Texas Water Safari: The World's Toughest Canoe Race (Pam and Will Harte Books on Rivers, sponsored by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University) (Hardcover)

Texas Water Safari: The World's Toughest Canoe Race (Pam and Will Harte Books on Rivers, sponsored by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University) By Bob Spain, Joy Emshoff Cover Image
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In the summer of 1962, Frank Brown and “Big Willie” George launched a 133-pound motorboat—with no motor—into the San Marcos River and headed for the Texas coast. Over the next three weeks they paddled downriver, wrestling through log jams and fighting off mosquitoes on their 337-mile journey to Corpus Christi. The following year, Brown staged a canoe race that followed the same route, billed as “The Texas Water Safari—The Toughest Boat Race in the World.” Contestants had to carry all their provisions with them from the start and could receive no assistance during the competition. One hundred and twenty-six men and one woman, all Texans, lined up for the grueling race. Some boats sank at the start, others were wrecked on the river, and some people dropped out from exhaustion or injury, while others failed to make the time deadlines and were disqualified. Of the 58 vessels that started the race, only two arrived at the finish line in Corpus Christi.
The now-famous Texas Water Safari has since attracted thousands of competitive and recreational paddlers from across the globe who line up every summer in canoes and kayaks to carry on a tradition now in its 60th year.
In Texas Water Safari: The World’s Toughest Canoe Race, veteran racers Bob Spain and Joy Emshoff chronicle the winding history of this epic competition, documenting the many changes to the racecourse over the years, the evolution of competition vessels, and the influx of national and international racers. Drawing upon the record books, Water Safari lore, and their own experiences, the authors have compiled a collection of stories, statistics, and photographs that celebrates and preserves the history of this Texas river tradition.

About the Author

BOB SPAIN is a certified canoe instructor, competitive paddler, and the author of Bob Spain’s Canoeing Guide and Favorite Texas Paddling Trails. He worked for Texas Parks and Wildlife for almost 30 years, serving as a wildlife biologist, coastal conservation coordinator, and deputy director of the Resource Protection Division before retiring. Over the past 35 years he has competed in canoe races in Texas and throughout the nation. As a Texas Water Safari board member, he continues to host the Texas Water Safari every year.
JOY EMSHOFF is a Texas Water Safari volunteer, former race participant, and certified canoe instructor. She provided the instructional photos and drawings for Bob Spain’s Canoeing Guide and Favorite Texas Paddling Trails. In this book, she chronicles the women who have competed and completed the Texas Water Safari.

Praise For…

“In my experience paddling distance races on four continents since 1984, the Texas Water Safari is the most challenging and diverse non-stop canoe event in the world. No other race combines the diverse conditions, distance, and technical difficulty of the Safari.”—Ian Adamson, world champion adventure athlete, president of World Obstacle Sports Federation, and author of Runner’s World Guide to Adventure Racing: How to Become a Successful Racer and Adventure Athlete
— Ian Adamson

“Bob Spain and Joy Emshoff have captured the essence of one of the world's most unique adventures as only those who have endured the thrills, sacrifices, injuries, dangers, heartaches, fatigue-induced hallucinations, fire ants, snakes, and alligators can do. The Texas Water Safari is more than just a grueling, 260-mile canoe race. Bob and Joy point out the passions and perseverance of the participants that motivate hundreds each year to push the limits of their capabilities. As one who has finished 11 Texas Water Safaris’, I can say without equivocation, you will be amazed and entertained by Bob and Joy’s insights into the world’s toughest canoe race.”—Allen Spelce, president, Texas Water Safari
— Allen Spelce

“There are those who step outside their comfortable worlds to venture into the unknown and then there are those who watch from their own discomfort from a muddy, mosquito fogged bank. This book is for both. The Texas Water Safari is one of the oldest well-known secret rites of passage in Texas lore and after more than 60 years, authors and paddlers, Bob and Joy have finally put the legendary race into print. Read it and weep, then perhaps venture over to the San Marcos River during the first Saturday of any June and watch the carnage...or perhaps join the fun!”—West Hansen, 22-year Safari victim and author of The Amazon From Source to Sea: The Farthest Journey Down the World's Longest River
— West Hansen

Product Details
ISBN: 9781648430589
ISBN-10: 1648430589
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Publication Date: April 21st, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English
Series: Pam and Will Harte Books on Rivers, sponsored by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, T