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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Stand-up paddleboarders lay wreath over wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior

Group has already raised $12,650 with the new goal of $20,000 for the
Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

 Media Release from: Scott Lorenz of Westwind Communications

Traverse City, MI – July 10, 2018 – At 8:46 a.m. today, three young men, Joe Lorenz, Kwin Morris and Jeff Guy, departed on a trip which has never been done—to paddleboard across Lake Superior, the largest, coldest, and most dangerous of the Great Lakes.

“The new goal of this trip is to raise more than $20,000 for the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society,” says Morris, age 31, and a teacher in the Elk Rapids School District. He and the two other paddle boarders are co-founders of Stand Up for Great Lakes, a non-profit organization set up to protect the Great Lakes and educate others about our freshwater resources.

At twelve hours and 28 miles into their 61+ mile paddle the men laid a wreath at the same spot the
Edmund Fitzgerald sank more than 42 years ago. The bio-degradable wreath had 29 white carnations representing the members of the crew that went down in a terrible storm November 10, 1975 and one single carnation representing all who were lost on the great lakes. The story of the ship’s fate was made famous by the Gordon Lightfoot song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” (The wreath was donated by Co-Ed Flowers & Gifts in Sault Ste. Marie, MI)

The men were invited to a special ceremony in November of 2017 honoring the members of that ship and all sailors who’ve lost their lives on the Great Lakes. Lorenz, Morris and Guy were each asked to ring the magnificent brass bell salvaged from the wreck site in their memory.

Dressed in their dry suits, the men are paddling the lake known for 38+ foot waves, fog that has brought down freighters, and water temperatures in the thirties.

“The crossing itself will take between 24-32 hours. The journey began from Sinclair Cove, Ontario, near centuries-old pictographs of paddlers painted on the cliffs by the Ojibwe.

The men are expected to finish up at Whitefish Point in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the site of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum on the morning of Wednesday, July 11th. 

Watch the Crossing Lake Superior trailer here: https://youtu.be/_6zuZExON3o

The idea of paddling across Lake Michigan first struck the guys when Kwin and Jeff were doing a standup paddle together. They later met Joe Lorenz at a Christmas party, who had a similar idea. He said, “Let’s do it!”  So, they put together the team and a plan, formed a non-profit and from that point forward worked to make it a reality. 

“They were originally going to try it alone and that wouldn’t have been a good idea,” says Adkins. “Then they talked to seasoned boat captain Ryan Matuzak, who is with North Country Sportfishing in Frankfort, MI. Ryan encouraged them to wait a year. They researched and became much better organized.”

Their first crossing was Lake Michigan in 2015, a 60-mile and 23-hour journey in 37-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. The 90-mile paddle journey took over 28 hours to complete.

Each paddle boarder carries all of his supplies on his own paddleboard: food, extra clothes, and straws that filter drinking water from the lake. There are many dangers they’ll face, aside from hypothermia and fatigue. High winds can crop up, leading to big waves, and they will pass through shipping lanes in the dark.

“Fog can happen very quickly,” says Corey Adkins Director of Photojournalism for 9 & 10 News, a CBS affiliate based in Cadillac, Michigan. “That’s what caused a lot of the shipwrecks on Lake Superior. We don’t want to lose anyone in the fog.”

To give their families peace of mind, they have taken precautions, such as having two boats follow them with an emergency medical technician on one and crew ready to jump in for a rescue on the other.

“I am proud to know these ‘stand-up’ guys and have been educated to their sincere commitment in keeping the ‘great’ in GREAT LAKES,” says Scott Lorenz, Joe’s father. “They’ve planned it out thoroughly and in great detail. Their paddle boarding journeys are an incredible accomplishment.”


For more information or to make a donation, visit their website at StandUpForGreatLakes.com. Watch the trailer for their Lake Superior Crossing here. Follow their updates on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/standupforgreatlakes/

About Jeff Guy: Guy, 32, is a financial advisor in Traverse City. He also enjoys golf, hockey and fishing. He lives in downtown Traverse City, MI.

About Joe Lorenz: Lorenz, 32, 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 teacher in the Elk Rapids School District and is also a SUP/Yoga instructor for Paddle Guys.

About Corey Adkins: Adkins is an 11-time Emmy award-winning Director of Photojournalism for 9 & 10 News, a CBS affiliate based in Cadillac, Michigan. A gifted storyteller, he won “Best Documentary” from the Associated Press in 2018 for his filming of the Huron crossing, which can be seen here. The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) honored him for best special interest programing for the Huron documentary. He also won a 2015 award on a commemorative Edmund Fitzgerald production.


Contact Scott Lorenz of Westwind Communications at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 248-705-2214.

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