Passionate Newquay diver and founder of Odyssey Innovation, Rob Thompson, has begun a crowdfunding campaign today (Oct 24) which aims to raise funds to scale up the manufacturing of a handplane made entirely of recycled marine plastics.

Thompson has been preserving our seas from plastic waste since 2014, after establishing a volunteer group called Fathoms Free. His ongoing work has resulted in the removal of tonnes of marine plastics from in and around Cornwall’s coastline, and led him to set up Odyssey Innovation after he pioneered a process to recycle his marine plastics into kayaks.

The Odyssey Innovation kayak became Thompson’s signature vessel, helping him and his volunteers collect even more ocean plastics from those harder to reach coves and inaccessible beaches. Following the success of his kayak, Thompson knew he needed to introduce a new product into the market that had a wider market appeal and was both family and ocean friendly.

He explained: “It was really important that we came up with a marine recycled product that could be enjoyed by all beachgoers, but also one that was high-end and wouldn’t become yet another piece of plastic that would be left behind on a beach.

“We’re constantly picking up broken buckets and spades. We don’t want to add to the problem. That’s how we came up with the marine recycled handplane.”

His latest business idea has been supported by Acceleration Through Innovation (ATI), a project led by the University of Plymouth and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and assists businesses who are looking to adopt innovative processes or who aspire to bring a new product or service to market.

ATI provided Odyssey Innovation with research, design and prototyping expertise, as well as an innovation consultancy grant that assisted with the costs of product design and development.

Working collaboratively with their specialist consultant at Dynamic Edge Innovation Ltd, as well as undergoing testing with a number of local surfers, Odyssey Innovation refined and perfected its handplane design – something that it now boasts is “designed by surfers, for surfers”.

For more details and to pledge your support to the crowdfunding project, click here.