Joe Bidawid recalls 59-Mile Lake Michigan Sup Crossing – 10 Years later

Joe Bidawid Lake Michigan crossing finish
Joe Bidawid Lake Michigan crossing finish
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Ten years ago, Joe Bidawid did something incredible.  Ten years ago, standup paddling was still a fledgling sport on our shores and NO ONE had heard of or attempted any kind of large water crossing.  Joe did.  Joe Bidawid helped to pioneer the sport of standup paddling in Michigan when he accomplished the 1st ever 59-mile Sup Crossing of Lake Michigan alone and unassisted.

Joe Bidawid Lake Michigan crossing
The Godfather of Sup in the Great Lakes, Joe Bidawid has some tales to tell.

10-Year Anniversary of the 1st solo Lake Michigan crossing

This summer marked the 10-year anniversary of Joe Bidawid’s historic 59-mile unassisted standup paddle Lake Michigan crossing.  While sup crossings are common place in today’s world, back in 2007, Bidawid’s crossing not only put standup paddling on the map on the Great Lakes region, but also turned heads around the world.

Prior to Joe’s successful journey across Lake Michigan, the longest sup crossing at that time was Laird Hamilton’s 17-mile crossing of the English Channel.

For the first time, Bidawid opens up about his life altering journey and unveils vivid and colorful details about the events of that historic day on August 27th, 2007. While the focus has always been on the magnificent accomplishment, he vividly describes the gut wrenching emotional and physical struggles that have come to largely define the experience for him.

Joe Bidawid Lake Michigan crossing finish

Michigan Lake Sup Crossing:  10 Years later, but still alive in memory today

Much has changed in 10 years since the day, but the crossing continues to define Bidawid’s existence within the stand up paddling community.

“People still ask me about it. The more I try to keep it quiet, the more people want to know about it. It continues to take on a life of its own.” – Joe Bidawid

Seemingly alone at St. Joe’s Sliver Lake Beach, Bidawid, recalls rising to his feet just as the sun had set.  Under a half moon, he nervously pushed away from shore and locked into a committed stair across the horizon. “I will never forget the moment I left shore and the rush of mixed emotions”.

Nineteen hours later, he arrived at Monroe Harbor in downtown Chicago. “The entire event felt like an out of body experience.”

Written by, Ryan Bond



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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.