I grew up in Ithaca; a small college town nestled in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York, spending my summer days sailing, wakeboarding, fishing, and enjoying everything lake living has to offer. From a young age I was fortunate enough to visit the beach every year, and developed a deep appreciation for the ocean early on. Now, my attraction to the sea has only grown and I get to travel the world kiteboarding and surfing in places as far away as western Australia and Indonesia. While scouring the most barren stretches of uninhabited coastline in Australia or remote surf breaks of East Java I’ve noticed one common denominator: the unsettling presence of plastic debris. As a lifetime waterman I feel I have a responsibility to to work towards protecting my playground for generations to come. That’s why my latest project will take me will take me and my friends, also athletes and devoted conservationists, to Bermuda for a ten day, muscle powered, stand-up paddle expedition. The expedition, the Plastic Ocean Project, is dedicated to raise awareness about coastal plastic pollution, collect scientific data for ASC’s microplastics project and ultimately inspire other passionate watermen and women to get out there and stand up for the environment.
Meet the rest of the Plastic Tides Team!
Matt Sexton is a professional waterman and entrepreneur who lives in the Florida Keys. Matt grew up as a wakeboarding and sailing instructor on Long Island Sound just outside of New York City. He founded the Collegiate Kiteboarding Association at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida which brought together college students from all over the country to break down the expensive barriers that exist in the sports he loves. Matt still travels as a professional kiteboarder but has expanded his horizons to include free-diving, spearfishing, and skydiving. In 2012 Matt partnered with Mike and Shana Walsh of oTHErside Boardsports in Islamorada, Florida to open Keys Cable and oTHErside Adventure Park, in Grassy Key where he is currently developing state of the art techniques to create the most advanced learning environment available for wakeboarding, kiteboarding, and paddleboarding.
Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Gordon Middleton’s passion for film is only rivaled by his passion for adventure. He was given the unique opportunity to work on the television show Survivor in 2010, which lead him to realize his true potential as an adventure videographer. He founded Quiet Sun Productions in 2012 with the aim of combining his love for film with his passion for adventure and extreme sports. Frequenting the beautiful North Carolina coast as a child, he has a deep connection with the ocean and looks to positively drive change and create environmental awareness through his work.
Julian Rodriguez – Field Coordinator
Philippines native, Julian Rodriguez grew up exploring the 7,107 islands that make up his home country. He has had a visceral passion for film from a young age and has since integrated this passion with his love for exploration and conservation. He has worked on the hit TV show Survivor and now hosts the adventure show Game Plan TV in the Philippines.
Celine Jennison – Plant Scientist
Celine’s passion for plants is truly engrained in her: at the age of ten she developed an immune deficiency. An herbalist restored her balance within a year, and this opened her eyes to the power of plants in general. As a windsurfer and Sorbonne University Intern, her passion for terrestrial flora now encompasses marine flora: seaweed.
“The supreme reality of our time is… the vulnerability of our planet.” John F. Kennedy