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Two alumni raise funds, cross Lake Michigan on paddleboards

  • two men on paddleboards

Posted on August 21, 2018

Two Grand Valley alumni crossed Lake Michigan on stand-up paddleboards to raise money and awareness for the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership.

Muskegon residents Daniel Bonner, ’09, and Eric Strickler, ’08, finished their 73-mile journey August 9, traveling from Milwaukee to Muskegon in slightly over 21 hours. 

Strickler said they had to end their expedition, "Michigami Crossing," six miles from the Muskegon shore because of weather conditions. "The consequences if something would have gone wrong just got too high," Strickler said. "The winds were 12-17 mph making the waves 2-4 feet."

Bonner and Strickler traveled with a support boat and also kept supplies on their paddleboards. They trained for six months to prepare for the crossing but Strickler said the idea started years ago.

"We've talked about this for years, it was a matter of getting our schedules cleared and going out to get sponsorships for the boards and equipment," he said. The Lake Express ferry gave the paddlers and their crew passes to get to Wisconsin before their journey.

Strickler said they paddled three or four times a week from 10-30 miles at a time to prepare, in addition to other completing other strength and cardio workouts.

They have raised more than $7,000 for the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership; money raised will go toward watershed restoration and conservation. People can continue to donate via fundly.com, search for "Michigami Crossing."

"We're both heavily invested in Muskegon and keeping our local waters healthy," Strickler said.

Strickler earned a degree in natural resources management, Bonner earned a degree in advertising and public relations, and minored in NRM. Strickler runs the “Paddle Muskegon” program out of the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex. Bonner operates the juice bar and teaches yoga at Rootdown in Muskegon.