Watertrek has joined Plastic Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance of more than 1,200 organizations in 75 countries working toward a more equitable world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on waterways, oceans, and the environment.
Séverine, our founder, also becomes a Notable Member of PPC, an honorary title shared by the likes of
alongside Jeff Bridges, Jackson Brown, Jane Fonda, Bette Midler, Jack Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Chelsea Handler etc…PPC is currently working with Hollywood industries to raise awareness on plastic and waste representation in TV series through its initiative «Flip the script on plastic». The aim is to develop new narratives and gestures on screen, an approach that particularly inspires Séverine, both as an actress and environmentalist, and as she is launching her own Masterclass for Cinema students Acting in the anthropo(s)cene.
Former US Vice President Al Gore and all his team from the Climate Reality Project were in Europe this June 2018 to dispense training on the climate crisis, providing an opportunity for Séverine - creator of Watertrek - to widen her knowledge in this field and think about possible projects. More than 700 people from all over the world met in the Hotel Maritim, right in the heart of Berlin, from 26 till 28 June to participate in 3 days of conferences, workshops and meetings. Themes were sometimes very sharp: "Climate and migration", "Raising ambition in Europe", with a particular focus on the host country - Germany - and its essential transition (with Poland) from coal.
The heart of the program remains the impressive presentation delivered by Vice President Al Gore, both in its extensive version of 2:45 hours, and its short version: 10 minutes. Associating cards, figures, diagrams, photos, videos of the main fires, droughts, storms, rains, heat and cold waves undergone all around the world, Al Gore provides an extremely well documented view of the current situation, allowing us to see links between events which can sometimes seem isolated.
If his factual report is obviously alarming - it also presents some very effective and virtuous initiatives to fight the climatic disorder. Climate leaders are then invited to take ownership of the material - all the resources are accessible - to go and speak in their own community.
If the question of oceans was not directly addressed, many climatic facts are bound to it. The subgroup of new Climate Leaders from London under the supervision of mentor Jo – and which Séverine belongs - decided to start work on the consumption of plastic bottles in London airports and on replanting, projects which particularly and already interest Watertrek.
Climate Reality Training is regularly delivered all around the world and is open to all on selection.
Séverine took the floor during the inaugural Ecogames Paris 2018 conference organized on June 5th by Didier Lehenaff in the City hall of Paris 10th district, within the framework of the World Environment Day.
" All equal ": how can sport contribute to social and environmental equity today? This is the question she tried to answer, reminding us that in front of such ecological disaster climate change is, we might be more equal - and vulnerable - than we believe, but also that - from her experience on the field - environmental education - and water preservation - remains often issues dealt by females. Food for thought.
Watertrek was officially hosted for 3 days in Romania by a delegation of stand-up paddlers determined to promote their practice and stand for cleaner rivers, as well as willing to design a possible conservation project for the Donau.
Doctor Florin Paun and his wife Ingrid - both French residents with a Rumanian background - had invited Mathieu and Séverine from Watertrek as well as Stéphane from Sup Passion to meet numerous local athletes and to go paddle in unexpected places. It seems we were the first ever to paddle downtown Bucharest - thanks to Ministry of Sports – as well as on the Snargov lake, known to host the National Center for Olympic Sports... as well as the tumb of famous Vlad Dracul, also named Dracula.
Dr Florin Paun - an expert in aerospace and innovation - was the first man to bring SUP to the Donau Delta 5 years ago and gave his two boards to the local club Fit and Funny run by Razvan Marinescu so he could offer free sessions to the children of the villages along the Black Sea coast.
Florin and Ingrid also launched the initiative " Stand-up for Clean Mountains & Rivers " and have tried to educate their relatives and friends about plastic pollution. The couple used the marriage of their godson - to which we were invited - in Giurgiu, close to the Bulgarian border, to ask all their guests to make a donation to an environmental association and by the same token invited Prince Harry and Meghan of England to do just like them. Their objective was to create a first, and hopefully see such donations on wedding lists on a more regular basis…
The idea of an European Sup relay was mentioned, as Romania will chair the European Commission in 2019.
Huge thanks to Mister Ioan Denes, Ministry for Water and Forests; to Victor Sandu, Managing Director of Rumanian Waters ANAR ; to Adela Alexe, Director of the Training center Baza in Snagov, and to Madam Gabriela Firea, Mayor of Bucharest, for their warm welcome.
On the initiative of Francesca Santoro - Head of the UNESCO Regional Office in Venice - Watertrek was invited in December 2017 to join he Ocean Literacy for All Conference and present a non-formal education case.
