Category Archives: Lakes/Ponds

FIRST TO CIRCUMNAVIGATE LAKE SUPERIOR ON A SUP

DULUTH, Minnesota – 23 year-old Jared Munch isn’t your average college student. Rather than living carefree and with no responsibilities Jared wanted to experience more. A couple of years ago, Jared decided and committed to circumnavigate Lake Superior by SUP and after two long years of preparations he was the first person ever to do so. The journey covered 1350 miles over 46 days on the lake and was largely a solo and unsupported expedition. To learn more about his expedition over the summer we caught up with Jared to talk about what his experience was like out on the water. Take a look:

Lake Superior is quite the task, what was your motivation in doing this extensive paddle?

I had originally been looking at a study abroad option in Patagonia that was designed specifically for whitewater kayakers. It looked awesome, but it was expensive and wasn’t going to help me with my major (civil engineering). I started looking for other ways to broaden my paddling experience and the idea came to me as soon as I looked out my dormitory window. I remember thinking “Why am I trying to travel hallway around the world to have a cool adventure when I have THAT right in my backyard?” At first I thought paddling around Lake Superior was just a crazy idea. It had never been done before on a SUP. I at least took the dignity of writing the idea on a whiteboard for further considerations. After a month of staring at the whiteboard, I knew that it had to be done. This all occurred almost two years before I actually departed.

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Views of Lake Superior as seen by Jared Munch. | Photos Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
Did you train for this beforehand? What was your training schedule like?

Training? No. That’s for people with time and money haha. My “training” consisted of me frantically scrambling between school and work for the two semesters leading into the summer. I was working anywhere from 30-50 hours a week on top of being a full time college student just to fund my summer adventure. Physically, I wasn’t in tip top shape when I started. I was over prepared mentally though. I spent a lot of time in class 5 whitewater and surfing Lake Superior. I was totally comfortable being out there in some big water. In addition, I had gotten pretty good at making use of little supplies, and just being miserable in general over the last year during my “training”.

How long did it take you?

It depends on how you look at it. To me, it took me two years on planning and squirrelling away money to pull it off. My total number of days actually paddling around the lake was only 46. I left in early May, then returned to Duluth for two weeks to teach whitewater classes and raise more money for the rest of summer. I left again in June and got back at the end of July.

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It wasn’t all easy paddling on Munch’s 46-day expedition. | Photo Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
How far on average would you paddle each day?

Over the summer, including my days off for waiting out the weather, I averaged just under 30 miles/day. My biggest day was 52 miles.

Was your adventure supported or unsupported?

Out of the 1350 miles, 1150 were solo. The other 200 miles were in the company of my dad, brother, and friends. I carried all of my food and gear on the board. I shipped resupplies of food to myself at 150-200 mile intervals.

What gear did you take with you?
  • Board: C4 Waterman Wai Nui
  • Paddles: C4 Waterman Carbon X-Wing, Two-piece sea kayak paddle for heavy headwinds, and a flatwater canoe paddle for beam winds
  • Clothing: NRS farmer John Wetsuit, 7mm booties, semi-dri wear, down jacket, camp clothing
  • Food: Lots of dehydrated food from Camp Chow and lots of Cliff Bars
  • Tent: MSR Carbon reflex
  • Stove: MSR pocket Rocket
  • Others: dry bags, GoPro, first aid kit, small sail for emergency use only, compass, gps, sleeping pad, and my trusty Pillow Pet
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Gear Shots. | Photos Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
Hardships?

Dealing with the wind was a huge thing for me. Keeping a 14’ board tracking well in a strong beam wind is one thing, but put a bunch of camping gear on it and you will have a much larger problem. Hunger was also a big thing for me. I had no possible way of eating as many calories as I was burning. I lost 15 pounds in the first three weeks. The remoteness was difficult at times, but I mostly enjoyed the thrill of having only myself for any type of support.

Biggest thing you learned after going on this adventure?

Paddling flatwater all day isn’t very fun. You start to hope for some storms and nasty weather just for an ounce of excitement.

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Munch getting the nasty weather that he had hoped for. | Photo Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
Would you consider doing it again?

The exact same trip? No. A circumnavigation of the lake was a one and done thing for me. I would feel weird doing it again. There’s kind of a spiritual thing about the lake to me. The memories from the trip are so vivid in my mind that I don’t want to relive them or change anything about them. I’m sure I’ll paddle parts of the shoreline again, or tour to some of the more remote surf breaks that I found, but I will not do another full circle continuously.

Do you have any other SUP adventures planned in the future?

Yes I do. Next spring I will be completing the first descent of the Steel River of Norther Ontario. We’re going to hit it as the snow is melting, which means living in a drysuit for a week and paddling lots of whitewater with camping gear on the board. Very little about the trip will be easy, but that’s what makes it an expedition.

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Munch enjoying his solo time on his 46-day expedition of Lake Superior. | Photos Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUp Connect

We look forward to seeing a lot more expeditions from this young talent and we wish him the best of luck in his endeavors. To see a sneak peak at the documentary that Jared is editing check out the video preview below!

