Couple Carolyn Newton, a British primary school teacher, and her Brazilian partner Carlos De Sousa, a P.E teacher who specialises in working with children with special educational needs, are paddling their way across Europe, completing a marathon in 12 different countries to raise awareness about the effects of plastic in the oceans.
They have enlisted the help of SUP clubs throughout Europe to help plan the marathons’ routes, and to encourage club members and any of the public to join them.
Carlos and Carolyn are passionate about sport and protecting the environment and, inspired by Brazilian surfer Jairo Lumertz, who runs the successful, ‘Eco Board Project’, built their own paddle boards out of 124 plastic bottles.
Their first SUP marathon was held on World Ocean’s Day (8 June), on the Dordogne River in France from Saint Julien de Lampon to Saint Cyprien. The couple became the first people to complete a marathon on Stand Up Paddle boards made out of plastic bottles.
With the help of Algarve SUP and BlueXperiences they will be holding a similar event in Silves, on Saturday, 8 July, starting early morning (at 8am, depending on the tides) and paddling down the Arade River to Portimão, and then east along the coast to Quarteira: 42 kilometres in total.
They then move on to Noli, Italy, where they will be collaborating with the Green Surf Festival on 15 July.
The two teachers are taking their marathons to the world to raise awareness about the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean - a global threat that has reached alarming proportions.
According to the World Economic Forum, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish – or the equivalent of one rubbish-truck load every minute.
Carlos and Carolyn want to encourage as many people as possible to get active and re-connect with nature through the sport and witness for themselves the problems of pollution in the water because, they say, “once you have paddled alongside plastic rubbish, it becomes impossible to ignore.”
For more information, how you can join a marathon or how to build a board go to:
Carolyn and Carlos are also volunteers for the charity Watertrek. To donate to their expedition please go to their JustGiving page: