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Michigan men plan to cross Lake Superior on paddleboards

Jun 21, 2018 03:50AM ● By Editor

By Lori Qualls lqualls of the Midland Daily News - June 20, 2018

Three northern Michigan men plan to paddleboard across Lake Superior — the largest, coldest and most dangerous of the Great Lakes — in July.

Joe Lorenz, Kwin Morris and Jeff Guy, all in their early 30s, will attempt the feat, which has never been done before.

“(Inclement conditions) can pick up like crazy out there in a matter of seconds,” Morris stated in a press release issued Wednesday. Lake Superior is known for its 38-plus-foot waves, fog that has brought down freighters, and water temperatures in the 30s.

“We’re working on a route where we cross over the site of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and we can stop and give respect to all of the shipwrecks and sailors that have gone down,” Morris said.

The journey will begin from Sinclair Cove, Ontario, near centuries-old pictographs of paddlers painted on the cliffs by the Ojibwe. The men plan to finish up at Whitefish Point in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the site of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

Morris and the two other paddleboarders are co-founders of Stand Up for Great Lakes, a non-profit organization set up to protect the Great Lakes and educate others about freshwater resources. The trio's goal is to raise more than $10,000 for the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society.

Each paddleboarder, dressed in a dry suit, will carry all of his supplies on his own paddleboard, including food, extra clothes and straws that filter drinking water from the lake. They will pass through shipping lanes in the dark.

“We have a weather window between July 9 and 20th,” says Corey Adkins, an award-winning documentary director of photojournalism at 9 & 10 News, a CBS affiliate in northern Michigan. He will film the paddleboarders’ journey from the safer (and drier) position aboard a boat. “The crossing itself will only take between 24-32 hours, but we need that weather window.”

The trio's first crossing was Lake Michigan in 2015, a 60-mile and 23-hour journey in 37-degree water. They raised $10,000 for the Great Lakes Alliance. In June 2017 they crossed Lake Huron and raised $7,000 for Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The 90-mile paddle journey took more than 28 hours to complete.

The trio has taken precautions, such as having a boat follow them with an emergency medical technician on it.

“The first trip (on Lake Michigan) was a lot of unknown,” says Scott Lorenz, Joe’s father. “But they planned it out thoroughly. Their success has given us as family and parents much more confidence. Their paddleboarding journeys are an incredible accomplishment.”

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