A SUPerior Adventure Teaser from Jared Munch on Vimeo.

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Chuck Patterson visits Vermont

If you missed it, Vermont had a living legend from the outdoor sports industry visit our beautiful state this week. Chuck Patterson enjoyed a paddle from Shelburne Bay to Burlington visiting Juniper Island along the way.

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Photo Credit: Chuck Patterson via Facebook

We connected up with him at Perkins Pier where he talked about his experiences and tips and tricks to make us more efficient paddlers. WND & WVS, the local paddle shop in Burlington, setup the whole event and their staff was on hand with the Naish and Starboard SUP fleets for us to demo.

It was such a great time and with a 50% chance of thunderstorms that never came it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon and sunset. Come back again soon Chuck!!!!!!!

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Here are the photos from the event.
Photo Credits: Vermont SUPKazmin Thibault Williamson

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BIC Sports Receives Men’s Journal Gear of the Year Award.

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12’6 SUP AIR INFLATABLE PADDLEBOARD NOTED FOR PERFORMANCE AND INNOVATIVE FEATURES

BIC Sport is excited to announce and honored to receive the 2014 Men’s Journal GEAR OF THE YEAR award for the 12’6 SUP AIR inflatable paddleboard. The board was tested by Men’s Journal gear test team and chosen as one of the “best tools, toys and tech” for 2014 for its innovative features and performance.

Shaper Patrice Remoiville, working closely with the BIC SUP team in Europe and North America, designed the 12’6 SUP AIR (together with the rest of the SUP AIR range) to perform more like traditional rigid boards than typical inflatables.

Dubbed by Men’s Journal as the “Go anywhere SUP”, the 12’6 was lauded for its exceptional rigidity and a “smooth, stable and relatively fast ride”. They also noted the innovative use of a “high-performance removable fin like the one found on regular SUPs” which is universally compatible with other fins for easy replacement or customization.

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Waterbury Reservoir will remain a Recreational Resource in VT

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation issued a draft water quality certification decision Wednesday regarding the future operations of Green Mountain Power’s Waterbury Hydroelectric Project. Under this decision, the Waterbury Reservoir would be maintained at the current summertime level year-round to protect water quality and recreational use of the reservoir. Also, flows through the dam would be managed to more closely mirror the natural flow of the Little River in a manner that improves fish habitat and the ecological health of the river. – Vermont Business Magazine

Read the full story here

waterbury reservoir vermont fall foliage

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Waterbury Reservoir at Risk?

Can flood control, renewable energy and recreation coexist at the Waterbury Reservoir?

That’s the biggest question facing state and local officials about the 850-acre reservoir, a mecca for swimmers, boaters and stand-up paddleboarders.

The question arose now because Green Mountain Power is applying to renew its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license to operate a hydroelectric plant at the dam. The license expired nearly two decades ago.

By law, the state’s Agency of Natural Resources must ensure the hydro plant meets water-quality standards set in the federal Clean Water Act, according to Jeff Crocker, a river ecologist with the agency’s watershed division.

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The Main Options

1. The state would like to see the water levels at the reservoir remain relatively constant, instead of high levels in the summer and low levels in the winter.

2. Permanently lowering the reservoir to its wintertime level of 562 feet above sea level. That would shrink the reservoir’s surface area by 40 percent, essentially eliminating recreation space.

3. Lowering the water level even further, to 550 feet above sea level.

-Miranda Orso Waterbury Record

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What can you do now?

  1. Join Friends of the Waterbury Reservoir at the Vt. Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s public information meeting on October 7, 2014, 6:30-8:30 at Thatcher Brook Primary School in Waterbury. Go to that meeting armed with reliable information, share your questions and comments about this very complex issue, and be prepared to listen to a variety of perspectives.
  2. Submit your comments within the public comment period which ends October 21, 2014, via email to ANR.WSMDRivers@state.vt.us or letter to Jeff Crocker, VT Dept. of Environmental Conservation, 1 National Life Dr., Main 2, Montpelier, VT 05620-3522.
  3. Continue to stay informed about next steps in this process at Friends of Waterbury Reservoir and Watershed Management.

 

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Lake Powell – A Self Support Expedition

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On September 6th, Mike Tavares & Zach Hughes, Co-Owner and Master Shaper of Badfish SUP, Launched on Lake Powell into what would be an unforgettable self support journey across a great Iconic American Landscape.  Mike and Zack are typically paddling whitewater or surfing somewhere at the coast, but this time, they decided to plan a trip a bit out of the ordinary.  We had been hearing bits and pieces of trip planning over the last few months, but had no idea that they would come back with such amazing imagery and stories from the lawless Lake Powell!

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Mike chose to take our tried and true 14ft Great Bear Board for its versatilely, ease of paddling, and options for deck rigging.  This was a great option for Mike, as we heard that it treated him very well over the course of 150 miles and variable conditions with about 80 pounds of gear on top!  Zack hand shaped and created his very own self support board named “El Busito,” bringing Badfish creativity to the water!  6 days after launching on the Colorado River, the duo landed at the Glen Canyon Dam.

