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HOME arrow SUP NEWS arrow Positive H2O
Positive H2O PDF Print E-mail
By: Jake Miller, Positive H2O   
Sunday, 01 January 2012

  

h2o.jpg

Photo Credit: Mariah Sievers Photography 

A water world dreamland of turquoise and deep rich royal blue. I wondered if it was the jet lag or a waking dream. I had just traveled half way around the world and leap backwards through the dateline but there was one thing I knew for sure: I just arrived at one of the last great paradise island chains on earth, the Maldives. I was here for an epic four day event at the Six Senses Resort on Laamu Atoll that my company Positive H2O collaborated with others to create. Taking one look around at the stunning setting I just knew it was going to be good!

 

With the opportunity to windsurf the world there is no greater stoke for me than finding the perfect peeling wave and epic sailing conditions in a beautiful location. But more and more my attention is drawn to the disturbing amount of petrochemicals and plastics polluting the ocean. A couple years ago I started asking myself: How can I help keep the ocean and shoreline clean? What can I do as a pro-windsurfer to influence others to focus on clean water issues and take action? These questions rattled around in my head and out of this an idea was born; to join other pro-watermen who also felt the desire to raise awareness for clean water issues. Levi Siver, Keith Teboul, Pascal Bronnimann and I formed +H2O, a company dedicated to promoting water awareness ranging from global access to clean water, local beach clean ups or connecting corporations with non-profits that focus on water conservation and sanitation.

Using this platform +H2O joined forces with Six Senses Resort to host the first Annual WaterWo/Man Event on Laamu Island. As it turns out some of the top water athletes around the world are also hearing the siren's call to save the ocean. One by one we were joined by other dedicated water men and woman, film makers, conservationists, charity founders and celebrities who flew in from  France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Hawaii, India, Australia and the USA.

 

The event kicked off with early morning surf sessions at Yin Yang, a glassy peeling point break. It was hard not to smile surfing with dolphins in 80 degree crystal clear water. Epic AM surf sessions gave the pros a chance to chill and bond before breaking into small groups with the event attendees to give personalized instruction and education on their specific water sport. From there the day just got better.

 

Imagine waking up in an amazing overwater villa, downing some coffee, slapping on some sunscreen, hopping on a bicycle (given to resort guests to cruise the island) and pedaling to a personalized Stand Up Paddle lesson from big wave surfer Buzzy Kerbox and seven time women's world surfing champion Layne Beachley. Only to follow that with an afternoon kite instruction from Kite speed record holder Alex Caizergues or a wake board challenge by Duncan Zuur, king of wake boarding. Then picture yourself grabbing some organic locally grown grinds and heading in to the Jungle Cinema to check out a short film on the dangers of over fishing.

 

Imagine another morning where you cruse down the beach to test your skills at windsurfing with Pro-windsurfer Levi Siver. Then see how long you can hold your breath under water with Anna Von Boetticher, Women's World Record holder in Freediving. Or cycle to the overwater cafe to enjoy a fresh juice before snorkeling the house reef off the steps of the restaurant with aquaman Fabien Cousteau. In the afternoon another great opportunity to relax under a leafy canopy listening to Eco-Debates from game changers in the fields of water and human rights.

 

Each night participants kept the momentum of the day going with cocktails on the sand bar during sunset, watching the Windsurfing Movie II  and Soul Surfer on a big screen under the stars, and crowding around the piano bar to listen to Beth Orton sing. One of the evenings the pros put on a WaterWo/man show on Yin Yang for guests enjoying drinks on a nearby yacht. Buzzy Kerbox worked his SUP surf skills for the crowd with ripping turn after turn. Bethany Hamilton and Layne Beachley made it a ladies show doubling up on waves.

 

Epic days turning into epic nights, but the most important activity happened on the last day. Event participants boarded boats from the resort and traveled 10 minutes by sea to the nearby atoll Kunahandhoo. The local community turned out to welcome everyone to their island with traditional Maldivian drumming and fresh coconuts to drink. Participants and pros joined local school children for a beach clean up, bagging up rubbish that cluttered the shoreline. The garbage was later transferred to Laamu island's waste facility courtesy of Six Senses.

 

After we collected the trash the community elders led us to the only school on the atoll where the younger children greeted us with flowers and smiles. Sonu Shivdasani, the CEO of Six Senses gave a heart warming speech to all in attendance about caring for the ocean. He spontaneously invited some of the older students to come over to Laamu that afternoon for first-time surf lessons taught to them by pros.

All in attendance had the chance to walk around the atoll and see the clean water project co-funded by +H2O and Six Senses and implemented through the Water Charity organization. The clean water project are rain catchment systems set up on four atolls designed to catch and store clean drinking water for over 3000 people to use during the dry season.  

 

 I’m very grateful and humbled that +H2O was giving the opportunity to help these communities and meet the people who will benefit from the clean water project.  So you may be asking what can I do to help?  There are a few things. 

Try to find three things you can do to become more carbon neutral.

Use less plastic and sustain from buying bottled water.

Write, call and email your local politician that is representing you to inform them and help make decisions for a positive change.

Educate your friends and families. 

Help by donating to our Water Charity fund at http://watercharity.org/node/197 to help create more projects like these.

 

There are solutions for our problems and the only way we can solve them is for us all to work together.  We all have to act now because waiting for tomorrow or for someone else to do it will be too late.

 

To learn more on what you can do visit our site at www.positiveh2o.com

 

feed1 Comments
acbrent25
January 09, 2012
68.44.90.74

This is such a great cause you guys are promoting here. More people need to be aware of how their garbage and pollution affects sea life and our whole ocean. Thank you for this!
Great writing as well by the way!!


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