Merijn Tinga (44 years old) learned to windsurf when he was eight years old. He graduated in Biology at Leiden University in 1996. Looking for a new challenge, he quit his job after four years and decided to cycle to Morocco - and back - with a kitesurf board. Once on the Moroccan beaches, he decided he wanted to become a visual artist.
Starting with guerrilla art, Merijn gained regional fame with his art collective (Kunst Uitschot Team) by illegally installing wooden sculptures in public space - a few sculptures can still be found in the public parks of Leiden. In his studio he made installations and sculptures for the public space and festivals.
In 2013, Merijn was alarmed by the first reports on the 'plastic soup' in our oceans. He combined his urge for adventure, his art skills and his surfing experience in the construction of the first Plastic Soup Board from plastic litter he found on his local beach. After his first expedition on this Plastic Soup Board, his focus shifted entirely to the marine litter problem. In 2015 and 2016 he conducted two other projects on the prevention of plastic waste in our marine environment.
I am not accusing plastic, I am accusing our attitude toward plastic
Message on a bottle - 2016
In September 2016 he hydrofoil-kite-surfs across the North Sea from Scheveningen (NL) to Lowestoft (UK) on a surfboard made from littered soda bottles. This record attempt marks the start of a petition that calls for a deposit fee on small PET bottles. It was signed over 57 thousand times. In February 2017 Dutch parliament adopts the resolution he presents along with the petition.plasticfreesea.nl/message-on-a-bottle
Plastic Hunters - 2015
In the summer of 2015 he goes on a five month sailing expedition with his wife and kids. They sail to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Poland. He makes educational VLOGS with his daughter, takes water samples looking for microplastics using a manta trawl and conducts beach cleans on a daily basis.plasticjagers.nl
Plastic Soup Board - 2014
In the summer of 2014 visual artist Merijn Tinga builds a surfboard from plastic trash he finds on the beach; a statement. To emphasize the statement he attempts to surf the board along the entire Dutch coast: from Belgium to Germany. After three days he gives up but it does earn him a nickname; the Plastic Soup Surfer.plasticfreesea.nl/surfboard-from-plastic-waste
The Plastic Free Sea Foundation is a non profit organization and is run by volunteers. Our goal is to increase the awareness on the effects and dangers of plastic litter in our marine environments. Campaigns are focused on preventing more plastic ending up in our seas.www.plasticfreesea.nl