Stand Up For Great Lakes was founded in 2014 by Kwin Morris and Jeff Guy. They both agreed that they had a huge passion for the Great Lakes, and wanted to do something huge to protect them. After throwing around a couple ideas they decided that doing something crazy, like Paddle Boarding across the lakes would be interesting. Such an activity requires the mind, body and emotional well-being of an individual to be on point for an extended period of time.
In June of 2015, Kwin Morris, Jeff Guy, Joe Lorenz, J Mueller, and Nick Darga successful paddled across Lake Michigan (a 60-mile feat) in just under 24 hours. They endured near freezing temperatures, 3-4ft side chop waves, and extreme exhaustion. After completing the journey they all agreed that paddling all of Michigans’ Great Lakes needed be be done.
Stand Up For Great Lakes is a non-profit organization, whose main mission is to bring awareness to the Great Lakes and to help protect the vital body’s of water. Not only do they paddle across these huge lakes, but they also teach water safety to young children, have beach cleanups, and help educate the community on water safety and cleanliness.
June 2017, Kwin Morris, Jeff Guy and Joe Lorenz successfully paddle boarded across Lake Huron. They started at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, Michigan and ended in Tobermory, Canada. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the only fresh water sanctuary in the world, and is home to hundreds of sunken ships. All proceeds were recently donated to the Sanctuary to help fund future preservations and education opportunities offered.
The Lake Huron crossing was much longer physically, mentally and emotionally than Lake Michigan, being a total of 90miles and taking them 28 hours to complete. Despite having a wonderful tailwind for most of the trip, the water conditions were far from ideal; Choppy, washer machine like water, off and on rain showers, and a few slips off the boards created for some challenges. However, the guys kept in the back of their minds all the people they were inspiring by doing this crossing, and completed it!
EVERYBODY TAKE A LOOK AT THIS! Lake Huron Documentary
July 10, 2018 Kwin Morris, Jeff Guy and Joe Lorenz set out on what they thought was going to be the hardest crossing of them all…Lake Superior. For those who don’t know Lake Superior is the biggest, deepest, and most unpredictable-weather-wise- Great Lake!
The paddlers began at Sinclair Cove at the Lake Superior Provincial Park. They were able to paddle by century old Native American paintings along the coastal rocks! From there they officially started their journey. First stop…the Edmund Fitzgerald wreck site. I would like to add here that this wreck site is considered a graveyard and in order to even drive over it you have to get special permits!
Like I said before, Lake Superior was suppose to be the hardest lake crossing of them all…however, it was the best yet! The conditions were beyond perfect: glassy waters, minimal wind, no waves…IS THIS REAL LIFE?!
Around 9pm the paddlers and made it to the Edmund Fitzgerald site, where they did a memorial ceremony. A wreath made of 29 roses (1 for each sailer lost) and 1 extra carnation for all the other sailers lost at sea, was placed in the water. They followed this with a moment of silence to show their respect. From what I was told by Kwin many tears were shed by all.
Around 6am July 11,2018 the paddlers made it back to shore at Whitefish Point, Michigan! Like the previous crossings all funds were raised for an organization that also has a vision to help protect the Great Lakes. This crossing we partnered with the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, who is based out of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point.
Next years crossing is already in the works! Lake Erie in June/July 2019!
Please help by donating to this amazing non-profit organization! The Great Lakes are the largest body of fresh water, and deserve to stay that way!
Also, check out the Facebook page and make a donation to receive a ‘Stand Up For Great Lakes’ sweatshirt, t-shirt, tank top, water bottle and more!