For 2 days, elected officials and institutions, such as Gesine Meissner (Member of the European Parliament), Peter Tomson (Special Envoy for Oceans at the UN), Officials and University curriculum managers, as well as representatives of associations were able to present their work and practices implemented to promote oceanographic knowledge. The aim was to explore ways to make this knowledge accessible for all. Watertrek - alongside his partner Surfrider and in the person of its founder Séverine - was able to present his initiatives during a twenty-minute intervention in the heart of the Venetian capital.
After those two days of presentation and interaction, working groups were formed to put in place a medium-term strategy. Watertrek has thus invested in a group in charge of the implementation of a proposal for a law to make oceanographic knowledge compulsory in schools, a great starting point for new synergies and a thorough work to deepen in the coming months, especially since the UN approved in December 2017 the proposal of the IOC-UNESCO "International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development".
Thank you to the whole Unesco team for its welcome.
On the conference:
On the UN oceans decade:
“In some ways my life won’t return to ‘normal’ after Noli as my mind is more focused on doing the right things.” How is that for an encouraging statement, coming from Paul - Starboard UK distributor - after he spent the weekend hanging with a bunch of inspiring people? It is proof of the commitments and beliefs that Watertrek is built on "If you are aware, you care.” It fully validates the amazing outcomes achieved by Linzi Hawkins from SUP Kids who decided to launch the Protect Blue Conference – the sustainability conference that plays outside – during the Green Surf Festival in the stunningly beautiful town of Noli on the Lingurian coast of Italy from the 13th to 15th July 2017.
The goal of the outdoor, hands-on conference was to explore and identify how the SUP industry can fulfil its potential to become leaders in sustainability, with plenty of fun and education. Amongst the guests invited to share professional initiatives and ideas with the Protect Blue and Green Surf Festival participants, were some very proactive entities: Svein Rasmussen from Starboard, Michael Stewart from Sustainable Surf, Alan Laubsch from Lykke, Darryl Mootoosamy from B Corp UK, Haley Haggerstone from 5 Gyres Institute, Juli Schulz from The Climate Reality Project.
From a yoga fitness session by the beach punctuated with climate change education and quizzes, through hikes in the mountain learning about investing in mangrove trees, to Beers for Good – probably the best time and place to change the world – the three days were an incredible opportunity to brainstorm, connect and fuel our own projects with inspiring energy.
Watertrek was proudly represented by several crew members: Severine, Watertrek Founder; Melanie, Myanmar Expedition Coordinator; Mei Li, Plastic Ocean Festival Coordinator; Wim & Evi from Watertrek Belgium; and John, our Business Strategist - who were delighted to reunite with Carolyn & Carlos, currently paddling through their world first marathon project on plastic bottle SUP board. Noli, Italy became their fourth of twelve marathons across Europe to raise awareness and understanding of plastic pollution and raise funds for Watertrek.
Everyone present was honoured to listen to the amazing story of one of most impressive SUP paddlers in the world, as Chris Bertish (inspirational speaker, author, extreme ocean athlete and ocean ambassador) spoke on the festival stage on Saturday as the blazing, hot sun went down. Chris shared the story of his epic adventure across the Atlantic Ocean with us – solo and unassisted on a specially made SUP vessel from Africa to the Americas for charity: a world first feat which is difficult to visualise as it was such an intense challenge. As well as the mental and physical challenges, Chris paddled two million strokes, through turbulent storms (there were only 3 days of calm water), survived Great White Shark and giant squid attacks, was faced with only one type of food for 93 days and nights – and became a global example to illustrate to us all that just about anything is possible, as long as you stay focused, know your goals, take it stroke by stroke and never give up. Creating impact and implicating positive change through our networks and communities can seem overwhelming, but it is possible; the word ‘impossible’ holds the key itself: I’M possible, we all are, and we can all make a difference. As Chris's mantra says, “Anything is possible… dream it, see it, believe it, achieve it.”
Protect Blue will return again as a leading forum to facilitate discussions and ideas through outdoor play and seek ways we can protect and continue standing strong together for our waterways and oceans.
Photos: Georgia Schofield & David Altabev.
Watertrek is very happy to join the event organized by Le Grand 8 SUP club in Joinville on the 13th and 14th. May 2017: the race and event of the Eau Vive. Various coordinators of the association from different countries - France, England, Belgium - will participate in the races offered during the weekend, and will take care of a stand aiming to raise awareness on the problem of waste in rivers through several games. Marwan will join and tell stories about water to kids.
