Paul Meilhat and Surfrider get on board for L’Echappée bleue


March will be the start of L'Echappée bleue, a new sporting and educational project, bringing together Surfrider and Paul Meilhat, ambassador for the organization for the last 10 years and winner of the last Route du Rhum edition. The concept? Initiate kids to sailing, over several months, while raising awareness on aquatic environment protection. Already carried out last October, with 40 kids, coming from schools, leisure centers from Paris area, the program was very successful.

One mission: to respond to societal and ecological issues

Starting this month, the gifted skipper Paul Meilhat joins forces with Surfrider Europe to raise awareness among new generations on water and ocean protection through the discovering of sailing:

"I grew up in the Paris region, which may be surprising for a sailor. My parents were adventurers, we had a small 6.5m boat and we used to sail in Brittany when I was a child. I finally had the immense luck to be able to make it my profession. Today I want to share this passion and use it to create social links and make ecology accessible to all”.  

L’Echappée bleue will take place throughout the year, with the organization of events, in several cities of France (Pau, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Bordeaux, Arcachon, Marseille, Brest, Lorient, région parisienne, Le Havre). Each one of them, gathering at most 20 children to facilitate exchanges and individual support, will be carried out across one trimester, and will include 10 sailing lessons. Among these sessions, two will be dedicated to waste: collect, animation, participative science. Kids will be immersed in Surfrider’s universe and will (re)learn the need to protect aquatic environments. Enlist in favor of Ocean sustainable protection, through sport, can only be a success! 

 An inclusive social project

Beyond a sport and environmental project, L’Echappée bleue is being built also as a true social program. While current health measures deepen inequalities, increase geographic isolation, and accelerate the lack of access to vacations and leisure of certain category of populations, L’Echappée bleue guarantees the inclusion of all around the aquatic environment. 

"Sailing may have the image of a sport reserved for the privileged, but it can be practiced anywhere in France and Europe, on rivers, lakes, and is accessible to all. Putting people who don't know each other on the same boat is a great way to promote meeting and integration."

The program addresses kids not lucky enough to go in holidays - even, that never ever went to the Ocean. In these troubled times, such an inclusive program is becoming a necessity: thanks to that program these kids can discover a new aquatic world and be converted a responsible citizen. By guaranteeing the inclusion of all populations and all actors, a true societal involvement can be promoted and individual and collective ecological awakening to better protect together our ocean can be cultivated.

"Through this project, I wish to pay tribute to all those everyday heroes, the educators, animators, who accompany young people on a daily basis and help them grow and build themselves."

A word to conclude?  

"We need to put the smile back on, even behind the mask in these difficult times."
A huge congratulations to our ambassador, Paul Meilhat, for this beautiful project and for his commitment which gives us a smile.  


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The passion for the oceans, the coastline and the pleasures animate everyone who supports Surfrider and guides the organization's action.


Surfrider is rooted in the value of sharing and participation through inclusion and diversity.


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