Elk Rapids – Stand Up for Great Lakes successfully paddled the entire Chain of Lakes. Starting at Six Mile lake, near Ellsworth and ending at Elk Rapids Rotary park. The journey began at 5:30 AM and ended at 9:30 PM and was 50 miles in length.
The guys were not alone on this paddle, they were joined by over 50 paddlers for different sections along with numerous boats and hundreds of people cheering on from shores. “This one was so unique” says Kwin Morris of Elk Rapids. “Normally we are all alone out there but it was so awesome to have people join us for this one. It showed how much people care about the chain”. Four paddlers Jeff Guy, Kwin Morris, Joe Lorenz and Grant Piering started from the beginning and made it all the way to the finish. Joe Short of Shorts Brewing started with the group and made it over 40 miles before hanging up the towel.
The Chain of Lakes goes down as a challenging. The morning started out glassy and they had some really gorgeous fog, as the day went on the wind picked up and they delt with head wind for about 6 hours. Skegemog and Elk Lake gave them three to four-foot waves. Torch was difficult too with boat traffic and congestion near the bridge. In Belaire, the river had a tree all the way across which caused a traffic jam with one board being punctured three times and a paddler being pinned to the tree!
“This was not our hardest paddle, but it was up there” says Jeff guy “but coming into Elk Rapids with an epic sunset and seeing all of the people cheering us in made it all worth it.”
The group has raised over twelve thousand dollars and counting for Paddle Antrim so far!
Their first crossing was Lake Michigan in 2015, a 60 mile and just under 25-hour journey in 38-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. Their 90-mile paddle journey took over 28 hours to complete. Last summer they paddled across Lake Superior in 21 hours. Their 60-mile trip began at Sinclair Cove, Ontario and ended at Whitefish Point, Michigan and raised $15,000 for the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Their fourth journey was a 70 mile Lake Erie crossing that raised 17,000 for the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research.
They had plans to cross Lake Ontario in June but was shut down due to Covid-19 and having the Canadian borer closed.
Each paddle boarder carries all of his supplies on his own paddle-board: food, extra clothes, and straws that filter drinking water from the lake.
They have taken precautions, such as having a safety boats follow them with an emergency medical technician on it. They are also bringing Photojournalist Corey Adkins with them to capture the event.
The men researched the Chain of Lakes to decide where to donate the money they will raise. They spoke with Deana Jerdee, Executive director at Paddle Antrim.
Paddle Antrim is a non-profit organization, founded in 2014, with a mission to protect water resources in the Chain of Lakes in Northern Michigan by using paddle sports to connect people to these waterways. Through stewardship, education, improved water trail access, and promotion of our waterways we will increase water resource protection and enhance the economic vitality of the region.
If you would like to contact Kwin Morris 231-342-9673
For more information or to make a donation, visit StandUpForGreatLakes.com and follow the team on Facebook.com/StandUpForGreatLakes and on Instagram.com/StandUpForGreatLakes. Watch the award-winning documentary about their Lake Superior Crossing here.
About Jeff Guy: Guy, 33, is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch. He also enjoys golf, hockey and fishing. He lives in downtown Traverse City, MI.
About Joe Lorenz: Lorenz, 33, is a personal trainer in Traverse City. When he’s not helping people achieve their fitness goals, he’s up for almost anything involving water, travel, adventure, fitness, or beer.
About Kwin Morris: Morris, 31, was born and raised in northern Michigan, making him a keen waterman, traveler, and adventurer. He is a middle school science teacher in the Elk Rapids School District.
About Corey Adkins: Adkins is the Special Projects Executive Director for 9&10 News based in Cadillac, Michigan. A gifted storyteller, Adkins has won several awards for the ‘Crossing Superior’ documentary which was recently nominated for 2 Emmys. In 2018 he won “Best Documentary” from the Associated Press and Best News Special and Special Interest Programming for his filming of the Huron crossing, which can be seen here. He also won a 2015 award on a commemorative Edmund Fitzgerald production.