2011 Short’s to Short’s Paddle Update and Registration

Here at Short’s, we have been hard at work planning the 2011 Short’s to Short’s Paddle. This year’s event will take place on April 29, 2011. This is an annual event to symbolize the efforts we put forth, here in Northern Michigan, to provide the entire Great Lakes State with Short’s Brew! The paddle makes several connections to honor our seven years of business and the link between our original Bellaire Pub and our Elk Rapids production facility. There is a lot of water between Bellaire and Elk Rapids! Twenty seven miles, in fact!

Pre-Paddle Reception

We are going to have a Pre-Paddle reception at our pub in Bellaire on Thursday night, April 28th. This will be a great chance to meet other paddlers and plan for the next day! Event details to follow!

Short’s to Short’s Location and Schedule

As with prior years, the launch site for this event is the public access site on the Intermediate River, which is behind Fisher Insurance in Bellaire. We will have a check-in station and you will need to bring or fill out a liability waiver before commencing the event! The event schedule for April 29th is as follows:

7:00 a.m. Pre-launch gathering behind Fisher Insurance in Bellaire (just down from the brewery) at the public launch.

7:30 Photo shoot with all the paddlers

8:00 a.m. launch

The paddle will take between 8 and 12 hours depending on your gear, skill level, and pace. The finish will be at the Elk River boat launch in downtown Elk Rapids. Plan to team up with another paddler to arrange transportation. We will be gathering at the Riverwalk Grill, located at 106 Ames Street in Elk Rapids, for a special post-paddle reception.

This map shows the route that the Paddle follows. If weather conditions are not favorable, please plan to change your final destination plans.

a. Clam Lake – the shortest run, but at least you get to go through the grass river natural area. It’s beautiful. Very little open water and you paddle with the current.

b. The Dockside – Located right before Torch Lake, this is where we advise you to stop if weather conditions are rough. This is a great place to beach your kayak and a great place to get some Short’s Brew or a bite.

c. Alden – After proceeding onto Torch Lake and following the shoreline to the south, you reach the town of Alden. This is a great place to rest.

d. Torch River – The route follows the Torch River from Torch Lake into Lake Skegamog. If you are fatigued after the Torch Lake stretch, this is an excellent place to rest or drop out of the event, as there is a public access site at the entrance to the river and restaurants nearby.

e. Skegemog – The Torch River provides a nice cool down and a chance for you to re-evaluate whether or not you want to finish the open stretch on Lake Skegemog and finish on Elk Lake. Safety boats are still an option for bailing here.

f. Downtown Elk Rapids – Congratulations if you make it this far!  But even if you don’t, please stop by at the Riverwalk Grill in Elk Rapids for the Post-Paddle reception!

Safety Considerations

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of safety. This event covers vast distances of water, which is still very cold in late April. Wearing appropriate gear and being skilled is important. We do not recommend attempting to complete this event if you are a beginner. (Consider attempting the only the early river stretches but not the large lake sections).

Remember: Keep it simple, safe, and fun. Do your research, have a plan. Know your limit and anticipate a drop out point if needed. If it’s windy and cold, the open water stretches may change your final destination plans or vessel choice. We do not suggest proceeding across the open water stretches if conditions are rough.

A few things you might want to consider:

a. Paddle with a partner. Stay together and with the rest of the group. Look out for each other.

b. Water – should be in plastic bottles, those should remain with you until you finish or find an appropriate trash receptacle

c. Food – If you don’t plan on patronizing any of the local check points, then you might want to bring a snack or several. Keep your trash with you – keep our precious waters clean!

d. Change of clothes in waterproof container and clothes for shedding or adding depending on the weather. GOOD GEAR IS ESSENTIAL FOR SURVIVING A WINDY DAY

e. Headlamp or flash light

f. Tow rope

g. Life jacket/wet suit/dry suit

h. Walkie talkie or cell phone

i. Tell someone where you are at and what you are doing that day

There will be safety boats offering support to paddlers. Of course, these boats will be manned by volunteers and do not ensure your safety! You are on your own to plan ahead, know your route, and judge whether you are skilled enough to participate!

What Kind of Boat Should I Use?

We use sea kayaks with spray skirts. This type of kayak allows you to cruise at a decent speed all day and provides the best stability in open water stretches. Spray skirts keep your boat from swamping in waves. Again, if you are not experienced at kayaking, we do not recommend participation in the open water stretches!

A number of participants choose to use river kayaks and participate in the first half of the event, finishing at the Dockside. This is a great way to participate even if you are a beginner or do not have a sea kayak.

Each year, a number of folks also attempt the event using canoes! This is fine, but paddling a canoe for 27 miles is a serious undertaking!

Transportation – Choose Your Own Adventure

Short’s is not able to provide vehicle transportation for paddlers. You must arrange transportation with your paddle partner or group. We encourage fellow paddlers to network with each other to determine a transportation plan.


We are Short’s so, of course, we enjoy a good beer! However, we do not encourage the consumption of alcohol during this event. Obviously we cannot police your alcohol use, but we suggest refraining from consumption of alcohol during the event.

Register Online!

Register for this year’s event by clicking here:  Please print out and sign the liability waiver and bring it to the event!

Safety Boat Sign-Up

Are you interested in serving as a Safety Boat Captain? Please sign up here! If you do not have a boat, but would be interested in serving as a boat crew member, feel free to indicate that on the sign up form!


Shanty Creek Resort has generously extended a $99 room rate special for the Short’s to Short’s Paddle/Anniversary Party weekend.  Use promotional code SHORTS to redeem this offer.   This is a great deal and, for those who don’t know, Shanty Creek provides shuttle service to and from our pub!

Other Accommodations

As always, we anticipate the help of our local commerce to commemorate this by opening their doors and selling food and Short’s Brew along with other provisions. We will continue to provide updates as the Paddle date gets closer!

See you on the 29th!

-SBC Crew