Reconnecting with nature
It is easy to forget sometimes that we are part of nature, literally. My hope is that by strengthening our connection to nature and the places we walk, climb or paddle it will make us more conscious of what we are doing to it and what we are doing to ourselves.
Therefore, over the past few years I have been passionate about promoting adventure, and in particular microadventures, with the aim of building the outdoors into your everyday life by adventuring small and often and inherently building a stronger connection with your local area or country. Alongside principles of leaving no trace, going back to basics and observing the seasons, it is more than a daytrip to the beauty spots, it is a way of life. It is about experiencing the natural world and having fun in our outdoor playground whilst respecting it.
‘For in the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught’. Baba Dioum
Over the years I’ve been lucky to have had the opportunity to build that connection with the ocean through sailing, swimming, diving or even admiring it from the mountain tops. However, as we live right on the coast I wanted to find a way to reconnect on a more regular basis. I love a cold swim, but was yearning for a way to further explore the local area on water without the cost or time to organise use of a boat, and paddleboarding has been a great solution. It is a very accessible sport for all ages and the inflatables are so easy to set up and go!
The sport has seen a huge rise in uptake over lockdown, presumably due to its accessibility and social distancing appeal, but unfortunately as a result there has also been a rise in companies capitalising on this by manufacturing cheap plastic paddleboards which may only last a season, if that. This did not sit well with me and I was looking for a long-term investment.
Sea Lion leading the way
Before purchasing a paddleboard, I did a lot of research to ensure I wasn’t compromising on sustainability and found the one I could get ‘on board’ with (excuse the pun!): Sea Lion Boards.
Sea Lion’s mission is very much in line with my own, which is to ‘Inspire Adventure on Water and create a closer connection to the very places we paddle’.
Eco board features
Bloom Foam Deck Pads: Sea Lion is the first inflatable SUP to incorporate Bloom’s algae foam which transforms sunlight, water and pollution into a renewable plant biomass that helps the environment.
Each board results in over 2,000 liters of fresh water being returned to its environment as well as 200 balloons of CO2 kept from entering the atmosphere!
Yulex and Neoprene Free:
Yulex is sourced from FSC forests (only 0.5% of the worlds rubber supply currently comes from FSC natural rubber sources!) and because the polyisoprene was created in trees instead of factories and produced using solar energy, CO2 emitted in the manufacturing product is reduced by 80% when compared to conventional neoprene.
All Sea Lion’s paddleboards, bags and leashes are neoprene free and the grab handles and ankle cuffs made out of recycled PET water bottles.
The eco-paddles use FCS balsa wood cores with authentic wood veneers, plant based resins and environmental flax/carbon for the perfect combo of power, flex and durability, and every paddle is unique.
Sea Lion also give back to the environment through 1% for the Planet, a global movement committing businesses to give 1% of gross sales each year to support environmental solutions.
Lastly, while the manufacturing procedures are already cradle to cradle, they are also working towards a Circular Economy model within the next 3 years to ensure the material can be returned responsibly and potentially fed back into the design process once the boards are at the end of their life (which, given they have been well crafted, will take many years!).
Beach Cleans by Paddleboard
An added benefit has been the ability to combine both passions of being on the water and taking environmental action, as I am able to reach some of the more remote beaches to clean, which are harder to get to from the road.
The health of the ocean is an issue close to my heart, and this has been a great way to promote beach cleaning with a difference especially as solo beach cleans are easier within the current guidelines. If we don’t change our plastic consumption, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea and as a mother, it is important to me that the next generation can enjoy a healthy ocean and all the benefits that come with that.