The adventurers Carolyn & Carlos - volunteers at Watertrek in London - will join the event from Brazil to make a paddleboard in plastic bottles, a way for them to raise awareness but also to announce their expedition project, These will launch during Ocean International Day on June 8th and will lead them to perform 12 marathons in recycled SUP across Europe. Join us as we will be building the board and bring some 2-litre plastic bottles!
Watertrek is particularly happy to participate in this event, as Joinville hosted its very first foreshore clean-up 4 years ago, a trip back to where it all started and for sure a great reason to celebrate and enjoy local white wine.
A huge thank to Gilles de Joinville for welcoming us.
Friday 12 May
16:00 SUP session with champion Olivia Piana (beginners)
17:30 SUP session with champion Olivia Piana (confirmed)
Saturday 13 May
14:00 Opening of the village
14:00 Clean up organized by Surfrider Foundation
15:30 Dragon Paddle Race
17:00 Long Distance Run 12,6 Coupe de France
18:30 Street Paddle Session
18:30 Yoga Paddle
19:00 Presentation of the Sup expedition project in the mangrove in November 2017 by Mel & Paul from Watertrek (in English, translated)
19:15 Awards ceremony, Drinks
20:00 Guinguette Party
Sunday 14 May
10:00 Opening of the village
11:00 Sup yoga
12:00 Fun bikes
14:00 Friendly sup cruise
14:20 Technical Race
15:30 Dance Paddle
16:00 Sup-dog Contest
16:30 Dragon Paddle Race
17:15 Awards ceremony, Drinks
- 18 stands (SUP equipment, environment, mineral water tasting etc ...), including the Watertrek stand offering educational games
- sup testing initiation
- construction of a SUP with plastic bottles with Carolyn & Carlos from Watertrek
- tales for children about water with Marwan from Watertrek
Watertrek has been able to rely on the support of Starboard - the most famous sup and windsurf board manufacturer, created by Champion Svein Rasmussen - since January 2016, and we are very proud to have been invited to San Diego for the annual sales meeting. The gathering offered the chance to meet the entire Starboard crew throughout the world - salespersons, distributors, as well as other NGO supported by the brand, such as Parley, SUP kids, and Sustainable Surf.
Severine, creator of Watertrek, was able to pitch and present the current projets and vision of Watertrek, as well as connect with possible new coordinators in the US. Svein Rasmussen did a powerful statement on his involvement to protect nature and oceans, presenting eco and recycled boards, as well as his new Paddle & Pick device, a trash/treasure bag delivered with every single board purchased, the bag coming with a hook to strap on your paddle in order to "fish" waste from the water more easily.
Everybody then left up north to reach Dana Point and attend the Pacific Paddle Games, one of the major SUP event around the world, where most famous Starboard racers took part, and where Linzi from SUP Kids was able to raise awareness on plstic pollution through a massive plastic wave she had built.
The 2016 edition of Green Week - the biggest annual occasion to debate and discuss European environment policy - took place between the 30 May to the 3rd June. It focused on investing for a greener future. Events and activities took place across Europe, centered round a high-level conference in Brussels on Wednesday 1 June, with a wide variety of organizations and partners taking part.
Regarding the fact that Ljubljana is European Green Capital 2016, the official opening of Green Week took place in Ljubljana with 100 SUP on Ljubljanica river, Watertrek's Founder Severine Vasselin being hosted as main guest and spending time with local Starboard champion Manca Notar. The main goal of this event was to gather hundreds of stand up paddlers to make Ljubljanica river cleaner. The event was co-organized with the Municipality of Ljubljana and Radio Antena as a media partner, along with Watertrek Foundation who aims to federate cities into raising awareness and create a local group of waterways users committed to spread the love of our waters and oceans and the need to protect them.
The trip gave Watertrek's founder Severine a great opportunity to discover the country and paddle in several locations thanks to amazing host Marco Notar who offered some amazing pictures and perspectives on his country.
A few days before the opening of the COP 21 in Paris, Watertrek has decided to support his Patron Nicolas Hulot - well-known French Activist and Special Envoy of the French Presidency for the Protection of our Planete - through a campaign published on its social media platforms inviting each of us to sign his call "Daring". This turned out a nice viral success despite the dramatic circumstances in France then. Thanks a lot to all the watertrekkers - windsurfers, paddlers, canoeists, divers, actors - who agreed to pose for this project that has been followed by about 60,000 people.
"Dare" is a petition and a plea proposing 12 measures to reduce global warming, both related to our choices in terms of transportation, meat consumption, banks or electricity suppliers. It invites each of us to limit food and energy waste and to be fully involved in protecting our climate and nature.