Skip to Main

Northern Michigan in Focus: Stand Up Training

When you do something big, you’ve got to train big.

Three middle school friends from Cherryland Middle School in Elk Rapids are putting themselves to the test in the freezing cold waters of the Elk River.

Jamie Peters and his friends Owen Werner and Max Ward and their eighth-grade teacher Kwin Morris are planning something big for the spring.

Jamie has a community project to accomplish, so this group is going to hop on stand up paddle boards and paddle.

“The St. Marys River, and we’re going to go from Whitefish Bay to Drummond Island,” Peters said. “We really want to be prepared. When we get there, there might be some big waves, too.”

The St. Marys River is no joke, with fast currents, and when sharing the river with freighters that can throw a massive wake, it’s important to train now.

“It’s going to be close to 40 miles, but I told them this summer to start training and they did they were training all summer,” Morris said. “I said about January, ‘Be prepared, we’re going to go into the cold, we’re going to the currents, we’re going to go into the big waves.’ Day one was today and it’s a cold, 20-degree day with ice out here, and I said it’s not going to be any colder than this, so I prepare them for the worst so they’re prepared for the worst.”

Who better to train these young men than Morris, who is a founding member of Stand Up for Great Lakes and has crossed four of the five Great Lakes.

“Mr. Morris, he’s super funny and caring and he cares about the environment and keeping it clean and safe for the next generation,” Werner said.

“They’re prepared and obviously it’s a different feeling when you’re on ice cold water and they’ve never been in dry suits before,” Morris added. “I wanted them to feel comfortable and not being scared to fall in and knowing if they do they can get back on the board and they’re drying their safe.”

If you see these four out on the lakes this winter, they’re not crazy. They’re preparing.

Nmif 1
Nmif 2
Nmif 3