IN PICTURES: Surfers Against Sewage stage paddle out protest in Portrush

Portrush’s West Strand hosted one of 30 protests across the UK on Saturday, May 18, as surfers called for an end to sewage discharges into rivers and seas.

The protests were been coordinated by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), who rallied thousands of water users for protests at local beaches and rivers, spanning locations from Cornwall to Edinburgh and the Causeway Coast.

Giles Bristow, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, said: “This year offers an opportunity to turn our collective anger into action and end the sewage scandal, with panicked politicians in listening mode, desperate to ride the waves of popular sentiment.

"A general election is imminent, and the public are out on the beachfronts and riverbanks making it clear that the issue of sewage pollution is at the top of the agenda. Ahead of the election, all parties need to show people genuine and quantifiable commitments to eliminate sewage pollution, or suffer the consequences."

Double Gold medal-winning Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes, who paddled out with protesters in Brighton, said:“I love nothing more than getting out into the open water on my paddle-board - it does wonders for my mental health, and there's such a sense of community amongst those who use our wild waterways for sport and recreation.

“But this incredibly special pastime has been tainted for all of us by the persistent risk of getting sick from pollution. The poor state of our rivers and seas is shocking and infuriating. Whole generations are being deprived of the right to safely enjoy the benefits that blue spaces offer.”