We all love the beaches of our long and varied coast. Any regular visitor will know how special they are and how important they are to the economy and communities of the area. Nearly everyone in the UK has a happy beach memory.
Our beaches are often blessed with surf, which brings smiles to the faces of young kids with bodyboards, beginner surfers enjoying that first magic carpet ride, and sun worn older surfers who've traveled the world but still love a wave at their local spot.
Surfing brings in around £34 million to the Cornish economy alone, all based around the stunning beaches and coast.
But in water lurks a dirty secret. Bacteria, pollution, plastic and litter blight the marine environment that brings so much pleasure to so many. The Surfers Against Sewage started out just as their name suggests, but have grown to become the real guardians of our coastline.
Check out their latest campaign, having a voice in Parliament:
The SAS work hard to protect our seas and our waves, but need support to do so. I've always been a fan of their work and their no-holds barred campaigns (who else would turn up to the Houses of Parliament with an inflatable turd!).
As a surfer, nature lover, environmentalist and a resident of the south west I understand the importance of healthy seas to the region, and I've decided to do something to raise money for SAS.
Please support my efforts and donate. Every penny raised will help to monitor beach pollution, campaign for investment in the latest sewage treatment systems (South West Water have a lot to be held accountable for!), raise awareness of marine litter, and work to protect surf spots for people to enjoy in the future.
I've worked on two coastal nature reserves, and I know first hand what a big impact the work of SAS can have. So please help me help them to protect our coast.
How your donations help…
- £10 will help us to equip a family to take part in a beach clean, helping us to buy bin bags, gloves, insurance and first aid kits.
- £20 will help us to send out over 650 text messages to water users when raw sewage is being discharged at their local beach.
- £50 will help us pay for community information campaign materials to educate local communities about the issues affecting their coastline.
- £100 will help get our campaigns team in front of policy & decision makers
- £1,000 will help us to train & equip a regional representative to care for their local coastal region.
- £5,000 will pay for us to publish a scientific report into one of the many issues affecting our coastline.
- £10,000 will help our campaigns team to organise campaign actions throughout the year and lobby government and industry.
- £25,000 could help us to run our education programme for an entire year and inspire the next generation of environmentalists.
To raise money for SAS I am going to try to surf 15 or more beaches, travelling between them by bike.
I'll have my surfboard in a rack on my bike and will be paddling out at the beaches to catch waves too. At each beach I have to paddle out and surf at least one wave, riding the green face. If I can fit in some turns then all the better! Let's hope the surf isn't perfect or it'll be hard to get back on the bike!
The challenge will take place along the north coast of Cornwall between Harlyn Bay and Portreath or maybe even Godrevy. The cycling element will cover over 40 miles but there's lots and lots of hills, and long walks to some beaches.
The challenge will take place in North Cornwall on the first or second Saturday of July, 2016. I've built in a bit of flexibility so there are some waves to surf. I will publish the route so come and join me and see if you can cycle to the beach too. I will have a back-up date in case there are no waves that day.
I want to throw down the gauntlet to local councils and communities to get on board and build proper cycle infrastructure in the south west to reduce the amount of cars on the road, reduce pollution, and make our coastline an ever better place to visit and play.
If you think I can do it then please sponsor me. If you want to join me then get in touch. I might even be able to do more than 15 beaches.
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