UK paddleboarder takes up Olympian’s big plastic pledge

A top UK paddleboarder and eco pioneer has been chosen to lead a campaign against plastic pollution.

David Haze – who is in the running for a top award for his activism in this area – is to join forces with Olympic gold medal winning sailor Hannah Mills OBE, founder of The Big Plastic Pledge.

And the 38-year-old, from Dorset, who is an eight-time World Record Stand Up Paddle Boarder, has made a pledge of his own – to continue and build on her work to rid rivers and oceans of plastic.

The Big Plastic Pledge was founded with the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with the aim of uniting all Olympic and professional athletes around the globe to drive the changes needed.

Those who take the pledge sign up to make a minimum of three commitments, such as using refillable water bottles, coffee and beverage cups and reusable food containers, cutlery and straws.

Other pledges include refusing single-use plastic packaging and bags, encouraging sports clubs and events to find alternatives to single use plastic and making non-plastic event merchandise.

The Big Plastic Pledge already has the backing of a host of athlete ambassadors across a wide variety of sports and now David hopes to attract more to the cause and continue raising awareness of the issue.

David, who has been nominated for a Surfers Against Sewage activist of the year award, holds the record for the fastest crossings of the longest lakes in Great Britain.

He achieved a world first in 2022 when he circumnavigated the 70-mile Isle of Wight coastline with 100% carbon neutrality as every single item he carried, used or wore during his Great Green Paddle Project was either fully recycled, recyclable, eco or environmentally friendly.

“I saw at first hand during that challenge just how extensive the problem of single use plastic is,” he said.

“So, when I was approached to take a lead on this amazing project, I couldn’t wait to get involved.

“Hannah has done superb work at raising awareness of this issue but there is still a great deal to do and I am absolutely passionate and committed to taking the Big Plastic Pledge forward.”

The most successful female sailor in Olympic history, Hannah won a silver medal for Team GB with her crew Saskia Clark in the London 2012 Olympics and won gold in the same event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She successfully retained her Olympic title with new partner, Eilidh McIntyre in Tokyo 2021.

She said: “I am hugely passionate about this issue and am very aware of the time pressure we are under to make significant change in our plastic habits. So, to bring David on board to posh The Big Plastic Pledge forward is critical.

“I know how incredibly passionate and determined David is and I’m excited to see where he wants to take it and to support him to do so.”

For more information about the Big Plastic Pledge visit

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