Plastic Bottle SUP Marathon

On World Ocean’s Day – 8th June 2017 Carlos and Carolyn became the first people in the world to paddle a marathon on a SUP (stand up paddle board) made of PLASTIC BOTTLES…

to raise awareness of the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean – a global threat that has reached alarming proportions – by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (World Economic Forum) the equivalent of one rubbish-truck load every minute!

Carolyn, the founder of The Whale Company and her Brazilian partner, Carlos are passionate about sport and protecting the environment.  This summer they have built their own paddle boards out of plastic bottles and they are paddling their way across Europe, completing 12 marathons in 12 different countries.

They completed their first marathon on 8th June, on La Dordogne River in France from Saint Julien de Lampon to Saint Cyprien. It was a spectacular route in stunning weather conditions and they completed the 26.2 mile/ 42.2 km course in 6 hours 45minutes (paddle-time) taking it in turns on their bottle board and the Explorace 12’6 SUP board kindly donated by Itiwit by Decathlon.  Since then they have completed another 10 in challenging conditions on rivers, reservoirs, lakes, the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Aegean Seas – in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovian.  The longest paddle-time so far was 12 1/2 hours through the Drina Canyon in Bosnia-Herzegovina (where they actually completed 60km) and the shortest was 6 hours 35 minutes on the Danube in Bulgaria.

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Carlos and Carolyn are paddling 12 marathons across Europe on a Plastic Bottle SUP

to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the ocean

and to make SUP affordable for all


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Carlos De Sousa

Carlos is a qualified P.E teacher who specialises in working with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Born and bred in São Paulo, Brazil he has spent the last eleven years working in the UK, a country that he loves despite the weather! It was in London, where Carlos first experienced paddle boarding and completed his first marathon on the Thames, after only four sessions. Carlos loves building things from recycled materials and after building his first paddle board out of plastic bottles, he 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

Carolyn is 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. She makes ‘Whalebags’ as alternatives to plastic bags and runs education art programs to teach children about plastic pollution. Carolyn is British but was born in South Africa and has lived all over the world; her adventurous spirit and passion for the ocean lead her to become a dive master and try many water sports. Last year she tried paddle boarding for the first time at the ‘Paddle and Pick’ event in London, organised by Watertrek and Active 360. She fell in love with it and wants to give everyone the opportunity to have a go.

As teachers and sports lovers, both Carlos and Carolyn want 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. They believe SUP should be accessible to everyone, no matter what their background.

They also want 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.


For more information about sponsorship and partnership opportunities with the Plastic Bottle SUP Marathon, click here.

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Are you a SUP club in Europe? We are still finalising our route and could complete a marathon in your location. Or join us on a marathon…

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The inspiration for our plastic bottle sup marathon expedition, building our first board, the L’eau Vive event in Paris and for updates on all our news.

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