Plastic Soup Surfer

My name is Merijn Tinga and I am the Plastic Soup Surfer.

In 2014, I built a surfboard using washed-up plastics and surfed it along the Dutch coast, earning my nickname: Plastic Soup Surfer. Since then, I'm focusing my campaigns on policy makers and companies.

To date, my campaigns and expeditions have influenced political resolutions and product bans. Together with an ever-growing army of passionate people, we continue to drive results and influence change. I share my story to inspire and teach others how they too can make a difference.

Support The Plastic Soup Surfer

2023 Oslo-London Windsurf Expedition

My next campaign is the 2023 Oslo to London Windsurf Expedition, June 16 - July 18. I will be returning England’s littered plastic bottles to London along with lessons learned about Deposit Return Systems.

English Littered Bottles and the UK Deposit Plan

While completing my second expedition in 2015, I was struck by the amount of plastic waste lining the Scandinavian coast. A closer look at the still legible labels, showed that these bottles, carried by the ocean’s currents and wind, had traveled across the sea all the way from the Netherlands and the UK.

The goal of this summer’s expedition is to symbolically bring these bottles home. I will be windsurfing 2000 km from Oslo to London on a board made from the River Thame’s littered bottles and recycled foam plastic reinforced with mycelium (very strong biodegradable mushroom thread).

Lessons from Other North Sea Countries

Deposit systems are the most effective way to combat litter at it’s source. The UK government plans to introduce deposits on plastic bottles and cans by October 2025, however a plan has yet to be defined. I know from my own experience how influential the opposition from supermarkets and other corporations can be, so it’s critical that an effective law be written and instituted

To aid the development of the UK law, I will be collecting lessons learned from the countries I will visit along my route. These lessons will be offered to me by the former ministers of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, all of which have instituted deposit systems. In partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and Surfers against Sewage, I will hand them over to political leaders in London as Message in a Bottle. My goal is for these lessons to be used as guidelines by the UK in order to write a successful law.

Storytelling Power

Interview by Dutch Radio at the start of the North Sea Crossing Expedition 2016

My expedition from Oslo to London, between June 16th to July 17th, will be an exciting surf adventure across one of the North Sea’s main plastic soup routes. However, my journey will not be easy as I will be traveling against the wind and tides to return litter back to it’s source.

Troughout my expedition, I will publish a video diary on our Instagram channel and other social media channels. Additionally, I will release vlogs and podcasts to tell the public about my journey. You can already listen to my conversation with designer Ron van den Berg about the construction of my board and preparation for the expedition (Back to the Bic Bamba - in Dutch).

Biodegradable Mycelium Surf Board

I build a new surfboard for each of my expeditions. While my previous boards were constructed mostly of littered bottles, when it comes to materials my current focus is on circularity i.e. creating a board made of both recycled and biodegradable materials. The board for this expedition will be constructed of:

  • Plastic bottles I found in the River Thames
  • Recycled polystyrene foam (EPS)
  • Mycelium: Ultra thin mushroom threads that make long connections and grow into a rock-solid degradable layer - this network of mycelium threads holds the bottles and styrofoam together to shape the board
  • A skin of waterproof bio-based epoxy

Plastic pollution starts on land, so we need to tackle it at its source.

Surfing & politics

The record attempt crossing that led to deposits and a spectacular decrease in littering.

In 2017, the Plastic Soup Surfer forces a political breakthrough with a resolution he drafted himself. Bottle deposits lead to a major decline in littering. The record attempt kitesurf crossing of the North Sea – 180km from The Netherlands to England, on a board made from plastic bottles – is the kickstart to a petition for bottle deposits, and is signed by 60 thousand people.

See our results

Captains of industry

A +1000km SUP expedition on the river Rhine to confront the source of the plastic pollution: the producers

He confronts the CEOs of Coca Cola, Heineken, Pepsico, Spa and Dutch supermarkets using a bailiff and a judicial notice specially developed for this occasion. He takes along the plastic bottles he found in the river Rhine after having paddled it from its source, high up in the Alps down to its murky river mouth (>1000km). A campaign from source to sea and then back upstream to the source of the plastic pollution: The companies.

See all expeditions

Unite the fight

With the Dutch community of plastic activists and NGOs he organized a national conference on the future of plastics (2019). The resulting ‘Plastic Avengers Manifest’ states 5 principles to a ‘sustainable use of plastics’.

VP Frans Timmermans became the ambassador.

Read our vision

Read, listen, see more

The Plastic Soup Surfer believes storytelling is a powerful way to get the message across. Read the book, see our documentaries on the expeditions or listen to our podcast. All dedicated to change, sustainablity and how you can make a difference.


I am not accusing the material, but the way we put it to use. Plastic is a catalyst to our throw-away society.

Will you support us?

Help out in our mission!

Support us!