Dickinson County man gears up to break world record for fastest solo kayaking adventure through Wisconsin River

South Central UP

DICKINSON COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – 436 miles. That’s how long the Wisconsin River is and one Dickinson County man will be attempting to break the world record for fastest solo kayak adventure through it.

“This has just been a sport that I love,” said Jason Pientka, kayaker. “It’s about the adventure, that’s my life. Finding the next adventure, new stream, something that’s bigger, better, faster. It appeals to me in every way. I love it.”

Pientka has been an avid kayaker for the past 10 years, even making a career out of it by being a whitewater rafting guide for True North Outpost in Norway and now he’s ready for his next big adventure with the sport.

“Gonna be a 436 mile paddle of the whole entire Wisconsin River from Lac Vieux Desert all the way to the Mississippi River,” said Pientka.

The current record for the fastest solo kayak trip is six days and six hours.

“For this specific adventure, I’ll be using a sea-terrain kayak,” said Pientka. “This is an 18-foot kayak. It’s basically built for just speed. For going fast, staying straight and just covering as much ground as possible as fast as possible.”

Throughout the trip, Pientka will not only have to paddle but he’ll have to carry his kayak around 26 dams.

“Some of them are short in a matter of only a few hundred yards some of the portages are upwards over a mile long that I’ll have to walk with my kayak so that burns up a lot of time too so I just gotta be a trooper and just keep going,” said Pientka. “That’s my… I think I have this. I really do. It’s going to be a fun adventure for me either way.”

Not only, is this to break a world record, but it’s also a charitable event. Funds raised throughout the adventure will go to the Wausau, Wisconsin Whitewater Course which was a big part of Pientka’s career in the beginning and People, Earth, Water.

“They go around organizing river clean ups,” said Pientka. “Getting these filthy rivers, the trash out of these rivers. They get people into kayaks and boats and organize runs down these rivers to get the rivers clean. Educational services in that sense too. So that really touches base with me. I’m out on the river for life for my job and so that really touches home for me.”

Pientka doesn’t have an exact date on when he’ll start his journey but hoping it will be in the next two to five weeks after a rainfall when the water levels are higher.

“This is my retirement plan as I tell people,” said Pientka. “I love the sport. I love doing it.”

To learn more about Pientka’s adventure and to donate, click here.

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