% compared to conventional neoprene products.

Last but not least the cord, which is the most important thing in the leash strengthwise.

Our cord is made from high strength Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) which has up to 30% recycled content.

You may ask, ”Why not 100% recycled content in the cord?”

It is not possible to use 100% recycled content, that is because when you get over a certain percent of recycled content for an elastomer like TPU the molecules starts to get shorter which then makes the TPU less elastic and gets a lower breakage point.

Unfortunately it is not possible to make the cord from recycled PET-bottles. That is because PET is a total different plastic compound and isn’t elastic compared to TPU.


The big question we always get asked, whether it is talking about a Yulex wetsuit, or a recycled leash, is do they work as well/are they as strong as the regular product we are used to?

    Sure, they work as well as conventional products, Revolwe leashes have been thoroughly tested by some of the world’s best surfers in various conditions including 6-8ft heavy reef breaks in  Micronesia.

Are you looking at anything beyond leashes, or is it a case of solving one problem at a time?

   We are constantly looking into developing products for surfers that are more sustainable and eco-friendly without compromising performance.

   Right now we have some other products in the development process that hopefully will enter the market later this year when testing has been done.