Our team

Ian ‘Thommo’ Thomson

Managing Director / Founder (Australia) – Info@OceanCrusaders.org

Ian founded Ocean Crusaders in 2010 after smashing the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of Australia by a massive 26 days. He used this record to launch the campaign and in turn raising his profile in the community so he could go and speak with people around the world on the issues our oceans are facing.

His passion for the ocean and it’s creatures comes from being on the water and in the water most of his working life. Recovering dead turtles that have died from plastic bag ingestion brings him to tears yet he uses these images and memories to drive this campaign to ensure that no more end up with the same fate.

Annika Thomson (Fredriksson)

IMG_5721Australia/Sweden – Director – annika@oceancrusaders.org

Born just south of Gothenburg in Sweden, Annika grew up on the coastline with her parents teaching her sailing and a respect of the ocean.  She fell in love with the water and wanted more so started diving in 1992 before she became a Dive Instructor in 2003. Moving to Australia soon after, she found her new home on the Great Barrier Reef where she used her passion for the ocean to show tourists the underwater world.  Having developed a love for photography she now dives to capture the pure beauty of the oceans.  Her passion for sailing lead to a commercial skippers ticket in 2005 so she could continue working and living on and in the water.  Now an integral part of the Ocean Crusaders team, her primary campaigns are based around educating people about Beach Debris and why Balloons are not good for our environment.  She also works on our Swedish operations.

Mark & Maura Harvey

Noosa Management team (Australia)

Mark & Maura have several awards for volunteering to clean up our beaches and in particular the Noosa River and surrounds.  You will often find them in their ‘Canoemaran’ getting stuck into the mangroves and hard to get places, pulling out rubbish that most people would leave behind.  That passion lead them to us here at Ocean Crusaders and they now head up our Noosa regional operations running Paddle Against Plastic events and helping out with other major events such as Double Island Point and Fraser Island Clean Ups.

Erol & Olivia Noyan

Geelong Managers (Australia) – geelong@oceancrusaders.org

We met Erol in the Whitsundays where his passion for the ocean was infectious.  He is a gentle giant with a heart of gold and together with wife Olivia, they head up our Geelong based programs.  Son Oscar will grow up loving the ocean and wanting to keep it clean for everyone, so the Geelong region are in safe hands.  Geelong is the gateway to Victoria’s surf country and the need to keep the oceans clean is at the heart of most people in the region and Erol and Olivia are the people to make that happen.

Deb Nicholls

Marketing – marketing@oceancrusaders.org

Deb joined our team having seen our vehicle in the streets of Manly.  She wanted to help us get our message out and started with our BBQ’s and slowly did more and more.  She is now heading up our marketing efforts to help us grow to the next level.  She is also a creative artist and is the maker of a lot of our mascots including McSalty Seagull (McDonalds straws) and Pelican Pete.  On the side she also runs a business in schools where students can make their own artwork out of recycled materials.

Farina Bibi

Social Media

Farina has a real talent for social media and having grown up on the family yacht, her passion for the ocean is never ending.  She is often found out sailing and on a recent offshore race was seen staring into the deep blue sea with loving eyes.  Farina is often seen with a camera in her hands taking footage at our events and her three boys are learning her love of the ocean.  In time we know they will be valuable members of the OC team as well.

Maja Lidsheim-Haak

Sweden – maja@OceanCrusaders.se

Maja has a background of working for large charities such as Save the Children.  With our expansion into Sweden she was the obvious choice as she grew up with Annika around the ocean and wants to help the coast of Sweden be cleaner for all to enjoy, including the wildlife.  Every summer the family head to the West Coast to enjoy the islands and you often see the family picking up debris.  Growing our Swedish branch will be a great project for all and with Maja on deck, we know we are in great hands.

Adrienne Carter

USA – USA@OceanCrusaders.org

Adrienne is the senior marine scientist at Coastal Eco Group inc. in Florida.  She met Ian on a visit to the Whitsundays where she learnt of Ocean Crusaders.  She immediately wanted an involvement and now runs the campaign in the USA for us.  Her dragon boat team regularly compete in races promoting the cause and she is also on the board of the Florida Environmental Professionals.

Adrienne is also behind the Ocean Crusaders club that is run out of Sacred Heart School in Lake Worth, FL with the assistance of Holly Andreotta.  This unique club is a trial of what we would like to set up more of in the future.

Amanda Gawor

Canada – Canada@OceanCrusaders.org

Amanda is a marine biologist who completed her masters in Environmental Science in 2013.  She met Ian whilst working in the Whitsundays for Wings Diving Adventures where she became even more passionate about the oceans as she learnt to dive, seeing the underwater world in all it’s glory around the Whitsunday Islands and the outer Barrier Reef.  She now takes on the role as our Canadian Representative and is available to visit schools throughout Canada.

