Had such an incredible reaction to these films thank you, here is the next instalment, Gabe Davies and Dr. Tony Butt from Patagonia.
If you’d like to help us you can donate a pound HERE
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?
If you’d like to help email me – firstname.lastname@example.org – we’re not really looking for beach cleans though, just a picture of what’s going on.
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.
A couple of teasers for Volume 2 of The Plastic project Book. You can order a copy HERE, it ships in June, there will be 100.
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.
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.
I spent 10 years trying to get to the remotest coastlines in the north Atlantic and Pacific looking for surf. After years of living the ‘dream’ of Hawaii, Indonesia, Australia and France every year I wanted to find some solitude and a genuine wilderness frontier. Along with a couple of friends Ian Battrick and Timmy Turner, we headed up through Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Iceland and Canada searching for the ultimate surfing wilderness. We found it in British Columbia, wrote a book and started to do talks and slideshows to promote it.
I have long been an admirer of this group of guys from South Wales, who are making a positive step towards getting rid of hair, without the need to continually throw plastic in the bin. They have also come on as a sponsor of The Plastic Project, so very much looking forward to removing hair and working with them. If you haven’t seen them before hit their website right here – www.mutinyshaving.co.uk – we’ll have some more on these guys shortly.