Local Attempts Stand-Up Paddle Boarding from Duluth to Arctic Ocean
An adventure of a lifetime, attempted by a true adrenaline junkie from Duluth, Jared Munch
DULUTH, Minn. — An adventure of a lifetime begins this week, attempted by a true adrenaline junkie from Duluth, Jared Munch.
He is a local man and is attempting to stand up paddle board his way up Lake Superior all the way to the Arctic Ocean.
Most stand up paddle boarders prefer the calm winds and sunny days when balancing is easier. But Munch has been down whitewater rapids on his sup and now takes on a challenge never attempted before… 920 miles paddling to the arctic ocean in whatever mother nature throws at him.
“It’s Lake Superior, it’s pretty rare for us to have 36 hours of consistent or no wind. Especially for the wind to line up as a downwind, which would be really fun for me on a paddle board.”
Munch was the first to ever completely circle Lake Superior on a stand up paddle board back in 2015. “It was the kind of journey where when I got done I said I was never going to do anything like that ever again, it was terrible and I hate it. But it’s four years later and now the urge to do something has kind of crept back in!” explained Munch.
Why this trip? That urge was fueled while he was at work one day when an elderly couple came in and dropped off a big box of guide books on Canadian rivers. “One of the books appeared to be very unused, had an interesting cover on it, so I started paging through it, it was the Missinaibi River.” said Munch.
This river basically connects Lake Superior to the southern tip of the Arctic Ocean. “I don’t think these people would of ever known who they were giving their books to and that I was crazy enough to actually do some of their unfinished journey’s. But I decided to do it!” laughed Munch.
Jared leaves Thursday June 13, 2019, alone…
Paddling from Brighton Beach in Duluth, he’s headed up the entire stretch of the north shore to the northeastern tip of the lake. Then paddling upstream 60 miles on the Michipicoten River in Canada. Joining the headwaters of the Missinaibi River, which flows another 400 miles into James Bay of the Arctic Ocean.
“I just found that I really enjoy the aspect of being able to combine my board sport skills of snowboarding and skateboarding with my paddling skills from whitewater kayaking and rafting.” said Munch.
He expects to cover 30 miles a day, for a total of 920 miles in about a month. “If the lake cooperates I think I’ll be able to have a really good pace. But the lake has to cooperate!” explained Munch.
Just having a side wind all day long, could force Munch to paddle on one side, which can get tiring very quickly. “Your body essentially becomes a sail, you do get pushed around. And there is the stability component of it as well. Waves make you bounce around a little bit out there, but I enjoy that!” laughed Munch.
Because he is doing this solo, all of his dehydrated food will be on his board with him. He’ll be using a lightweight 14 foot carbon fiber SUP for his lake travels.
“I’ll be able to go very fast on it. But getting to the shore and from the shore is going to be the most difficult pieces, especially if it’s wavy because I will have a lot of extra gear weight on the board. The risks involved in damaging my board or worse off, breaking it all together, smashing it against a big rock in the middle of nowhere, it’s a very scary thing to think about for me.” explained Munch.
He’s mapped out every relatively flat place along the shoreline to rest his head for the night.
“I’m shipping myself a couple resupplies along Lake Superior and then my dad will be bringing the rest of my supplies when he joins me.” said Munch.
His father is joining him at the rivers and will also bring him a tougher inflatable SUP, because there are some big hurdles he could face…”One difficulty that I’ll have on the river is I’ll be on a longer board than I typically take down rapids and it will have a lot of gear weight on it.”
No flat water paddling here, rapids he will be facing are mostly class I and II, which means he will have to maneuver around rocks even with the high spring–time waters.
“There are rocks that you can hit, that you definitely don’t want to. But the thing about class II is there is no serious risk of injury if you do mess up in the rapid.”
Once he gets into the class III and IV rapids things get dicey, “Especially on a big stand up paddle board with a lot of gear. But there are established portage routes around a lot of those rapids on the river I’ll be paddling.” said Munch.
But Munch does have the skills to take on large rapids, he is one of only six to hold the highest level of stand up paddle board instructor certifications. “I like the technicality of going through smaller rapids while standing; it’s a really fun aspect of paddling for me.” explain Munch.
He got his training in some of the best Colorado swift waters. When he returns from his adventure, you can sign up for lessons with him on the St. Louis River.
“There is a very, very, steep learning curve to getting to the point where you can do something like this. But it’s a really fun and extremely rewarding learning curve! I myself enjoy it and I like to help other people experience it.” said Munch.
This is the main reason he is doing this one of a kind trip! To help raise money for the Neighborhood Youth Service of Woodland Hills. He has a Go-Fund-Me set up for donations to help kids get outdoor gear.
“The magnitude of the distance will be a challenge I will be fatigued, I will be tired, I will be cold and hungry but if it was going to be easy, I wouldn’t be interested in doing it. I’m excited and also regretting my decision to do it, all at the same time!” laughed Munch.
You can track Jared Munch’s travels online, he will check in each night, updating his location and daily progress with a text of how his day went. CLICK HERE TO SEE WHERE HE IS NOW!
When he gets to the other side of Lake Superior and is about to hit the rivers, he will have internet and will send Fox 21 a video of his adventure so far.
Paddle on Jared! And good luck!