Texas Water Safari

Specializing in coaching individuals and teams for the Texas Water Safari.
What do we suggest to finish this race? (See under the video)

The Texas Water Safari. The “world’s toughest canoe race” is held annually the second weekend of June each summer, beginning in beautiful San Marcos, Texas and ending in Seadrift. You’ll be given 100 hours to complete the 260 mile long course. The prize for winning is nothing more than a small patch and a trophy you have to return the following year.

Check out this two video on the Texas Water Safari.


Numerous teams in the Texas Water Safari, including the girls on this video took lessons from Paddle With Style.

See “Rental” tab for our 3 month canoe rental plan for the Water Safari.

See bottom of the page for TWS Novice students stats.

Suggested Training Schedule for the Texas Water Safari

The following is based on 8 years of experience training people to finish the Water Safari with excellent results. Remember this recommendation is for a good finish, not a win. We can help you win too, but the training schedule will differ from the one below.  This does NOT guarantee you will finish but greatly increases your chances.

Two of the most common mistakes we see in novice paddlers:
1) Lack of understanding and preparation for the challenge of the race.
2) Too much time training in the gym without paddling. Spending time in your boat is crucial for a successful finish.


We can provide you with the tools to finish, but it’s up to you to put in the work and have the determination to finish. Good Luck!

Suggestion Lessons

1 – Crash course / Intro to racing
2 –  Follow up
3 – Down River I
4 – Down River II
5 –  Private river run

Allow one or two weeks to practice on your own prior to taking a follow up lesson to receive the greatest benefit. Classes can be substituted for private lessons.

FALL PRIOR (year before racing)

  • Go paddle on your own in any canoe or kayak. Catch the “safari bug.”
  • Check your resources and start reading about the race.
  • Watch some of the fall races and meet some people. See what it’s all about. Try a race just for fun!
  • Talk to your adventure seeking friend, who doesn’t easily give up, about the idea of racing together.
  • Get a lesson if possible. CRASH COURSE from Paddle With Style 


  • Ask for an appropriate canoe and ZRE paddle for Christmas.
  • Paddle and practice when convenient (at least 4 times). Discover strengths and weakness.
  • Prepare your family on the time commitment it will take to race
  • Follow up lesson – Depending on your skill will depend if you need a private lesson or a down river.


Check List 

  • Choose your canoe for the race. If needed, secure a rental and start using it!
    • We offer rentals specifically for the Safari. Boats rigged and ready to go.  Rentals are for extended period of time because we believe you need to practice for this race. 
  •  If needed, get on a good diet and start dropping those extra pounds.
  • Attend a free Texas Water Safari Seminar.
  • Get a paddling lesson or two.


  • Every week:Paddle once a week for 1.5 hours focusing on technique.
  • 3 times a week for 30 minutes: Cardio (walk/run/etc)
  • Weekends:
    – Weekend 1: Off
    – Weekend 2: 25-35 miles on local water
    – Weekend 3: Off
    – Weekend 4: First Official River Trip! Hochheim-Cheapside  (24 miles)
  • Try to make the town lake races. It a great place to meet people and learn more about the sport while building your speed.


Check List

  • Get spray skirt made for your boat, if needed. (earlier is possible)
  • Buy lights.
  • Test foods during training runs.
  • Rig boat! Set up pumps, bags, and jug foam in boat.
  • Take down river paddling lesson. Learn to work with the current.
  • Down River lesson


  • Every week:Paddle once a week for 1.5 hours focusing on technique.
  • 3 times a week for 30 minutes: Cardio and weights
  • Weekends:

– Weekend 1: Off
– Weekend 2: River Run from Gonzo-Hochheim (36 miles)
– Weekend 3: 20-25 miles on local water
– Weekend 4: River Run from San Marcos-Fentress (25 miles)


Check List

  • Test lights.
  • Test spray skirt.
  • Test clothes.
  • Test food.
  • Test everything!
  • Practice your training runs like you want to race.
  • Private River Run Lesson


  • Every week:Paddle once a week for 1-2 hours. Focus on technique and add in some intervals and time trials.
  • 3 times a week for 30 minutes: Cardio and weights
  • Weekends:

– Weekend 1: Off
– Weekend 2: River Run from Fentress-Palmetto (36 miles)
– Weekend 3: 20-25 miles on local water
– Weekend 4: On Saturday morning, River Run from San Marcos-Staples (16 miles); rest; on Saturday NIGHT paddle from Palmetto-Gonzo 183 (25 miles)

  • Try to make a couple of the MAC races, but don’t let it replace your distance training.


Check List

  • Make race check list.
  • Buy items still needed on that list.
  • Meet with Team Captains and review their duties and course.
  • Paddle at night one weeknight on local water.


  • Every week:Paddle twice a week for 1-2 hours. Focus on technique and add in some intervals and time trials .
  • 3 times a week for 30 minutes: Cardio and weights
  • Weekends:

– Weekend 1: On Saturday, RACE from Cuero-Victoria (32 ish mile)
Weekend 1: On Sunday, River Run from Victoria 59-Sea Drift (51 ish miles)
– Weekend 2: River Run from San Marcos-Luling Dam (45 ish miles)
– Weekend 3: Off
– Weekend 4: River Run, this is open for what is needed most


  • Continue mid-week training.
  • Make sure to rest a few days leading up to the race.
  • Test and pre-pack your boat. Know where everything is located.
  • Meet with your Team Captain. Make sure they know the drill, where they are driving and the importance of their job. Buy them dinner!



2019 Texas Water Safari Novice
San Marcos    ,  Luling     ,  Hochheim   CFS,  Victoria 397CFS, Sea Drift winds; minimal.
*102 High, *78 low

38 Novice teams started 
32 Finished
6   Did not


25 teams took lessons from PWS
22 teams that tool lessons completed the race. Including 2nd and 3rd place notice.

2  Did not finish, following the recommended training schedule

12 teams did not take lesson
Of the 12 teams,
7 Completed the race, including 1st place novice.
4 did not complete the race. 

2018  Texas Water Safari Novice
  San Marcos 133,  Luling 118 CFS,  Hochheim 383 CFS,  Victoria 397CFS, Sea Drift winds 15-19 MPH winds.   *97 High, *74 low

32 Novice teams started
10  Did not finish
22  Teams completed the race

19 Took lessons from Paddle With Style
Out of these 19 teams:
16 Completed the race. Including 1st, 2nd and 3rd novice place.
3  Did not finish, 2 of those did not come close to following the recommended training schedule

13 teams did not take lessons 
Out of those 13 teams
6 Completed the race
7 Did not finish