World's Toughest Canoe Race
Legend has it that back around 1962 Frank Brown and Bill “Big Willie” George decided to take their “V” bottom boat, without a motor, from San Marcos to Corpus Christi. They accomplished their mission in about 30 days and decided that other people should have the opportunity to experience the same journey. So in 1963 they set up the first Texas Water Safari.
The Safari is a long, tough nonstop, marathon canoe racing adventure, which traverses 260 miles of challenging rivers and bays. Although the rate varies from year to year depending on water conditions, in previous Safaris as few as two teams out of sixty starters managed to reach the finish line. Many participants enter the Safari with no intention of winning, but with aspirations of joining the elite group of finishers and earning the coveted Texas Water Safari patch.
Entrants must have all provisions, equipment, and items of repair in their possession at the start of the race. Nothing may be purchased by or delivered to a team during the race except water and/or ice. Each team must have a team captain (18 years old, or older) whose responsibility it is to follow the team by vehicle (car, truck, or bicycle) to keep track of their location and condition and give them water and/or ice. During the Safari, teams may not receive any assistance of any kind except verbal. Teams must be prepared to travel day and night, nonstop to be competitive, but teams who occasionally stop for sleep have been able to reach mandatory checkpoint cutoff times and cross the finish line by the 100 hour deadline.