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  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 Cofounder; 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 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, cofounder 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.

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.

Ljubljana being the European Green Capital for 2016, the official opening of Green Week took place in Ljubljana with 100 SUP on Ljubljanica river, Watertrek's cofounder 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 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.


A few days before the opening of the COP 21 in Paris, Watertrek has decided to support Nicolas Hulot - well-known French Activist and Special Envoy of the French Presidency for the Protection of Planet Earth -  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.

"Daring" 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.

After a first year spent travelling, writing reports and organizing events, Watertrek became an official non-profit under French Law by December 2013, giving us a good reason to celebrate. And since december is hosting the famous boating show in Paris, it is definitely the best time to gather all of our sea lovers friends around a drink in honor of the new-born Watertrek. Boardrider Quicksilver Bercy in East Paris hosted about 100 guests for our first Watertrek Boogie Beach Party, the official launch of the association. The program was great: screening of a surf film shot in Indonesia by Director Matthias Di Francia and a DJ set 100% soundtrack by Moviemix, 2 DJs - Fred & Nicolas - both passionate with cinema and surf. Bringing together cinema world and sea world is definitely one important objective for Watertrek. It seems we did a pretty good job with that beautiful event thanks to all the paddlers, surfers et actors who joined. Long live Watertrek & thank you all for supporting us in our first steps.