Hometown: Komoka, ON
Paddle Distance: 20km
Favourite Lake Memory: Being out on the lake paddling by myself.
Frank has been racing Stand Up Paddleboard for about 5 years now. He’s completed races like the 13 mile Graveyard Race at the Carolina Cup as well as others. Out of the water Frank likes to run and ride his bicycle. Frank is hoping that this event will raise awareness for the conditions of Lake Erie and lead to action.
The Canadian Freshwater Alliance chatted with Frank about his upcoming paddle, his training regimen and his connection to the lake.
CFA: What are your reasons for competing in the Lake Erie Challenge this year? What’s driving you to compete?
FT: I don't see the Lake Erie Challenge as a competition against others. It serves to challenge my abilities on the day of the event. Lake Erie can be gentle or it can be angry. It is not only the distance paddled but also the water and wind conditions of the day. Challenges like this teach me that I have to work with nature not against it. The real challenge of this event is to raise awareness.
CFA: Have you participated in competitions or events of this scale before?
FT: I have been racing Stand Up Paddleboards for about 5 years now. Some of the races can be long and arduous. In April of 2018 I competed in the 13 mile Graveyard Race at the Carolina Cup. This race was in open ocean and intercoastal waters at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. The wind, waves and currents were significant. Aside from racing I enjoy being on the water with people from different walks of life.
CFA: Can you tell us about your first memories of Lake Erie?
FT: My first memories of Lake Erie are from when I was a child. When I was very young I recall going to Niagara Falls and then to where Lake Erie drains into the Niagara River. It consolidated in me that Lake Erie is a part of a larger system. Simply put, rain water in the watershed drains into creeks, rivers, lakes then into the ocean. Around the same time I was fascinated to learn how the Great Lakes formed during the last ice age.
CFA: How often do you spend time on the Lake?
FT: Presently, I paddle my SUP on Lake Erie about twice a week in the Port Stanley area.
CFA: What do you love about Lake Erie?
FT: I like that it is the warmest Great Lake which allows for a longer paddling season. It's a home for wildlife and it provides drinking water.
CFA: What does your training regimen for this kind of crossing look like? Are there any other sports or workout routines that you incorporate into training?
FT: For fitness I train on my SUP about three times a week by doing sprint repeats, threshold workouts and a long paddle day. Off the water I enjoy running especially doing 100 metres sprint repeats. I also like riding my bicycle and doing mobility and strength workouts. I am a firm believer that good Nutrition and Rest play a larger role in physical and mental health.
CFA: What appeals to you about long distance challenges like this? What goes through your mind as your paddling for that long?
FT: Long distance challenges are definitely a test of endurance. They require stamina and mental strength. To be successful in a challenge like this systematic preparation must be done with intention. Most of my training is done in solitude. While on a long paddle I fall into a rhythm of breathing and cadence of paddling. That combined with the clean clear water causes your mind to wander. It is a fantastic way to de-stress.
CFA: How would a bad algae year affect your swimming or paddling?
FT: I would not swim or paddle within an algae bloom at all. The algae can produce toxins that are harmful to your health. Not being able to paddle on Lake Erie would be a disappointment. More importantly I would be saddened by how the algae affects the lake and the wildlife within.
CFA: What are you hoping that this challenge will bring about in terms of change and awareness for the issues Lake Erie is facing?
FT: By paddling in this event I hope to help raise people's awareness of the issues surrounding Lake Erie water quality. And I would hope that the awareness would lead to action. The action would not have to be radical. It simply means stop putting "bad stuff" into our water systems. You can do this as an individual or as a corporate entity. I have hope.
Donate here to support Frank in the challenge!