Paddle and Pick

‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ Nelson Mandela

See the problem...

Become part of the solution.

Build strength, confidence and determination.

Connect to nature.

The cornerstone of our education programme is our Paddle and Pick, where children clear plastic and other waste from the waterway whilst paddleboarding. We believe that by taking children to the water and showing them the problem firsthand, they get a deeper understanding of this global issue. Our hands on, experiential learning is the key to creating lasting behaviour change.

The day begins with a short talk on plastic 


Carlos and Carolyn, co-founders of The Whale Company became the first people in the world to paddle a marathon distance on a stand up paddleboard (SUP) made of plastic bottles in 2017.  They went on to complete 12 marathons in 12 countries in Europe, catching the eye of the media to raise awareness of plastic pollution.  In 2018 they paddled the length of River Thames on their Bottle Boards, stopping to collect messages from children, which they delivered to the Minister for the Environment in the House of Commons.  As an experienced teacher, Carolyn is able to tailor the short talk to children of all ages.  She discusses the issue of plastic pollution in a fun and positive way, sharing expedition/campaign stories and exploring innovative solutions to the problem of single use plastic, by turning waste into a resource; talking about alternatives and encouraging children to think creatively about circular economy design, considering the whole life cycle of a product and its impact on the environment.

Next is an introduction to SUP and safety briefing


The highlight of the program is getting onto the water and learning how to stand up paddle.  The Whale Company has partnered with Active 360, the  SUP club at the forefront of developing SUP in London.  Active 360 coaches are very professional, always put safety first and know how to make the children feel relaxed and supported.  SUP is the world’s fastest growing water sport; it is a great workout that builds fitness and core strength whilst developing confidence, independence and determination.  SUP is a sport that enables people to connect with nature and there is no coincidence that it is fast becoming associated with protecting the environment because when you go paddling you do not want to see pollution. The impact is powerful and will initiate change.


The Paddle and Pick

The impact of hands on learning has been well recorded by multiple leading educational academic publications as having raised students’ performance, motivation and attitudes related to a subject.  We offer the experience to primary aged children from 9 years old to adults (see corporate paddle and picks).  The younger children have the option to go in pairs on the boards as this makes the experience more fun as the board is easier to control with one paddling and the other picking!  We have had extremely positive feedback, even reports that the paddle and pick is a life changing experience.  Don’t take my word for it.  Here is what the children say… 


It was really motivating and made us really learn about why we need to stop using so much plastic.  We all worked together and built up our team spirit and felt really proud of how much plastic we found and how we helped our world.


Glendower Preparatory School


SUP lesson

Paddle and Pick

It’s great for mental health too

Through SUP we want to help people to connect to nature, to themselves and to others.  When you do a physical activity you become present; you forget the stresses of life and feel happy in the moment.  We live in a society surrounded by noise and distraction, many of us spend too long using screens and technology, isolating ourselves from the real world and as a result depression and obesity are on the rise.  We want to encourage people to take time out to find some space for themselves. 

Connect to Nature

… we protect what we love.

Connect to Yourself

… unlock your full potential.

Connect to Others

… happiness comes from sharing.

Arrange a Paddle and Pick

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Fundraise for your school

We would like to offer Paddle and Picks to everyone but we cannot always cover the costs completely.  Please contact us to see if we are able to subsidise your trip; alternatively you can fundraise for your school through our page on the INVEST MY COMMUNITY platform.  This is a secure way to raise the funds and they will support you to set up a school page and then individual children’s pages.  There is even a leaderboard so you can see who is on top!  Simply follow the link below to get started and contact us if you need any support.