Last week I took myself off to France to join some friends that I'd met during my surfing adventures at the Surfing Medicine Conference.  

The program had a big variety of speakers, so it wasn't all about actual medicine, but still, I certainly felt like some sort of rubbish imposter, what with not being a doctor 'n' all.  In fact, when I was filling out the application form for the event it asked me what type of doctor I was - Neurosurgeon and or Addiction Therapist maybe?   I panicked a bit, would they kick me out if I wasn't a real life doctor?  On the other hand,  I did think that having a neurosurgeon-alter-ego would be a pretty fun.  After a few internal debates (what if they quizzed me on arrival about my recent life-saving surgery?!) I finally found the "Other" option next to Neurosurgeon and something else beginning with "O" that I couldn't pronounce.  My conscience got the better of me and I clicked "select".... 

But back to the conference.  I won't try to re-enaction of each and every talk, but I honestly found each one really interesting.   But there were a couple of speeches that particularly inspiring that I really recommend checking out....

1) www.plasticsoupfoundation.org

Maria Westerbos from Plastic Soup gave a eye-opening talk about where most of the plastic we use and throw away ends up which, sadly, is in the middle of the ocean!  She explained that weathering, waves and sunlight break the plastic down to micro plastic, and then eventually the chemicals it was made from. So in fact the plastic never goes away even if it does break down after 1000 or so years...

The facts aren't entirely surprising, but it certainly hit home when Maria played that heart retching video about the island with all the birds with plastic in their stomachs that they've picked up from the sea... (if you haven't seen it then click above, but have some tissues near by). 

On the plus-side, Plastic Soup Foundation are doing amazing things to spread awareness and put pressures of companies that produce plastic for their products.  Check out the website and get involved where you can.  This needs a global effort from each and everyone one of us! 

Plastic Soup

2) www.wavesoffreedom.org

If you haven't heard of Easkey Britton, then you can thank me later for introducing her to you!  Waves of Freedom is her initiative to use "The power of surfing as a creative medium for positive social change" and she's doing incredibly inspiring projects around the world (Check out Into the Sea made by Marion Poizeau about Easkey teaching women to surf in Iran).  Easkey's awesome in real life (don't you love it when that happens?) and her enthusiasm and drive is inspiring to everyone who meets her. 

Into the Sea

To find out more look up www.surfingdoctorseurope.com.  Before you visit the website I highly recommend making up your own doctor alter-ego if you're not a doctor already.  It's pretty fun, even if it's only for your own amusement... 

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