2012 Short’s to Short’s Paddle Update

More than 150 people have already registered for the 2012 Short’s to Short’s Paddle! By way of comparison, 128 people participated last year. We anticipate that as many as 300 paddlers may attend this year’s event.

To register for this year’s Short’s to Short’s Paddle, please click here.

What is the Short’s to Short’s Paddle?
The Short’s to Short’s Paddle is a free event spanning Antrim County’s lower Chain of Lakes from Bellaire to Elk Rapids. Together, the Intermediate River, Lake Bellaire, Grass River, Clam Lake, Torch Lake, Torch River, Lake Skegemog, Elk Lake, and the Elk River make up the 27 mile course route. Short’s Brewing Company started this event as a way to celebrate the many miles of beautiful, crystal clear water that stretch from our Bellaire Brewpub to our Elk Rapids Production Brewery. The event takes place annually on the day before our Anniversary Party.

What Of 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. 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. Canoes and rowboats have also been used. Last year, a tenacious brother-sister duo rowed a wooden boat all the way to Elk Rapids.

Friday April 27th Schedule of Events
This year, we are introducing a food vendor, a whole bunch of porta-poddies, and many other conveniences to make post-launch festivities more fun and convenient. It will be worth it to arrive early!
6:00 – 7:15 a.m. – Registration & breakfast by ISLAND
7:30 a.m. – Photo shoot & pre-launch report by Joe Short
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Launch
8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Paddle to Elk Rapids
4:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Post-Paddle Party at Short’s Elk Rapids Production Brewery

Launch Site
The launch site for this event is the public access site on the Intermediate River, behind Fischer Insurance in Bellaire (Ohio Street on Google Maps). Unlike in previous years, there will be no parking on the grass at the public access site. Instead, we will use that area for the registration and food tent. The access road to the launch site will be used only for dropping off kayaks and gear. Vehicles will then be directed to the adjacent public parking lot behind the Bellaire Bar or other nearby public parking.

The Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design (ISLAND) will serving breakfast burritos at the launch site. These delicious burritos will be made with delicious local ingredients, including local sausage and eggs, plus homemade salsa from Short’s. Burritos will sell for $5 each and proceeds will support ISLAND.

Paddle Route and Tracking
The course route is the same this year. However, you will be required to check-in with us at the Dockside, Alden, the Torch River Bridge, Elk Lake Girls Camp, and in Elk Rapids. If you drop out before reaching a designated checkpoint, we will ask you to contact a course official to let us know you are done for the day, and that you are safely on dry ground. Failing to check in will disqualify you from receiving a free beer glass and t-shirt at the post-paddle party in Elk Rapids. Note: you will not need to exit your boat at checkpoints. All kayaks will be clearly numbered to aid us in tracking each participant.

Safety Boats
For 2012, we are hoping to more than double the number of safety boats. In addition, you will be directed to stay on one side of the lineup of safety boats. This will allow the safety boat crews to better monitor the paddlers. If you are interested in being a safety boat caption, or know someone who is suitably nautical, please click here.

Bad Weather Plan
As much as we hate to think about it, bad weather could disrupt the Short’s to Short’s Paddle. If strong winds make Torch Lake too dangerous, the event will be cancelled at the Dockside.

Course Timing
Paddlers should expect the full route to take from 8-10 hours, taking breaks into account. While we feel that this time is reasonable for any able paddler, you must work to stay on track. If your goal for the day is to relax and socialize, you should not try to go the entire distance. We encourage any level of participation in the event, and there is nothing wrong with planning to drop out at a checkpoint.
This is NOT a race. There are no prizes for finishing first. However, some expert paddlers have found it interesting to time themselves. Currently, the known course record belongs to Denny Paull, an avid paddler and kayak racer, who completed the 2011 event in 4 hours and 45 minutes. Denny stopped at each of the drop out points noted on the S2S map.

Essential Tips
Dress for the weather. We suggest moisture wicking layers underneath a gore-tex fleece or windbreaker. Fighting wet and cold is essential to really enjoy this adventure. Dress appropriately so you can be comfortable and have a good experience. Also, be sure to stow a complete set of back up clothing in a dry bag. Bring lots of clothing options because the springtime weather in Northern Michigan often defies prediction.
Wear sunscreen and a hat. Apply sunscreen throughout the day.
Test your kayak beforehand. Make cockpit adjustments before launch day. Sit in your vessel and decide where the most comfortable position is going to be for your ride. Being comfortable will really improve your enjoyment! Also, be sure that your kayak is water-tight. Check every compartment cover to make sure that it is fastened.
Wear a life jacket. Better safe than sorry! At this time of year, falling into the water will cause your body to very quickly become hypothermic. You will be disoriented and will not have much energy. Your life vest will keep you afloat until help can arrive.
Keep electronics dry. While it is a good idea to bring a cell phone, be sure to pack it in a dry bag.
Bring water and snacks. It’s a long day and you’re going to be burning thousands of calories. Plus, you need to stay hydrated!
Paddle with a Partner. Either come with a buddy, or get to know someone on the water. Either way, it is not safe to paddle alone. Also, be sure to tell someone where you are going and what you are doing.

Dining En Route
If you want to stop and grab a bite to eat along the way, we suggest either the Dockside or Fabianos (or both). The Dockside has great food and, on the day of the Paddle, Short’s Brew will pour from all of their taps. Further on, at the mouth of the Torch River, Fabiano’s serves great pizzas and subs.

As Always, Drink Responsibly
Of course we enjoy a good beer! However, because the Short’s to Short’s is an endurance event, and because the waterways at issue require you to be at your best, we advise that any consumption of alcohol during the event be extremely moderate.

Post-Paddle Party in Elk Rapids
For the first time ever, we are throwing a party on the same day as the Short’s to Short’s. We’re calling it a mini-Short’s Fest. We’ll have 10 beers on tap, multiple food vendors, a tent, brewery tours, and more. The event runs from 4 pm – 9 pm and will be open to the public.

Free 2012 S2S Beer Glass and Commemorative Moosejaw T-Shirt!
At the Post-Paddle Party, qualifying Short’s to Short’s Paddlers will receive a complimentary beer glass from Land and Sea Packaging. In addition, the first 300 qualifying paddlers to attend the reception will receive a complimentary event t-shirt from Moosejaw. Representatives from Moosejaw will also be on hand to give out some great prizes!

Transportation and Kayak Rentals
Plan to team up with another paddler or a friend to arrange transportation. Alternately, Green Planet Extreme Adventure Tours is also providing transportation and ground support services for the Short’s to Short’s paddlers. Green Planet operates independently of our event, but has been extremely helpful to our paddlers in years past. You can sign up for transportation and/or kayak rentals through Green Planet’s website.

Lodging Options
Click here for a list of camping and lodging options in our area.

Contact Us

Finally, if you have any questions, please send them to [email protected]. And remember, if you are coming to the Paddle, plan to stick around for our 8th Anniversary Party at our Pub in Bellaire on Saturday the 28th from 3 p.m. to close. We’ll be releasing the first ever Double Huma and we’ll have a great lineup of beer and music throughout the day.

– SBC Paddle Crew