Short’s to Short’s 2010 Pre-Paddle Report

UPDATE: Please note that some details of the S2S 2010 have changed.

Okay, this year’s pre paddle went pretty well.  Everyone was in the water by 8:20 a.m. The morning was really cold and eventually warmed up around 11:00 am to 40-ish, when we got close to the dockside.  All the water was extremely flat, until the last part of Torch Lake for the first ½ of the trip.  Lake Skegemog and Elk Lake were the toughest as there was a 10-15 MPH head wind which was brutal. All in all, given the weather we had, anyone should be able to finish this trip in about 10 to 12 hours leisurely.  That’s casual through the rivers with about 1.5 to 2 hours worth of breaks in between.  So I have compiled a list of the last minute essentials for those of you who intend to do this trip and take it seriously. (If you haven’t registered for the event yet, do it here!)

  1. Bring warm gloves, several pairs. I used my winter mittens for the first half, and it totally made the 30 degree wind much more bearable and the ride much more comfortable and enjoyable.
  2. Dress for the weather. This year the weather started around 30 degrees and finished about 55 degrees with light wind (10-15mph near the end).  I dressed as if I was going cross country skiing.  I had a base layer and soft shell ski pants for the bottom and on top, several wicking layers of smart wools which could be easily shed, and a raincoat/windbreaker. Fighting wet and cold is essential to really enjoy this adventure. So dress appropriately so you can be comfortable and have a good experience.
  3. Make cockpit adjustments – I would recommend making your kayak or canoe seating or cockpit adjustments prior to launch day. Sit in your vessel and decide where the most comfortable position is going to be for your ride. It’s a long ways, and being comfortable will really improve your enjoyment!
  4. Pack a complete set of back up clothing in a dry bag. This pre paddle we experienced a kayaker who took on water in his rear storage compartment because the cover wasn’t tightened completely.  In that compartment was his dry bag with back up clothing. He took on so much water he eventually began to sink and was picked up by the safety boat. Once the safety boat had returned him soaking wet to the next drop point we discovered his entire dry bag was also full of water, posing a serious problem. So the moral of this story:
    1. Fasten your compartments completely
    2. Pack your dry gear correctly, especially your phone!
  5. Paddle with a Partner. I can’t emphasize how important this is. As the kayakers make it into the bigger bodies of water they tend to disperse. This can make it challenging for safety boats to monitor several paddles strewn about over miles of lake.  It’s especially worse when the lake is rough.  So find someone to paddle next to that fits your pace or plan to have a partner.  Prior to launching you will receive a packet containing a map and the safety boat locations and the captains phone numbers.  Also included in the info packs will be Kevin Karpinski’s number  as well as the rest of the ground support. So in the event you end up in a safety boat, you can arrange a pick up at the nearest location.  Also in this packet will be info for participating establishments along the paddle. Some will be offering a “special or feature” lunch or dinner. Those establishments are:
      1. The Clam Shack – Clam River (Dewitt Marine)
      2. The Dockside (Clam River/Torch Lake)
      3. Fabiano’s on the River (Torch River) – great sandwich’s
      4. The Riverwalk (Elk Rapids a good place to finish as it’s “on the river”)
      5. Pearl’s (Elk Rapids)
  6. Bring Sun Screen – This is the first time the sun had really been out during one of the paddles. Although I had sunglasses on, it still wasn’t enough. The sun was tricky, even through the clouds.  So bring sunscreen for your face at a minimum. Several of us pretty paddlers look like raccoons with crispy noses and cheeks!
  7. Even Extra Gear. Most of the safety boats will have towels and blankets. If you do not have a dry bag but want a bag at the finish, you should arrange to leave it with Kevin for ground support, or he can put it in a safety boat.
  8. Life Jacket – Wear one or have one readily accessible on your boat.  Better safe than sorry!
  9. Water and Snacks – I’m hoping to outfit the safety boats with blankets and towels. If you don’t plan on patronizing any of the establishments along the way I highly recommend bringing a snack or snacks water and what not. It’s a long day either way you shake it.

Now that you’ve read the report, head to the registration page here and sign up!

Check out the photos on SBC Flickr:

Enjoy our video from the Pre-Paddle: