Trying to keep my head above water

A paddler in the 2012 Texas Water Safari struggles to keep above water at Rio Vista Falls. More than 80 teams will try their luck in the 2013 installment, which marks the 51st year of the Texas Water Safari (Photo by Ashley Landis).

Nobody knows more about the Texas Water Safari than John Bugge and Allen Spelce. Bugge finished more Safaris than any other paddler in the history of the race and Spelce is president on the Board of Directors.

When Bugge or Spelce talk — and you’re involved in the Water Safari, like I am — you listen. With that said, maybe what Spelce told me Wednesday afternoon wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear just three days before I put in with Emma Stubbings, a 22-year-old bartender from England on behalf of an unnamed British observational documentary.

“You’re getting in over your head,” said Spelce, after I informed him of my previous paddling experience. “It can be very challenging.”

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