Carlos and Carolyn are a Brazilian/British couple who love sports and care deeply about the environment. They are both teachers with a passion for educating others about the problems of plastic pollution and encouraging people to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Thanks to that, they decided to cross Europe on a SUP to raise awareness about plastic pollution.
Carlos and Carolyn, can you introduce yourselves?
Carlos De Sousa: I’m Carlos, a qualified physical education teacher specialised in working with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Born and bred in São Paulo, Brazil I have spend the last eleven years working in the UK, a country that I love despite the weather.
It was in London, where I first experienced paddle boarding. I completed my first marathon on the Thames, after only four sessions. I love building things from recycled materials and after building my first paddle board out of plastic bottles, I came up with the idea to complete a marathon on a plastic bottle board to raise awareness of plastic pollution and to make SUP accessible to all.
Carolyn Newton: I’m Carolyn, a primary school teacher who set up The Whale Company in 2007 after learning that whales and other marine life were dying from plastic pollution in the ocean. I am British but was born in South Africa and have lived all over the world; my adventurous spirit and passion for the ocean lead me to become a dive master and try many water sports.
Last year I tried paddle boarding for the first time at the ‘Paddle and Pick’ event in London, organised by Watertrek and Active 360. I fell in love with it and want to encourage everyone to have a go.
What is The Whale company?
The Whale Company is making beautiful organic bags & flip flops out of recycled tyres. The company has three objectives: to make sustainable products, to educate the next generation of ocean caretakers and to support marine conservation.
The Whalebags are beautiful organic cotton bags in a range of styles making the perfect alternatives to plastic bags. Last year, with the support of From The Bow Seat, a US charity running ocean awareness programs and #OneLess, the campaign to make London free of single-use plastic water bottles, Carolyn ran an event aboard the Arts Ark in Tower Bridge to help children create artwork inspired by the problems of plastic pollution in rivers and the ocean.
We are now embarking on a new project; the SUP marathon expedition to teach others how to build plastic bottle boards.
Can you tell us about your project of 12 Marathons across Europe?
Commencing on World Oceans Day, 8 June 2017, we will paddle 12 marathons across Europe on Stand Up Paddle boards made of plastic bottles; and in every location they will teach the local community how to build plastic bottle boards to raise awareness of the problems of plastic pollution in the ocean and to make SUP affordable for all.
Why did you choose to do it on a SUP?
Following the Paddle and Pick event we became volunteers for Watertrek. As teachers and sports lovers, we felt aligned with Watertrek’s values and our desire to inspire children and adults to participate in SUP, a beautiful sport that allows people to experience the joy of walking on water, whilst connecting to nature.
Through SUP, Watertrek aims to bring people together to look after the environment. Sadly, when you paddle, it won’t be too long before you see plastic and other pollution floating in the water. The impact has a lasting effect and will make you want to do something about it.
Inspired by this, we built our first paddle board out of plastic bottles in March in Brazil. We took the board to Prainha Beach, Caraguatatuba, São Paulo for its first trip on the water; even without a fin, the board was stable and incredibly easy to manoeuver.
Local SUP instructors came over to have a go and before long a little crowd had gathered around. Many people were able to experience SUP for the first time. The board also sparked interesting conversations about the issues of plastic pollution; it was a very rewarding experience and the inspiration for the sup marathon expedition.
How can people help you to achieve your objective?
We are still finalising our route across Europe. So if you are a SUP club somewhere in Europe, we would like your support and local knowledge to help us to decide the best routes.
We also need financial support to complete this big challenge. This is the first expedition of its kind and provides unique sponsorship opportunities.
Starboard is taking its role in protecting the environment seriously this year. This time it is in the form of The Whale Company charity, which was set up by Brazilian and British couple Carlos de Sousa and Carolyn Newton, with the aim to paddle the length of the Thames. The couple are no strangers to adventure and promoting environmental […]
As the second edition of the Big Ben Challenge and Big Ben Race (23 September 2017) fast approaches, event organiser and head of London-based stand up paddleboarding specialist Active360, Paul Hyman, was kind enough to tell us a little bit more about it. Paul shared with us his thoughts on where Active360 is heading, what he […]
Plastic pollution in the oceans is a growing global problem. The Plastic Ocean Festival aims to promote public awareness and understand of the damaging effects of plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans, encouraging individual and group action to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle plastic. To do this it showcases a series of free public events […]
The Watertrek Foundation, an association invested in the protection of aquatic ecosystems, environmental education, ecological awareness and participative science through the means of Stand-up Paddle is looking for a professional candidate with extensive charity and corporate experience to join its Board of Trustees. About the board Watertrek is currently in the process of setting up […]
Interview with Séverine Vasselin, Watertrek founder and professional actress who has decided to dedicate much of her life to protecting the environnement…. on a Stand Up Paddle board. Can you introduce yourself to our SUP community? My name is Severine, I am an actress and the founder of Watertrek, a charity involved in protecting aquatic […]
Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.
3rd Party Cookies
We use a set of third party tools to provide information on how our users engage with our website so that we can improve the experience of the website for our users. For example, we collect information about which of our pages are most frequently visited, and by which types of users. Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to improve our website.
Please enable Strictly Necessary Cookies first so that we can save your preferences!