WHEN:              SATURDAY 29th September 2012

WHERE:           Mackay Harbour to Airlie Beach Lagoon

WHAT:              4 Local Airlie Beach Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Board riders will paddle from Mackay to Airlie Beach, a distance of 120km (65nm) to raise awareness of the challenges our oceans are facing courtesy of plastic.

WHO:               Ian Thomson – Founder Ocean Crusaders and world record holder of fastest solo monohull circumnavigation of Australia (Sailing – Set in June 2010), Luke & Tristram Mairs – Owners of iSail Whitsundays, Kyle Rose – Skipper Hamilton Island.

WHY:               Our oceans are being threatened by our plastic habits.  We want to raise awareness of the challenges our oceans are facing and raise funds to take the  Ocean Crusaders Education Program to every primary school in the local region.

Ian Thomson, Luke Mairs, Tristram Mairs

The tidal wave of garbage that is accumulating in our oceans is titanic.  Predominantly plastic, there is believed to be enough garbage in our oceans to cover Australia 3m deep.  Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there as most of it has photo degraded into miniscule particles the size of plankton, the smallest living creature in the ocean.

In June 2010, Ian Thomson launched Ocean Crusaders (Formerly Save Our Seas International) by smashing the solo circumnavigation of Australia world record when he sailed back into Airlie Beach having spent some 42 days at sea.  Now he’s taking on a new challenge to continue raising awareness of this vital issue.  And this time he’s joined by three friends who will paddle alongside him in this epic paddling challenge.

The course will see the three departing Mackay Harbour at 0900hrs on Saturday 29th September.  It is expected it will take the three between 15 & 20 hours of paddling to reach the beach next to the lagoon in Airlie Beach.  The riders will not get off the boards at any time, although regular rest periods will be taken to replenish themselves with food and water.  The date has been chosen due to the full moon to provide light at night and for the favourable tides.

The boards they will be riding are provided by Naish Surfing, the biggest brand in Stand Up Paddle around the world.  They are 17ft long and have a rudder system.  They will surf along swells if the conditions are right and the three riders will be hoping for a 15-20 knot south easterly to glide them home.

When asked why he takes on these challenges Ian replied ‘Whilst you all see this as a massive challenge, it is the ocean that faces a bigger challenge every day.  Our plastic ‘convenient’ lifestyle is threatening our oceans and our health.  With 100,000+ marine creatures and 1 million+ sea birds dying of plastic suffocation and entanglement every year, plastic is kind of like the devil.

The garbage patches in the sea are growing rapidly every year and this acidifies our oceans, the very oceans that produce 60-80% of the worlds oxygen.  And plastic is not good for our health.  Toxins in plastics known as Bisphenol A (BPA’s) have been proven to cause cancers, ADHD and Autism to name just a few.  Our plastic habits are actually killing us and it’s all in the name of convenience.  We need to stop being so lazy and start using the alternatives.’

Luke and Tristram have joined Ian and said ‘We run a company that provides SUP to our guests whilst cruising theWhitsundayIslandson yachts.  It is such a fantastic sport for our region and when Ian mentioned he wanted to paddle from Mackay back to Airlie to raise awareness of the plastic issue, we jumped at it straight away.  It will be an incredible challenge and one that I am sure will be hugely rewarding.  And to do it for a good cause makes it so much more worthwhile.  We need to protect our backyard as for so many of us, it is our livelihood.’

Kyle Rose has also joined the team having been a member of the Ocean Crusader team for a while.  Based at Hamilton Island as a skipper he too is a keen paddler.  ‘I’ve been right into the Outrigging on Hamilton Island and this challenge will be amazing.  To educate people on Hamilton Island is a goal of mine so this will really kick start the message.’ Kyle said.

Ocean Crusaders are looking for sponsors for this event so that we can take our education program to every primary school in the local region.  Our online program educates students about the creatures in the oceans, what the hazards to them are and also how they can change things in their everyday life to help them.  Students will learn about Whales, Turtles, Dolphins, Sharks and much more with Ian personally presenting the first lesson and providing teachers with all the reference material.   The cost to get to each school is just $300 so if you can sponsor a school visit, please contact us.  We would also like to raise enough funds so that we can sponsor a day or two for Eco Barge Clean Seas who go out to the islands and pick up debris off the beaches.  Ideally we’d like to raise $10,000.

With council considering kerbside recycling in the Whitsunday Region and plastic bag bans being discussed all around the world, this could be a crucial event to educate locals on the real issues of plastic in our environment and on our health.

To Donate click HERE


Ocean Crusaders – Ian Thomson – info@OceanCrusaders.org – 0412 932 808

iSail Whitsundays – Luke Mairs – 0438 240 976

                                 Tristram Mairs –  0409 239 125

Current Supporters:

Naish Surfing, Whitsunday Boardriders, iSail Whitsundays, Barz Optics, Invisible Zinc