5 plan to cross Lake Michigan on paddle boards
Petoskey – — A group of five friends who all have a passion for watersports and preserving the Great Lakes plan to paddle across Lake Michigan to raise money for the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
By way of stand-up paddle board, Kwin Morris, Andrew Prichard and Jeff Guy, all of Traverse City, will be joined by their friends Joe Lorenz and Joel Mueller on a 60-mile trip across water, beginning in Wisconsin and ending in Michigan. The journey, called Stand Up for Great Lakes, begins at Algoma, Wisconsin, and ends at Frankfort.
“We love our lakes — the great ones and the small ones — and the opportunity to make such a significant journey across one of them is amazing,” said Morris, a physical education teacher at East Jordan Public Schools.
Alliance for the Great Lakes is a charity that began in 1970 and has been finding ways to preserve the lakes ever since. The group of stand-up paddle boarders plans to raise around $10,000 for the charity.
The friends are looking at a departure in late August with a completion time before Labor Day, in hopes of ideal weather for calm lake conditions.
The group is not new to spending hours on end out on the water — they are surfers, paddlers, kayakers, fishermen and sailors. Their paddle across Lake Michigan is estimated to take 24 hours. They have been training for the paddle trip since December 2013.
Because of the long journey, the group will be followed by a support boat. The boat will hold supplies and a support crew for the team with a medic on board. If one of the team members becomes too tired or physically unable to go forward at a certain point, the boat will act as a retiring spot.
As for food and water, the team is carrying it with them on their boards.
With Michigan’s unpredictable weather, the boat also aids in storm watching and returning to shore should a storm arise.
“It’s the challenge of a lifetime,” said Prichard. “It’s also a great opportunity to raise some money for these lakes that sustain our way of life and to draw attention to the significant issues affecting them.”
According to the team, not many stand-up paddle boarders have tried to cross the lake. “We’re not trying to put a flag-on-the-moon kind of thing,” said Morris. “But it’s pretty cool.”
“The lakes are under threat. Oil pipelines of questionable integrity, invasive species, sewage leakage, pharmaceutical pollution, agricultural runoff and those people who think it’s OK to throw beer cans and cigarette butts wherever they please, the list of threats to these majestic and vital bodies of water is endless,” says the group’s website, www.standupforgreatlakes.com.