Rounding The Isle of White On 700 Plastic Milk Cartons | Conrad Manning
Who is Conrad Manning?
Conrad Manning is a young engineer and sailor who is using his engineering knowledge and sailing experience to inspire the next generation of engineers through water-related projects, workshops and talks.
Why is sustainability important to you?
It’s important for a few reasons:
– It forces the engineers, scientists and designers to reach for new heights to make things better and more efficient, which is great to inspire the next generation
– Becoming more sustainable can only be a good thing, prolonging our time on the planet (and the animals), or with all the negative press at the moment, giving us hope of a future
– By being more sustainable I think it means we’re less focussed on the bottom line, greed and selfishness and more about collaboration and longevity
Should more athletes be doing to highlight causes beyond their sport? If yes, why?
That’s not an easy answer as who gets to decide what causes are the ‘right’ ones to get behind? Athletes (particularly those in the public eye) will have influence so can sway opinion on topics so I think they should do as much as possible for their sport and the sport’s current challenges then look beyond their sport.
Has it affected your sporting career?
Sustainability has definitely affected sailing as many builders and participants are looking for greener alternatives. I think though with the greener credentials of sailing, the career side of designing yachts has been less affected.
What’s your challenge about? Is it just you?
The challenge of paddling around the IoW is about combining personal challenge to raise money for Sport Relief with promoting how with a bit of engineering you can turn rubbish into something exciting with help from others. I’m also proud that everything has been sourced within 13miles from my home (and mostly within walking distance of a train station). It’ll just be me paddling but there are lots of people alongside me who are helping make this a reality, from driving the build to planning and execution support and all those who have donated the cartons.
How have you prepared?
Preparation has consisted of finding support for areas I’m not an expert in. Whether that is board shaping, construction methods, fitness, nutrition (fuelling), organising a challenge like this, and of course publicising the project
Tell me about the paddle board design
The paddleboard is designed along the lines of touring and open water long distance boards they use between islands in Hawaii. She’ll have a wooden skeleton and skinned with plastic panels that have been created from plastic milk cartons that were destined for the bin. All in all there will be over 700 bottles that will be granulated then reformed, the challenge is how to join them and we’re keeping that a secret.
What do you want to achieve with the challenge?
There are a few goals from this challenge:
– To get around the Isle of Wight successfully (ie without the board or me breaking!)
– To document the building process to show how to go from waste to exciting product and therefore create a paddleboard that can then be taken to schools and events to highlight STEM/STEAM to the next generation
– To raise money for Sports Relief to support the work they do
– Keep the conversation going around sustainability and turning the tide on plastic
Are there are any other GB athletes who champion sustainability you admire?
There are more and more athletes championing sustainability which combined with the public doing more is all admirable! I would say though Dee Caffari stands out alongside Kiko Matthews and Hannah Mills (not being biased of course as they’re all from watersports).
What does the future hold for Conrad Manning?
The future holds more exciting projects (the next one will definitely have sails), more promotion of STEM/STEAM (through other projects like a double-decker bus designed specifically for running activities for primary and secondary school students), and continuing working on great projects at the day job.
If you want to support Conrad’s paddleboard mission please contact email@example.com. The Just Giving page is: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/plastic-paddle