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CLICK HERE to read the first person recap of the journey across Lake Powell.

 

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Leddy Park to Lone Rock to Apple Tree Point & Back!

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Paddling Lake Kushaqua and Surrounding Waterways

Lake Kushaqua Paddle Map

Lake Kushaqua to North Branch of the Saranac River to Rainbow Narrows to Clear Pond up the Flow to Rainbow Lake back to Rainbow Narrows to Lake Kushaqua about 15 miles.

I started out on an exploring paddle with an easy pace knowing that I was in it for the whole day. My goal was to paddle as far as I could from Buck Pond Campground without getting of my SUP. I was only in the area for one full day and I wanted to see it all because chances are good that I’ll never go back. There are too many places to explore (paddle) that taking the same vacation twice seems ridiculous to me.

Rainbow Narrows

I started out into the wind, which would mean a free ride home. I cruised up Lake Kushaqua on my way to the Rainbow Narrows. At the end of the lake was a small tunnel to get under the RR tracks, followed by a very low bridge. At both I had to sit on my board and had to gain some momentum because paddling with a tall SUP paddle under a low bridge doesn’t work too well. To add to the challenge, the wind was funneling through the tunnel and under the bridge right into my face. As soon as I made it out of the 2nd obstacle I found myself at a Y in the waterway. I went right and paddled a couple miles up the North Branch of the Saranac River. It was marshy with endless lily pads. I kept waiting for a moose to be standing in the water around any one of the bends. In fact, a great blue heron almost made me fall off my board when it took off within 10 feet of me. I paddled as far as I could before I rain into a beaver dam that would have required some effort to portage. With two more lakes to cruise through I decided to call this river explored.

North Branch Saranac River

I turned around and cruised downstream where I took the other fork and headed up through the Rainbow Narrows. It was lined with all sorts of summer houses and endless pine trees. Once through the narrows I came to even smaller tunnel that would connect me to Rainbow Lake. I paddled hard and aimed my board to glide thought the 4 x 4′ opening. Upon reaching Rainbow Lake the wind really picked up. I paddled up the shoreline and cut through to Clear Pond via a small channel that looked man made. Clear Pond was smaller and slightly more protected from the wind. I easily cruised up the protected pond but came to another Y.

Once again I chose the right channel and paddled up what google maps calls The Flow. I paddled up a mile or so before getting stopped by another beaver dam. At this point the lily pads, milfoil and other plant species were clogging the waterway and deer flies were circling me and dive bombing my face. I swatted a few but that almost knocked me off my board. So instead I turned around and paddled full speed back to the open water where there was a strong wind. I’m sure I looked like a crazy person walking all over my board and shaking my legs to prevent the deer flies from biting me. With the last deer fly lost in the wind, I relaxed again. I made it back to the other fork and paddled hard into the wind to get to the end of Clear Pond where it connected up with Rainbow Lake again. Once I made the turn onto Rainbow Lake I had the wind at my back and I was able to leisurely paddle while still keeping a good pace all the back down the lake, through the narrows and back to the put in.

Lake Kushaqua Pano

I had another 3 miles of paddling to fully explore the reachable waterways but I decided that I’d had enough for the day. I would finish my quest first thing in the morning before heading home.

This was a beautiful place to play for a few days and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a long weekend in the Adirondacks.

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Buck Pond in Vermontsville, NY

As much as we love paddling in Vermont, occasionally we leave the state and paddle other places as well.  Buck Pond is located in Vermontsville, NY which almost counts as paddling in VT. It has a similar feel to several VT lakes as well. With a ban on motorized boats, it has a serene setting to enjoy your surroundings. A portion of the lake is covered with lily pads which the loons seem to use to setup sneak attacks on the numerous fish underneath.

There is a car top put in at one end of the pond just inside Buck Pond State Park complete with a dock and a swimming area at the other end with a few small paths leading to campsites in between. The pond itself is not very big. I leisurely paddled around the edge in under an hour on a BIC 12’6 Wing Ace-Tec. I also saw some fisherman out in the middle so this could be a great spot if you’re looking to catch some fish without any wake from our gasoline using friends. A great place to paddle if you’re in the area and looking for a quick afternoon paddle.

Truck at Buck Pond

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GEAR SPOTLIGHT: Hala Butterknife SUP Paddle

Hala Butterknife SUP Paddle 4

SUP better with a double bladed Hala Butterknife Paddle. Two blades are not just better than one, they are more versatile, more powerful, and more fun! Get out to the lineup faster, navigate whitewater more easily, and kayak or paddle from a kneeling position. Adjustable length, carbon fiber shaft and fiberglass blades.

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This almost looks like what I dream of on those afternoons I’ve already paddled 20 miles and the wind picks up and I still have a few more to go. This could be a great way to turn your SUP into the low wind profile kayak for those last few grueling miles. The downside could be that extra bulk on your handle for those same 20 miles. Is it worth it to push that extra blade through the air while your SUPing all day long?

For more info visit their website here:
Hala Gear – $349

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