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Introducing new Prevented Ocean Plastic ambassador, Sarah Jackson

By September 21, 2023October 5th, 2023No Comments

Prevented Ocean Plastic is proud to bring a new ambassador on board!

Sarah Jackson is a world champion professional windsurfer. She has competed around the world, was Youth World Champion in slalom windsurfing and is two times vice-World Champion. Sarah’s sport means she has a strong bond with the water, and as well as a successful competitor, she proudly calls herself an ocean advocate. A partnership with Prevented Ocean Plastic™ seems like the perfect fit.

Sarah came on board in September 2023 and is determined to help us spread the word about ocean plastic pollution, and everything that can be done to prevent it.

  • Hi Sarah! Please can I start by asking a bit about your sporting history and what brought you to this point?

My sporting journey started pretty much as far back as I can remember – both my parents and older brother played sport so I basically grew up on the side of a sports pitch. I found my true calling however the first time I tried windsurfing on holiday aged seven. I loved it, to me it was the best feeling I’d ever had and from then on I have been addicted to windsurfing. Being from South Manchester, windsurfing wasn’t the easiest sport to access, but I was selected for the Britsh U17 squad when I was 13 and competed at the World Championships. Whilst I was doing my school exams I had to step back from windsurfing, and turned to playing hockey, but my true passion always lay with windsurfing and as soon as I could get back to it, I made it my everything. For the last six years I have been competing on the Professional World Tour and doing everything I can to be the best in the world.

  • For anyone unfamiliar, can you highlight your achievements in the world of windsurfing? Is there one record or trophy that means the most?

I am two times vice-World Champion and was Youth World Champion in slalom windsurfing, which is a huge achievement but the achievement that means the most to me was my first Pro World Tour Race win. I grew up watching the Pro World Tour, and beating all the women that I have idolised for so many years was the best feeling in the world.

  • What are the best ways for people new to windsurfing to get into the sport?

Windsurfing is a great sport and I spent many years teaching windsurfing in holiday resorts around the world, which is definitely a great way to learn. Closer to home, there are lots of windsurfing clubs around the country, so pop “windsurf lessons near me” into your favourite search engine and you’ll be flying across the water in no time!

  • As well as a professional windsurfer, you also proudly call yourself an ocean advocate. Can you talk a bit about what that title means to you?

“The ocean is my playground, but also my office. I spend almost every day in it and being out on the water is where I find my peace and clarity. Yet as humanity we are currently treating it like a garbage bin and a sewer, and not the lungs of the earth or the home to so many living organisms that sustain and nourish our planet. As an athlete competing at the highest level, I have found that I have a voice, and thus it is my mission to use my voice for good and bring forth topics that I truly care about, which for me is the ocean.”

  • How would you describe the impact of messy beaches and polluted water on your sport?

When we think of the beach, we think of so many scenes – children building sandcastles, waves crashing, people surfing, yet we never think of a beach that is covered in rubbish or having to question whether it is safe to enter the sea. We think that living in a developed country we shouldn’t have to question whether it is safe for our health to visit our local beach and enter the sea, yet that is the current challenge we face. Any time I want to go on the water I have to check the water quality. Now luckily there is an app which gives the latest sewage reports, however what happens when it says there has been a release and its windy? Often I find myself standing at the beach, ready to go out and train, and having to question whether winning a World Title is truly worth risking my health. That’s the impact it has on me and my sport.

  • You’ve competed around the world, have you seen that the ocean plastic problem is global?

Ocean plastic is definitely, unfortunately, a worldwide problem. We have seen it everywhere we go. In my training bases in Tenerife and Tarifa, we are often collecting large plastic water tanks which are partially submerged underwater and normally we find them after we have collided with them at 30mph and been thrown over the front, damaging our bodies and equipment! In Asia, a couple of years before I joined the tour, there is a video of one of the competitors hitting a fridge in the water during a race. While in Tiree, Scotland we always do a massive clear up during the British Wave Championships where we are mostly collecting washed up fishing materials.

Prevented Ocean Plastic™ is the perfect match for me. I am very passionate about the ocean and the problems that are plaguing it, so anyone who is working towards trying to clean up the ocean is a hero for me. What I love about POP is that it is tackling the problem at the source by implementing recycling systems in the most at need areas. Additionally, unlike many charities in this field, POP is a business and thus it is not relying on volunteers or underpaid workers but actually creating proper jobs for people in these deprived areas. Not only are they helping to prevent ocean plastic but doing it in a way which is environmentally and economically sustainable, which for me is a huge win.

Sarah hard at work on the waves.

To me, working with Prevented Ocean Plastic™ means optimism. Optimism for cleaner oceans, optimism for a brighter future and optimism for better training and racing conditions where I don’t have to worry about hitting objects in the water that shouldn’t be there.”

  • Would you encourage other athletes and ambassadors to work with Prevented Ocean Plastic™?

Definitely! In a World that is demanding that we all need to change our way of life to be more sustainable, we have to find ways that work for us. Not only are POP doing great work over in Asia on the prevention side, but I am also finding it really useful to be able to make more sustainable choices in my everyday life at the supermarket by looking for the POP logo. As athletes we have a responsibility to be role models and to use our voices for good. I think it is even more important what we do off the pitch, than what we do on it as we might inspire more kids to take up our sport and be active, but it is more important to encourage people live a more sustainable life and make conscious decisions when it comes to things like plastic.

  • What does the future look like for you?

The future for me looks exciting! I have had one of the toughest years of my life with injuries and illnesses this year, so I have taken a step back from the World Tour for the rest of this season, but I have some amazing trips lined up for the end of this year – some nearby and some on the other side of the world to true bucket list destinations. As windsurfing is my one true love, of course, all of these trips are for windsurfing, so I am still training, but January is when it all really kicks off I will start to get my head in the game and prepare for next season.

Prevented Ocean Plastic™ is proud to bring a new ambassador on board, further amplify the story of our mission, and follow Sarah’s fortunes throughout the next season.

Prevented Ocean Plastic™ is high quality, certified recycled plastic that has been collected from coastal areas at risk of ocean plastic pollution. Used by supermarkets and brands around the world, it meets regulatory health and safety standards, is traceable back to source and can be identified on-pack through its distinctive triangular logo. Prevented Ocean Plastic™ is an official nominee for the 2023 Earthshot Prize, and counts Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Booths Supermarket as key partners, along with major manufacturing partners such as Groupe Guillin, Spectra Packaging, and Berry Global for offerings across multiple product categories, including fish, poultry, soft fruits, pet food, personal care, and home cleaning.