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Plastic Tides conservationist to return

Marine conservationist: Plastic Tides founders Christian Shaw, left, is making a return to the island this month to help raise awareness of plastic pollution in local waters and inspire the community to protect the oceans

A member of “adventure conservationist” group Plastic Tides is making a return to the island this month to help raise awareness of plastic pollution in local waters and inspire the community to protect the oceans.

Co-founder and team-mate Christian Shaw will be here from May 27 to 30 to take part in an “elite endurance race”, paddleboarding 40 miles around the island to raise funds.

He and other paddleboarders will be joined by kayakers, surfskiers and outrigger canoeists. All proceeds will go towards the SUP’r Kid’s programme, providing young people with free paddleboarding throughout the summer.

Mr Shaw told The Royal Gazette: “The Devil’s Isle Challenge will help grow the appeal of Bermuda as an international SUP destination, while the SUP’r children Bermuda programme will make it accessible to those less privileged.

“The key to a sustainable future is inspiring the next generation of ocean advocates and as we know first hand, those who play in the ocean are motivated to protect it.”

The race is being billed as a plastic-free event.

Food and drink will be served in plastic-free containers and there will be water refill station set up along the course.

Plastic Tides visited Bermuda last year for a similar expedition and worked with local production company Burnt House Productions on a short documentary film series which can be seen online.

The group also visited local schools to talk about reducing plastics in the ocean and took part in a number of beach clean-ups.

Last year’s trip included a research component with the waters of Bermuda being testing for plastic content — not least micro beads found in cosmetics.

However, due to problems with the samples that research remains inconclusive.

Among the pieces of advice about plastic included in the documentary series were:

• Do not use plastic bags; use reusable canvas bags;

• Don’t use single-use bottles; use a reusable water bottle;

• Don’t buy excessively packaged products; buy fresh and local organic products;

• Avoid products with microbeads in them.

The race fee for the upcoming event is $150 with paddleboarders starting at Daniel’s Head in front of SurfSUP Bermuda. The course will either run clockwise or counter clockwise depending on the weather and there will be a fleet of safety boats joining the pack to keep competitors safe, hydrated and nourished. In addition to the 40-mile race, others can compete in a six-mile paddle around Somerset Island (entry fee $30) and a one-mile junior race for those aged eight to 16 at Somerset Long Bay ($15).

Other ‘just for fun’ challenges include Spin Like Michael Jackson in which competitors will be challenged with spinning their paddleboard around as many times as possible in one minute.

A welcoming party and a wrap-up beach BBQ. The races take place on May 28 and May 29.

•For more information and to register visit www.devilsislechallenge.com