UMD grads kayaking around Lake Superior to ‘Make Waves’

Erin Denny and Lexi Bruno are looking to make a statement, and they chose a precedent-setting Superior kayaking adventure to do it.

Starting on June 4, the two University of Minnesota Duluth grads will be setting out from Part Point beach in Duluth, MN to circumnavigate Lake Superior in kayaks. The Duluth News Tribune reports that they’ll be travelling northeast towards Canada, and hope to end up back in Duluth. If they’re successful, they’ll be the first women in documented history to do so.

While two other female paddlers completed the journey in 2011, they were in a canoe, not kayaks.

While the prospect of paddling Superior is a scintillating adventure in and of itself, the long-time paddlers are hoping to make the journey a statement. The best friends worked together as paddle guides with UMD’s Kayaking and Canoe institute in 2013-2014 and encountered some frustrating sexist commentary, despite being qualified and highly-skilled instructors.

You really think you’re going to be able to get that person back into their boat by yourself?” Bruno recalls being asked.

“You can load a trailer?” Denny was questioned.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 12.38.59 PM

In response, Bruno and Denny are naming their journey “Making Waves” – a call to women to trust their abilities, pursue adventures, and disrupt limiting stereotypes. While they are completing the journey for themselves, they hope to inspire other women to undertake similar journeys. They’ve presented their idea to women’s groups in Minnesota, and hope to speak about their experience to audiences of local women when they return to Duluth.

While they’re tackling Superior, Bruno and Denny are stocked up on gear and taking safety as the highest priority. They will be able to communicate with loved ones while on the lake by using a GPS device which tracks their location and allows them to send messages when they’re without cell service. They’ve also invested in a strobe light, flare gun, and two-way marine radio in case of emergencies. They told the News Tribune that safety material was their biggest expense.

If you wish to help, they are currently fundraising for their trip at

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 12.40.23 PMThe paddlers are particularly looking forward to seeing the beauty of Superior’s shore in its various forms. On the North Shore in Canada, they’ll be treated to soaring cliff faces and stretches of forest. Superior’s south side will expose hollowed-out caves and sandy dune beaches.

While they’re exploring, the pair will keep up a tradition of taking headstand photos on their adventures. The pair make their love of yoga known on social media, and it looks like they’ve mastered good core strength!

To keep up with the headstand updates and Superior adventure, follow ‘Make Waves’ on social media. They’re posting updates to their makewavespaddle Twitter feed, makewaves-adventure Instagram account and Make Waves page on Facebook.




Scroll to Top