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Great American Outdoors

Nature

Paddling To Win In Florida’s Everglades!

Humans love to race whether on foot, on horse, by car or by boat!  This particular race through the Everglades is 300 miles of kayaking or canoeing by individual teams with as many as 100 boats participating this year.  Of course there were adventures along the way for the participants, as well as unfriendly weather conditions. Those willing to attempt this endurance race must be ready to face all sorts of condtions as well as emotional and physical obstacles.  The Everglades are a beautiful piece to our world’s natural puzzle.  Most folks only see the ecosystem from a tour guide’s airboat or boardwalk stroll.  Imagine seeing it while riding right on top of the water from beginning to end!

 

“The Everglades Challenge dates back to 2001. Founded by waterman Steve Isaacs, the event has become an iconic test of endurance and tenacity for a growing number of hard-core folks angling for membership in the WaterTribe. Isaacs is “Chief,” and upon registering for their first race, new members must choose a tribe name.”

“In the 17 years since its first iteration, the race has prided itself on running no matter the conditions. It was canceled forcefully by the coast guard in 2015 when winds were so strong they capsized many of the boats near the start. Since then, Chief and the Coast Guard have had an uneasy truce, with an agreement to not start the race during an official USCG Small Craft warning.”

“The race has only three checkpoints along its length, 60-90 miles apart. This allows competitors to choose any number of different routes. Seasoned racers pay attention to every detail of wind, tide, and fetch. Even the location of high-rise beach hotels can create valuable windbreaks in certain sections.”

“For 100 miles, signs of humanity vanish. Cell service is nowhere. Stars (and mosquitos) are everywhere.”

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