Andy & Gemma Ross

Ambassadors – peterpanandthemermaid@yahoo.com.au

Andy & Gemma are a passionate couple that are out cruising on their catamaran ‘PAWS’.  You will see the Ocean Crusaders Logos on their cat as they are absolute legends when it comes to getting the word out there about looking after the oceans.  We first met them in the Whitsundays over 10 years ago and their passion continues with Andy recently helping out with our Sunshine Coast operations and Gemma being a vet nurse.  If they ever settle down, you will find them in central Queensland, possibly 1770.  If you see them on the water, drop in and say hello.

Isabel & Michael -I.M Recycled

DCIM100GOPROAmbassadors – isabelromero79@gmail.com – https://freeinthesea2014.com/

Isabel (Ecuadorian/Australian) and Michael (Australian), after spending 8 months in Ecuador in 2014 and seeing how much rubbish was being washed on the beaches, created a project called I.M Recycled where they use plastic bottle caps found on their beach clean-ups to create doormats, placemats and other things to draw attention to the problem of marine debris in our oceans.  Since September 2014, they are living on their sailboat Ondular and travelling through the Caribbean with plans of returning to Australia one day.  On their journey, they continue to do beach cleans and spread the word about the marine litter crisis in our oceans.  They are organising and educational campaign in Ecuador where they will visit schools and give talks about plastic pollution and provide tips on how to reduce our negative impact in the environment.  They will also organise various beach clean ups in the month of January 2016 that will take place in some coastal towns in this country and that look to motivate people to take more action and create change.

Jamie Dunross

Ambassador – dunross@westnet.com.au

What can we say about Jamie. Calling him a dead set legend is just not enough. Jamie smashed the record for the longest distance sailed by a quadriplegic sailor as part of his circumnavigation of Australia……solo. Yes a guy who takes 40 minutes to get to the bow and back on a 34ft boat sailed solo around Australia. More impressive is his time. Whilst he did it with stops, if you only count his on water time he completed the voyage in 57 days, only 15 days slower than Ian’s journey. He is an inspiration to all and has become an ambassador for our campaign.

To learn more about Jamie visit his website www.solo1.com.au

Sean Manchester

Ambassador – smanchester@me.com

Sean has always had a very emotional and physical connection to the ocean. Having grown up on Cape Cod Massachusetts, he spent the first half of his life on, in and around the water. Swimming, sailing, and boating in the summers, surfing and fishing in the fall, and whale watching in the spring. Now he’s taking on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and is using the experience to raise awareness of our campaign. For every mile he raises he is trying to raise $1 for OC.  We’d like to see him sail all the way around the world but he needs help.  Let’s get behind him and give him the opportunity to take our campaign global.

To learn more about Sean and the Clipper race visit http://www.manchesteroceanracing.com

Bruce Arms

Ambassador – svbigwaverider@yahoo.com.au

Bruce Arms is another of our ambassadors that comes from a sailing background.  Like Jamie and Ian, he has a passion for the ocean that has led him into a career of solo sailing.  He won the last two Solo Trans Tasman Yacht Races and in 2011 set the fastest solo circumnavigation of Australia for a multihull, also breaking Ian’s outright solo record.  Bruce was project/voyage manager when Jessica Watson sailed into the history books as the youngest person to circumnavigate the world.  He is also a regular speaker at conferences where you can learn of his passion for the oceans.

To learn more about Bruce visit his website www.brucearms.com

Gina Prendergast

Speaker / Plastic Free Lifestyle Expert gina@plasticfreelifestyle.com

Gina and her young family made a 2011 new years resolution to live a modern life plastic free, and will continue doing so, making it a priority to spread the word on how easy it is for people to reduce new plastic in their lives. This action was born from seeing a number of documentaries on how plastics are harming our oceans, marine life and us. Gina has had different careers working in the Wellness and Finance industries, and always cared deeply for our environment – she graduated from the Centre of Sustainability Fellowship program in 2009, and became a select few to be apart of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership program in late 2010.

For information on how to reduce plastic please visit www.plasticfreelifestyle.com

To see media Gina has been involved in visit http://plasticfreelifestyle.com/category/media/

Dylan Kuipersmith & Kimberley Olsson

10603786_10152241289241296_8993443000106099231_nFounders of ‘Crowd Clean World’ Campaign

Dylan and Kim have both worked in the Whitsundays with Thommo and have a true passion for the ocean.  On their journeys around the world, they were sick of seeing so much trash lying around so started spending 15 minutes a couple of times a week to pick up rubbish.  It started as something small and now they want the world to catch on, and let’s face it, 15 minutes even once a week is not a long time but will make a substantial difference if everyone got involved.  In Dylan’s words ‘Cleaning the world is a massive job. But if this idea was to spread, the concept of a “crowd” changes that. We have over 7 billion people in our world, and when a lot of people do a little each, a big job is done in little time and with little effort. ‘