MUSKEGON (AP) — A young woman and two brothers on Monday finished an about 80-mile paddle board crossing of Lake Michigan from Wisconsin to Michigan, finishing in less time than they predicted despite high waves along the way.
Craig Masselink, 23, his 19-year-old brother, Trent, and their 21-year-old friend Ginny Melby left Milwaukee’s McKinley Beach on Sunday morning. They had expected the trip to take about 30 hours, but it took less than 24.
“I didn’t really ever think of this as my effort and Craig’s effort and Ginny’s effort, it was our effort,” Trent Masselink told MLive.com. “There was no way any one of us could have done this alone.
“We had to work together, play off each other’s strengths and using the gifts that God gave us, and all the support from our friends and family. The prayers were definitely felt the whole time.”
The paddle aimed to raise money for Restore International, a charity focusing on social justice issues in Uganda.
They were crossing to their families’ cottages in Norton Shores, near Muskegon, Mich. They took turns paddling while the other two rode in a 40-foot support boat. Melby’s mother and the Masselinks’ father were aboard.
“I feel like we will be friends forever,” Melby said of her paddle board companions.
The first half of the journey went smoothly, while waves started to pick up during the night on Sunday.
“The problem was the waves were coming in from an awkward angle and pushing the nose of the board north,” Trent Masselink said. “So we stroked about 97 percent on one side and about 3 percent on the other side.”
Nearly 100 friends and family members ran down the beach to welcome the trio, MLive.com reported. The three traveled the final few hundred yards together with Melby and Trent Masselink paddling, and Craig Masselink holding onto the back of the paddle board.
“For me this was physically exhausting but it was probably the most mentally exhausting thing I’ve ever done,” Craig Masselink said. “Especially at night with sleep deprivation. At one point in time I was in a trough and I couldn’t see out of it. I’m like 6-foot-1 so, yeah, there was some whoppers out there.”
“It was unbelievable,” he added. “It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”