Team members: Roger Mann
Hometown: Taylors, South Carolina, USA
Race vessel: PodRacer
Human propulsion: Pedal
R2AK Cred: First solo team to complete the R2AK (2015), two time finisher (2015, 2017)
Connect: website, facebook, instagram
DNS, because even monkeys run out of gas. Look, this race isn’t easy. Even to get to the start line. Boy’s gotta pay the rent so no Mann this year. Best laid plans, etc., etc. Hope to see you soon, Roger.
We’re leaving the bio because it’s awesome. And it took like 18 hours to write and precipitated a near divorce. And it’s awesome.
It’s a universal truth that Roger Mann would kill at the game two truths and a lie. His stories:
- Roger holds the highland games record for Sheaf Toss (masters division)
- He’s used a parachute to save his life (twice)
- Learned to plow using a mule at the age of 13
We take it back. Roger would suck at that game, those are all true.
While he’s just generally impressive, Roger went into folk hero orbit when he soloed the R2AK in 2015. Roger didn’t win the race, but that’s only because he was doing something more impressive than grabbing the fastest boat and getting there first. After setting a record or three in the east coast’s various Watertribe Challenges, he cocked his head to the north, launched his boat and soloed the whole way to Ketchikan on a Hobie Adventure Island—17 feet of red, rotomolded glory. Through unprecedented physical exertion and sheer force of will he bested the elements, passed larger and faster teams, and finished mid-pack as the first and fastest solo finish in R2AK’s short history.*
Roger didn’t win the first R2AK—he owned it.
Tales of his campaign fast became legend. The capsize, being swept from his boat in 8-foot waves in Seymour Narrows, cutting the legs off of his water-filled drysuit to free himself from the surf that pinned him under wave after near drowning wave, the other capsize, the sheer grit.
“I was so cold everyday, so cold that my eyes hurt.”
Most would have kissed the beach at the finish line, listened to their loved ones, and walked off with enough memories and pride to last them through the creamed corn and adult diapers of their declining years. Not Roger: he signed up again in 2016… but a car breakdown thwarted his bid for the starting line.
So he signed up again in 2017 on a home built trimaran, successfully started and thematically replicated the harrowing vision quest of 2015—hallucinations, hypothermia, and complete exhaustion. When he arrived in Ketchikan he looked like he had just exhaled his soul through his eyes, the human equivalent of a balloon on the floor five days after the party.
So he signed up again in 2018, but cancelled because he was on standby for an adventure-based reality TV show. (we can’t make this stuff up)
So he signed up again in 2019. This time on something built for and proven by the R2AK—a PodRacer of his own cobbling, based extensively on the the LiteRace 1X-360: 20 feet of French-designed finesse and Sam Manuard fantasy, designed for the big seas and ready to le fight. The LiteRace is fast, cruising at a steady 5 – 6.5 knots. In Mann like fashion he’s modded the rig with a couple of amas and what he says is the world’s first asymmetrical, reversible, “shape shifting,” soft, 360-degree rotating wing sail. The thing looks cool, fast, and in light air as if it could be powered by the apparent wind of exhaled souls.
Welcome back to the R2AK Team Discovery. Faster boat, two more years of training, Roger is a team to watch for bonkers accomplishments at the edge of adventure. Dial 9-1-and let your finger hover. This is going to be epic.
*(current solo record held by Team PT Watercraft, by all reports racing again in 2019.)