Just one of the many side effects of the measures taken to stop the spread of Covid-19 was the disposal of hundreds of millions of single use masks, gloves and alcohol gel packs.
Much of this waste has ended up in our oceans, which is why a global, open call has been made to shapers to create a surfboard made from Covid-19 waste.
MEO, Turismo de Portugal and WSL have come together for this campaign, which will see an expert panel pick a winner whose board will be ridden by elite surfers at the MEO Pro Portugal, at Peniche in February. Shapers can submit their entries at www.unwantedshapes.com.
"It's a unique challenge for shapers, but one that is so important to help raise awareness about a new global issue that affects all surfers and ocean lovers," said Peter Mel, former Big Wave Tour World Champion.
"We are inviting any shaper, of any background or location, to come up with a surfboard that uses Covid-19 waste as a key component. Not only will they help highlight this massive issue, but they can gain huge exposure when the best surfers on the planet ride the boards in Peniche at the MEO Pro Portugal in February."
Mel will be the ambassador for the project and head the judges' panel of shapers which includes Jon Pyzel, Timmy Patterson, Marcio Zouvi, Christiaan Bradley and James "Chilli" Cheal.
This year's project follows on from MEO's 2019 successful ‘Unwanted Shapes' edition, where five surfboards made entirely of plastic were ridden at the CT event in Peniche in 2019. International stars Conner Coffin and Brisa Hennessy as well as Portuguese legend Frederico Morais rode the boards in a special "Beat the Plastic" heat.
MEO is a leading telecommunications brand in Portugal that aims to humanise society by actively intervening in issues that put the wellbeing of the planet and society at risk. Its ongoing support has consolidated Portugal as a world power in surfing and allowed projects such as Unwanted Shapes to find global solutions to global problems.
Turismo de Portugal, as a promoter of a destination whose entire border faces the Atlantic Ocean, has a long partnership with surfing. It recognised the sport has a key role in forging Portugal's reputation as a sustainable destination and has always strived to protect Portugal's most important asset; its incredible coastline and ocean environment.