ON A MUGGY morning on the Fijian island of Viti Levu, survival-TV icon Bear Grylls stands on the banks of the Wainibokasi River. Below him, 264 adventure racers from 30 countries sit restlessly in traditional camakau outrigger canoes. Cameras are filming from the ground, on the water, and in the air (with multiple drones and helicopters). Grylls— wearing a daypack with a big knife lashed to its side, just because—counts down the start in his unmistakable accent.
“Five! Four! Three! Two! One! Go!” The river explodes with chaos as paddlers dig their blades into the green water. One boat flips, then another. A pileup ensues. Grylls stares into the camera and beams: “The world’s toughest race is underway.”
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