Three men will cross Lake Ontario on stand up paddleboards this June to help raise awareness about water pollution. 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 and is the culmination of an eight-year quest.

“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,” says Morris. The 65-mile round trip is expected to take about 24 hours.

The trio was planning on doing the trip last year but the safety boat commitments dropped out. This year they’ve engaged Orange Force Marine Ltd., an experienced Canadian commercial marine services company based in Port Stanley, Ontario who provide maritime expertise and on-water safety support to many athletes on similar projects. “We have full confidence that this year we’ll accomplish our goal during the weather window of June 7-14,” says Morris.

“The weather is our biggest challenge,” explains Lorenz. “We can handle two to three foot waves for a couple hours but we’d prefer five knot tailwinds…both directions! Headwinds, chop and crosswinds are all elements we are accustomed to dealing with.”

The trio have wanted to do this trip for several years but, travel to Canada was restricted due to COVID pandemic, and then the boat commitments fell through last year. In the meantime, they raised $21,000 on a paddleboard trip down the St. Mary’s River from the Soo Locks to Drummond Island. They teamed up with three 8th grade students from Cherryland Middle School in Elk Rapids who joined them on the journey.

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The paddlers founded the non-profit called Stand Up for Great Lakes to raise funds for various Great Lakes non-profit organizations and in doing so have captured the imagination of many who have been inspired by their mission and support their cause.

This year, their goal is to raise $25,000. All funds will be donated to protecting the Great Lakes Basin.

“We’re focusing on helping the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR),” says Lorenz. “CIGLR is a non-profit housed in the University of Michigan. They are doing spectacular work with algal bloom research and their efforts to safeguard the Great Lakes ecosystem. They are experts in Great Lakes issues, and we are thrilled to have them on board our team once again,” says Lorenz.

According to Mary Ogdahl of CIGLR, “Lake Ontario faces coastal flooding and water level issues, for which we are developing experimental models to prepare coast communities for future flooding.”

“Our overall goal is to bring awareness to great lakes issues,” says Guy. “Right now microplastics are infiltrating the lakes and fish and people are ingesting them. It’s one of the biggest issues of our day. The problem is the plastic is so small you cannot see it in many cases. Our hope is that people will join us in helping our cause by donating to our organization,” says Guy.

For further information or to make a donation, visit StandUpForGreatLakes.com

Watch the award-winning documentaries about their Lake Superior Crossing here and Crossing Lake Erie here.

About Jeff Guy: Guy, 37, is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch. He also enjoys golf, hockey and fishing. He lives in downtown Traverse City, MI.

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About Joe Lorenz: Lorenz, 37, 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, sailing, adventure and fitness.

About Kwin Morris: Morris, 36, 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 and the owner of Twin Birch Golf Club.

About Corey Adkins: Adkins, 52, is the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Societies Communication and Content Director. Though he doesn’t stand-up paddleboard, he has captured the guys’ adventures across three of the four Great Lakes and two rivers, producing a series of five documentaries garnering him multiple awards including two Emmys.

Featured image, from left to right: Kwin Morris, Jeff Guy and Joe Lorenz after paddling Lake Erie in June 2019.

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