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Duluthian sets paddleboard record from Rainy Lake to Grand Portage

Mike Ward took five days, 10 hours to paddle 250 miles standing up.

Mike Ward
Mike Wards begins his paddleboard trip near International Falls on Rainy Lake.
Contributed / Emily Andrews
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GRAND PORTAGE — Duluthian Mike Ward became the latest person to break a record paddling a landmark water trail, this time along the Minnesota/Ontario border from Rainy Lake to Grand Portage.

Ward finished the 250-mile traverse of Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on Saturday in five days, 10 hours and 31 minutes. That apparently beat the previous paddleboard record, set by Scott Baste, by 18 hours.

Ward used a 14-foot racing-style stand-up paddleboard along with lightweight camping gear and food to make the traverse. To train, he paddled on Lake Superior, portaging his gear from his East Hillside Duluth home to Leif Erickson Park.

The route taken, known as the Border Route, or Kruger-Waddell Challenge, is a historic native American travel corridor used for centuries, and a well-traveled fur-trading route for voyageurs transporting furs from the North American wilderness.

In the modern day, a paddling team consisting of Verlen Kruger and Clint Waddell found a record of a historic speed attempt by fur trader Sir George Simpson and recreated the route in the 1970s. Since then, many records on the same course have been set and broken by solo canoe paddlers, tandem canoe teams and stand-up paddleboards.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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