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Powering on for climate change

HOP caught up with pioneering adventurer and world record holder, David Haze, to find out more about his latest challenge in circumnavigating the Isle of Wight to help raise awareness for ocean pollution.

In his latest challenge, David Haze, took on the might of the Atlantic Ocean in a world first carbon neutral challenge. HOP spoke with David to find out more about the trials and tribulations in completing such an immense adventure.

The first day at sea was one of adaptation for David Haze as he told HOP “before this challenge, I of course had been training on the board but the waters of the Solent and those that surround the Isle of Wight are a completely different beast to the ones I trained on. Once this adventure started, I knew straight away it was going to be more difficult than I expected. On day two 40km+ head winds were expected and as there was no chance I could paddle through them. I aimed to paddle further on day one and around the needles but the winds changed quickly and I couldn’t pass the needles but I paddled further than I expected and set up camp in Cowell Bay.

The navigation can be a challenge, said David as he highlighted that “with the right conditions, the correct board and the SUP experience & know how you can paddle the Island in one day but it is hit and miss with the conditions. I said to myself I will take 4 days (25km of paddling a day) to complete this to show that I can survive on environmentally friendly equipment to hopefully inspire others to think about what they use in their everyday life.

As the navigation progressed, so too did the challenges associated with being at sea. David told HOP “this was the most challenging activity I have even done in my life. It was emotionally, physically and mentally challenging. On day 2 the winds came in early and I paddled a total of 5km in 24 hours. On day three with the winds still quite strong I went around the Needles and the plan was to get to the east of the Island to camp for the night. However, as I was 700 metres off Compton Bay I was taken out by a wave, my leash snapped and my board disappeared leaving me stranded offshore to swim back. With the fate of the challenge on the brink of collapse, I sourced a new leash through the clothes company Rapanui. The following day I paddled 52km, going through the dreaded waters of St Catherine’s point which was probably the scariest thing I have ever done on my paddle board. By 8pm and with 5km to go to complete the challenge the winds and tide had changed on me and I couldn’t paddle anymore. I did notice the board was acting peculiar and when I came ashore my heart sank as I came to realise the fin and mount had disappeared making the last leg near impossible to paddle so I had to call it and end the challenge there but with 5km, I couldn’t let it be! I woke up in the morning, gathered my thoughts and realised I had one option left! I wrapped the leash around my waist and walked the last stretch through the water dragging the board behind me through chest deep water at times only to complete the challenge.

With this extraordinary feat of endurance, there is no doubt that with the right mindset, anything is possible. David said that he himself learnt a surprising amount from this challenge as he told HOP “the main points I took away from this is that there are so many companies doing great work that we all can lead carbon neutral environmentally friendly lives if we wanted to but as consumers we are not being educated enough to know that it is possible. I came across so many plastic bags and the supermarkets now charge 30p for these. It’s all about profit and not about the environment and protecting our oceans! Why are they getting fined for producing these? One other major thing I learned is that no matter what life throws at you, never give up until you have given it your all! And when you have done just that then take a step back, reevaluate and think about your priorities, what’s important in life and take it from there. I could have given up so many times on this challenge but I always had options.”

In completing such an immense adventure at sea, David told HOP that our planet is the most valuable asset we will ever have and that we can all work together to help mitigate the effects of ocean pollution and climate change, David said “the first and most simplest thing is to eradicate as much single use from our lives as possible. Use reusable water bottles, bags for life and research what brands are doing to protect the plant but see how they offset the carbon footprint. BitMore is a tech company I have teamed up with wheat straw in their products. There is so much great work being done if you go out and look for it!”

The future in raising awareness for climate change is looking bright as David told HOP “after the success of this challenge I realised that I need to do more and I am so very aware that more can be done. I am going to continue my partnership with these great brands and I am heading to Iceland to take on their longest lake in October to attempt my 8th world record. As I do have to fly I will be planting 70 trees in a prison not only to offset my foot print but to inspire growth, rehabilitation and helping people connect with nature in such a negative environment.

It is clear to see that we can all work together in helping to combat climate change by thinking more sustainably and in doing so we can help create a planet that is greener for the future.

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