GUATEMALA SUP ECO EXPEDITION
PADDLING FOR A SUSTAINABLE AND PROSPEROUS LAKE ATITLÁN
Our team aims to raise international awareness of the growing environmental and social crises Lake Atitlan and its surrounding communities face today. Nestled in the highlands of Guatemala lies Lake Atitlan, ancestral home to the Mayans and considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Despite its beauty, the lake, which locals rely on, is dying due to decades of misuse and water pollution. We will document the situation during our journey to circumnavigate the lake on stand-up paddle boards. As we travel we will demonstrate how to be mindful travelers, mitigating our environmental impacts, using human-powered watercraft and visiting local villages. We will also participate in a number of activities with the local people and NGOs like Amigos del Lago de Atitlán who are actively working to address the lake’s environmental and social issues.
About The Team
We are an international team of global citizens who love adventure and care deeply for our home planet. Our team leader and organizer is James Kao, travel and sports photographer from Los Angeles, California who solo-SUPed Lake Atitlan in July of 2019. Our video and multi-media experts are world-traveling husband and wife team Camille and Niels Lindelien of Couple a Wanderers from Hollywood, California, with experience in narrative and documentary film. We also have three Guatemalan adventure athletes from Lake Atitlán with backgrounds in environmental science and tourism–Daniel Secaira, Marcelino Secaira, and Kyle Weinstein.
Though diverse in our backgrounds, our team is of a singular mindset when it comes to our commitment to protecting the environment and promoting sustainable practices. We are a well-traveled group of adventure travelers that relishes time engaging with nature, and, collectively, have lived and studied in many countries and visited all seven continents. We have served as volunteers assisting communities with sustainable development programs and environmental education and filmed an award-winning documentary to bring awareness to a human rights crisis in Africa. We are skilled storytellers who know how to capture the essence of an issue and bring stories to life through the written word, photographs and video. We are passionate about the sport of standup paddleboarding and see its growth as instrumental in getting people outdoors and learning about the environment and how to protect it.
The expedition will take place in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, from November 4 to 19, 2020. The team will arrive during the start of the dry season when lake conditions are calmest and skies are clearest for good photography. It will start from the lakeside town of Santa Cruz La Laguna and travel in a clockwise direction around the lake, paddling in the mornings and stopping to overnight in seven different towns. During the afternoons and on some break days the team will explore the local communities and participate in volunteer activities like lake trash cleanups and teaching a SUP clinic to local youth. The team will also conduct and film interviews with local people for a documentary film to be released in early 2021.