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SUP Against SUP

SUP Against SUP

photography
Ian Finch
July 2018 | Read
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In spring of 2018 Sian Sykes undertook a circumnavigation of Wales by SUP (Stand-Up Paddle Board) to raise awareness about SUP (Single Use Plastics). Sian showed that world-firsts don’t need to be in far flung destinations, and that waste doesn’t just wash up on the exotic beaches of the South Pacific, but clogs our waterways too. Ian Finch documented part of the journey and offers us a photo essay on this remarkable feat.


 

Sian Sykes paddle boarded for 60 days via the coastline, inland waterways and rivers around the boundary of Wales. Her world-first expedition, covering 1000km, was to raise awareness of plastic pollution, especially that of single use plastics. This lengthy journey was entirely free of single use plastic, from toiletries to food.

My role as expedition photographer was to capture Sian’s endeavour and the three natural environments in which it took place; canals, rivers and coast. I believe that when you meet a person at this juncture - in a place where there is mental and physical exertion, at the cusp of risk and reward - there are incredible visual stories to be told. Each phase was a day-to-day grind, ultimately taking its toll on her hands and limbs. The final phase involved weeks beside the barrage and complexity of the Welsh coastline. Each phase had its immense challenges and moments of elation until she completed the journey where she began, Connah’s Quay.

 

Sian backs into one of many of locks on the Shropshire Union canal

Sian backs into one of many locks on the Shropshire Union canal


The hands that speak a thousand words

The hands that speak a thousand words


The vast open dunes at Both Beach, Wales

The vast open dunes at Borth Beach, Wales

 

A morning portrait. Tired, but as strong as ever

A morning portrait. Tired, but as strong as ever


A moment in time and perfect conditions never to be repeated

A golden moment in time never to be repeated


Jungle Severn - Feels like the jungle, looks like the Severn

Jungle Severn - feels like the jungle, looks like the Severn


Working with the RNLI to find safe passage

Working with the RNLI to find safe passage


Aberystwyth - Exiting safe harbour, bound for the wild coastline

Aberystwyth. Exiting safe harbour, bound for the wild coastline


Her board became everything. Safety, mode of transport and her companion

Her board became everything; safety, mode of transport and her companion


Exiting into the haze of a lonely volcanic beach, Wales

Exiting into the haze of a lonely volcanic beach, Wales



Sian Sykes runs Psyched Paddleboarding based in Anglesey, and their website has much more information on Sian's SUP Against SUP journey and the fundraising that went with it.

Ian Finch is a widely published expedition photographer and adventure journalist. More information on Ian and his work can be found at his website and Instagram page.


 

Written By
Ian Finch

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