1 more to go! Last obstacle might be hardest for disabled paddleboarder looking to cross 5 Great Lakes

With 4 Great Lakes down, Mike Shoreman will try and complete his quest Saturday

Mike Shoreman said he is raising awareness and money for mental health by becoming the first man with a disability to paddleboard across all 5 Great Lakes. Contributed photo. (Matt Wagner)

Mike Shoreman has gotten all sorts of attention this summer for his incredible triumphs, but right now, he is more motivated by a humiliating failure.

Last year, Shoreman said he attempted to become the first man with a disability to paddleboard across Lake Ontario, training months in advance in his native Canada to pull off the feat.

He couldn’t do it.

But that failure ended up spurring him on to bigger and better things this year.

Shoreman, who in 2018 was diagnosed Ramsey Hunt Syndrome, a neurological condition that affects the nervous system and causes mental and physical imbalance, became even more determined in the name of raising awareness and funds for mental health.

Shoreman decided he was going to paddleboard across all five Great Lakes, and has done so over four of them.

All that’s left is to conquer Lake Ontario, which he will attempt to do Friday and Saturday.

Given what happened last year, the biggest challenge might be mentally, not physically.

“I am in a different headspace than last year,” he said. “Last year I wasn’t mentally ready. This year, whatever happens, I am OK with it. I didn’t understand that last year and people watched me fall apart. And I am in a really good place.”

At around 4 p.m. ET on Friday, Shoreman will depart from Youngstown, New York for what he estimates will be a 21-hour journey across Lake Ontario into his hometown of Toronto, where he plans on arriving between noon and 1 p.m. ET Saturday.

“I have a strong team, nutrition is working and we have done two overnight crossings,” Shoreman said. “So I am in the best position I can be for this second attempt of Lake Ontario.”

On May 29, Shoreman successfully crossed Lake Erie from Point Sturgeon, New York, to Crystal Beach, Ontario, a journey he said lasted 17 miles and took seven hours.

On June 12, Shoreman crossed Lake Huron, going from Harbor Beach, Michigan to Goderich, Ontario, which provided a major scare.

Shoreman said he had a medical emergency in the middle of the night in the middle of the lake, but managed to cross it completely in more than 28 hours.

He was met by paramedics on the beach, but was ultimately OK.

On July 5, Shoreman successfully crossed his third Great Lake when he paddleboarded across Lake Superior from Orenta, Wisconsin to Two Harbors, Minnesota, a 28-mile journey that took more than eight hours.

On July 27, Shoreman paddleboarded to a beach in Chicago after crossing Lake Michigan, finishing a 44-mile, roughly 28-hour journey that began in Union Pier, Michigan.

On each of his trips, Shoreman is accompanied by a boat and a crew that feeds him every 30 minutes. There also is a filming crew that is documenting his every move.

Now, he is ready for his final conquest, one he hopes will inspire millions around the world who have struggled with mental health.

“While me and my teams have four under our belt now, it’s a Great Lake and anything can happen in a period of 20 or so hours,” he said. “All I can do is try my best.”

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.