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The Plastic Project

What is it?

It’s an adventure into the fringe of known coastlines in Europe, with two goals, one to keep inspiring people about what an amazing world we live on and secondly to highlight the out of control situation we face with marine litter, specifically in the North Atlantic. I’m a photographer so by documenting, talking about and making people open their eyes to the problem through images is the best way I know of doing this. It’s a non statistical, purely visual way of representing what a huge problem marine litter is to the environment. We as surfers know this (check out the latest series of stats from beach cleans by SAS here), but I want to bring it to the general population with high impact images, and through exhibitions and talks with shots from some of the remotest coastlines of Europe. It’s not until you see a Macdonalds wrapper on a wild bit of Icelandic beach, which originated in North America, that you can understand the problem. What’s more we can all sort this problem out our selves. As well as blogs, I’m also doing a series of talks as I go, they started at The London Surf Film Festival and will continue as the project progresses.


Because it’s a massive problem, not just for water users but for the whole marine ecosystem. Surfer’s see it everyday, I see it swimming taking shots everyday and it sucks. The fact that SAS took 2.5 tonnes off Perranporth beach in a day illustrates the scale. But the problem is the general population are numb to stats, we get them rammed down our necks everyday. But images are irrefutable, immediate and have the power to change peoples perceptions of the world.


I’m hitting the road, going to some places (Greenland, Norway, Iceland, UK, Russia) I have been before and to others where research has led me to find the problem as being at it’s most acute. It’s still about adventure and surfing, but there is the overriding mission to present this problem visually and through the medium of surfing people want to come and hear about it. It’s all about exhibitions and talks on the ground, as well as stunning images online. I already do a lot of slideshow style talks, and I know first hand the impact of my photography and tales of adventure, so this is going to be an extensions of that.

Can people help?

If anyone wants to help from a point of view of research or raising issues then please contact me, likewise if you’d like me to come and speak to groups in the autumn about the expeditions and the environmental disaster that is Marin Litter then again drop me a line here –

From a sponsorship point of view, I am mostly self funding the whole mission, I do have some help from Lunasurf and Heimplanet but I am always looking for sponsorship. I also have my own version of a crowdfunder rolling. The more help and sponsorship I get the more I can do, you can get involved by heading over to my print shop. There you will find a load of options, all of them designed so you get a lot more back than you have to put in, the project is vital and will happen whatever but all help means it can be achieved in even greater depth -

You can buy a print from just £5.00

A digital postcard – That means from every expedition you get a digital print, for free, which you can then print and use.

A real postcard - The digi one as above plus limited edition postcards signed and delivered to your door.

The full collection – A limited edition print from every trip, plus the postcards, and a full zine and invite to one of the gallery shows.

Every penny then goes into the exhibitions, films and the staging of slideshows and events.

Then after this the main way we can help is by not using plastic and where we have to recycle.

For every five bad days of weather there is always one incredible one, which makes you realise what an amazing part of the world Iceland is. Ian Battrick is pretty much the most committed individual you’ll ever meet, whether that is surfing or creating his own wetsuit brand Lunasurf. Just taking a moment to soak up a brief glimpse of sun up here close to the Arctic Circle. This road has a 100 foot drop straight into a fjord, it’s icy as hell and the day before this was closed by an avalanche, it’s sketchy. Ian just taking a moment to check out...
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in The Plastic Project
Going to make this a once a week feature for the next couple of weeks. I’ve found from looking at old pictures, a true test of how bad marine litter has become is to look at trips were I wasn’t actually shooting it. So starting with Mexico, here’s a glimpse at a very high energy pacific beach break. It’s pretty interesting that aside from a few plastic bottles all of the litter it is just smaller pieces of plastic. Mostly along the tide line, but still there; coloured dots in every shot. At the time I didn’t bat an eye lid,...
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in The Plastic Project
Cheers for all the emails and messages of support for this project, it's been a while coming I know. Got one question from a friend Craig over here in Suffolk, wanting to know if the marine litter issue is a problem I've found because I'm looking or something that has always been there. He doesn’t surf so spends a lot less time on the beach than surfers do, but it got me thinking. If marine litter is making it onto beaches now, it would have been over the last ten years. And I’m bound to have the odd shot from Iceland I...
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in The Plastic Project
  Welcome to the first full on expedition of The Plastic Project. It’s first of a flurry of missions this winter. This is the overview of the first of three expeditions to Iceland, as well as the general feature I have interviews with local environmentalists, analysis of some of the plastic and litter as well as some more surfing to come. So enjoy part 1; an introduction to life on the road in Iceland searching for waves and rubbish. It’s cold, ice has formed a solid crust on the windscreen and side windows, except where my head rests. The potential for...
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in The Plastic Project
  France for me has long been paradise. For the last 25 years I’ve made a pilgrimage to the sand bars of Hossegor and Capbreton. And now I look back, there's always been rubbish on the beaches. I remember one particularly stormy spell followed by one of those perfect barreling days where we were literally surfing through rubbish. It sticks in my mind because there was a manikin in the water which we all thought was a body. That was 17 years ago, and there has been a lot more plastic and other rubbish entering the water ever since. Back then...
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in The Plastic Project
  • Surfing Valentine's Cards ~ Now you can actually buy them!

      Surfers are sweet. Sometimes salty, but mostly sweet. And to prove it here are some surfing-themed Valentine's cards. You can buy them from our Zazzle shop. Or if you're skint, just copy and paste one of the images below onto your Valentine's Facebook page. If that doesn't do the trick, they clearly have no feelings. Click on any image to view it in the shop.   ...

    Monday, 01 February 2016
  • Six Species of Surfer

      Admit it. We're a weird bunch. Here are six of the creatures you'll find yourself mingling with in the line up.   (Illustrations by Andi Pratt. Check out more of his crazy work here and on Instagram.)     And all together:       So which one are you? Or are you a different beast entirely? Let us know in the comments below.   ...

    Monday, 11 January 2016
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