Texas Hill Country News

Texas Water Safari 2017: A Journey to Brag About

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Every year since 1963, the annual canoe and paddling journey, the Texas Water Safari, takes place at the beginning of summer. The regatta of 150 boats departs from Spring Lake, San Marcos, Texas and travels to Seadrift, Texas. This 260-mile grueling test of human spirit, will, and concentration is spread out over the period of four days and four hours.

Journey

Photo: Facebook/ Mark Schatz

The race is tricky as it presents paddlers with multiple portages and dams, fast moving whitewater rapids, unseen logjams, tight technical sections, and varying water levels. Several sections of the river congest teams to where they are essentially competing for space.

Drive

Going for a cruise down a rapids section in the water safariPhoto: Facebook/ Ashley Landis

The teams range in size from a solo paddler to six paddlers, with the goal of claiming they have completed the brutal race. There is no prize money and the winner only gets a trophy and bragging rights. For the solo paddlers, it is a test of self-reliance and grit. For the teams, it is a test of coordination, calm communication, and understanding the roles each paddler has on the boat. Although the racers are competing with each other, just finishing the race itself is an accomplishment. Paddlers make plans and hope that all the hard work they put into training to command their craft pays off. However, in the Safari, even the best made plans don’t always hold up to the realities the river is going to present come race time.

Commitment

Photo: Facebook/ Mark Schatz

The trip to Seadrift is a long one, and is a competitive environment that takes its toll on the racers. Commitment spurs paddlers on to finish the race despite falling ill or getting hurt. By attempting the Texas Water Safari, competitors strategically manage and balance all the associated risks and dangers. For that reason, to all those that participated in the Texas Water Safari 2017, congratulations on another awesome year. For those that wish to attempt this feet of human achievement, may your training be productive and race day line up in your favor.

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