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3 Friends to Cross Lake Ontario on SUPs in Protection of Great Lakes

three friends wearing tee shirts and dry suits smiling after paddling across Lake ErieThe trio after paddling across Lake Erie in 2019; (photo/Scott Lorenz)
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Three men will cross Lake Ontario on standup paddleboards this month as part of a 7-year quest to paddle across five Great Lakes.

Jeff Guy, Joe Lorenz, and Kwin Morris have already successfully paddled Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, and Lake Erie. Lake Ontario represents their final journey across all five Great Lakes. It’s a difficult journey, though, as they are crossing the body of water on standup paddleboards.

Why paddleboard the five Great Lakes? (Besides for fun?)

The trio created their “Stand Up for Great Lakes” goal in an effort to raise awareness of Great Lakes’ environmental issues. And they’ve already raised over $80,000 paddling over the years for various Great Lake and water conservation organizations.

Crossing Lake Ontario on SUPs

“We’ll begin our adventure from the shoreline of Toronto and touch the shore near Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Niagara in New York and then paddle back to Toronto,” Kwin Morris said in a press release.

But it’s not just about paddling: each will carry their own supplies, including clothes, food, water filtration, safety gear, and more.

The 65-mile round trip is expected to take about 24 hours. But obstacles like 2-3-foot waves, severe headwinds, and boat traffic from 800-plus-foot freighters await them. Not to mention, they’ll be paddling part of the trip in the dark.

“If we could summon ideal conditions we’d want five-knot tailwinds … both directions!” paddler Joe Lorenz said.

The trio’s first crossing was Lake Michigan in 2015, a 60-mile and just under 25-hour journey. In June 2017, they crossed Lake Huron; in 2018, they paddled across Lake Superior in 21 hours. Finally, in 2019 they paddled across Lake Erie.

“Since travel to Canada was restricted due to COVID,” Morris said, “we had to postpone this trip until 2022. In the meantime, we raised $21,000 on a paddleboard trip down the St. Mary’s River.”

For this paddle, their goal is to raise $25,000. All funds will be donated to Stand Up for Great Lakes, dedicated to protecting the Great Lakes Basin. You can learn more about their effort and donate as they SUP toward their final goal.

“Our overall goal is to bring awareness to great lakes issues,” participant Jeff Guy said. “Right now microplastics are infiltrating the lakes and fish and people are ingesting them. It’s one of the biggest issues of our day. Our hope is that people will join us in helping our cause by donating to our organization.”

At the very least, you’ll want to follow along on their adventure. The trio is working with a weather window of June 18-25. You can stay up to date on their paddle through Facebook.

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