Paddling for a Purpose: GEARLAB Athlete Alex Martin Plans to Solo Circumnavigate Lake Winnipeg


In 1983, a pair of ambitious paddlers circumnavigated the 1,750 km of Lake Winnipeg. Thrity-five years later, at the ripe age of 18, GEARLAB athlete Alex Martin plans to do the same, but solo. Alex will embark on his 2 month long kayak journey on June 27 from Manitoba’s Grand Beach Provincial Park. His expedition will be tracked by Garmin’s inReach.

If the paddling journey wasn’t already an impressive feat in and of itself, Martin plans to use the trip as a means to raise awareness of the critical need for sustainable watershed management in the region. He plans to do this by stopping in communities around the lake to share his stories, promote his campaign and gather digital rhetoric of the region.

Alex’s paddle of choice for the trip is GEARLAB’s unique Nukilik paddle.

“The light carbon-fiber design makes it great for long distance paddling, and the replaceable tips makes it ideal for expedition trips,” Alex says. “Totally great on windy days!”

The Nukilik paddle is a contemporary take on a thousand-year-old, Greenland style paddle designed by the Inuit people. This particular paddle marries ancient ingenuity with modern technology to create one of the most efficient paddles on the market.

The timing for Alex’s trip is impeccable as in recent years, harmful blue-green algae blooms have contaminated beaches, reduced water quality, and threatened the fishing industry in the region. “The trip will serve as an awareness campaign regarding the dire need for change in the way that the government and private corporations, along with people who live within the Lake Winnipeg watershed, think about sustainability in regards to Lake Winnipeg,” says Alex.


Many points along his route are areas well-known for their importance in the lake’s ecology such as the proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pimachiowin Aki, Fisher Bay Provincial Park, and Kinwow Bay Provincial Park. Other important stops include the 12 local schools in which Alex plans to give talks about water conservation and stewardship to young, impressionable audiences.

Alex is working in affiliation with Lake Winnipeg Foundation, Canadian Parks, and the Wilderness Society: Manitoba Chapter, and the First Nations group Pimachiowin Aki.

For trip updates, go to