Stand Up for Great Lakes

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A Blog Post

Training to Cross Lake Michigan

For a mission like this we knew the training was going to be vigorous. Not only did we have to paddle train but we also hit the gym hard too.

Coming off a hard winter, we were dying to get into the water. The first few times we paddled, we were dodging ice bergs and cutting through ice bergs. We started training on the rivers because they were the first to break up. Torch river, Boardman and the Grass River were the main training grounds.

Kwin Morris SUP Racing

Kwin Morris completing another SUP Race

Once the lakes broke up we slowly transitioned to the big lakes. Spring trips the crew went on included:

  • Nashville, where we paddled the Cumberland river
  • Outer Banks and paddling in the Atlantic Ocean
  • San Diego
  • Lake Lucas in the Smokey Mountains

We knew that this was going to be the hardest challenge of our lives and we were not going to take it lightly.

As summer approached we started testing our limits with longer paddles. We did a 14 mile up wind battle on east bay, a 13 mile paddle from Torch Lake to Lake Michigan, and another 14-mile trip from Traverse City all the way out to red buoy 4.

Our crew paddles almost every single day and trains for some of the biggest races in Michigan. I personally took fourth place in the SUP division and second in my age at the M22 challenge; third place at a race across West Bay; placed in the top ten in two professional races held in Frankfort, Michigan; and a first place in another race that involved paddling seven miles and running three.

We also had some bigger SUP trips planned. We were able to make it out to the Manitou Islands where we paddle in tough currents and around some amazing shipwrecks. More recently we traveled up to Pictured Rocks where we paddled twenty plus miles on the Great Lake Superior.

Kwin paddling at Pictured Rocks

Kwin paddling at Pictured Rocks

On top of all the training, morning and evening paddles, and quick sprints we have also undertaken a vigorous circuit-training program. This type of program is not only getting us ready physically, but also mentally by pushing us to our limits. This type of training not only involved weights, but also endless push-ups , sprints, pull ups, tire flips, hill climbs, and even axe chops.

We are comparing the challenge of crossing Lake Michigan to an iron man type of endurance. We’re working hard to ensure we are up to the challenge.