Tour du Teche 135 is an annual race for canoes, kayaks, pirogues (the traditional Cajun canoe), and SUP’s along the entire length of Bayou Teche in southwestern Louisiana, a total of 135 miles including small sections of Bayou Courtableau and the Atchafalaya River. It’s a three-day staged race beginning the first Friday in October.
There are two classes of Tour du Teche 135: Pro Race, in which some of the fastest boats and paddlers from around the world vie for cash prizes; and Voyageur Race, or recreational, where the participants challenge themselves as well as each other for trophies, bragging rights and adventure. Voyageurs may opt for shorter races held in conjunction with Tour du Teche 135.
Tour du Teche 135 was begun in 2010 with the dual purpose of introducing the beautiful Teche Country to paddlers and other eco-tourists from beyond and to illustrate for its residents the recreational, aesthetic, cultural and economic value of Bayou Teche. Since the race’s inception, these two groups, visitors and local folk, have met and mingled in happy expositions of music and cuisine that give Tour du Teche 135 it’s reputation as moveable party as well as a tough series of paddle marathons.
C’est pas juste une course!
A 7.7 mile race for kayaks, canoes, pirogues, and SUP’s from Leonville to Arnaudville in St. Landry Parish.
A 20 mile race for kayaks, canoes, pirogues, and SUP’s from New Iberia to Charenton through the parishes of Iberia and St. Mary. The race begins in beautiful New Iberia City Park and ends on the Chitimacha Reservation.
An 8 mile race for kayaks and canoes with Prize money for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in each class. The race is loop course that starts and ends at the same location, Morey Park in Patterson, La.
This race starts with the Tour de la Riviere Rouge and 410 de Louisiana Races, but you race only the first 24 miles. This race goes from Teague Boat Launch in Bossier City to Bishop Point Boat Launch. The race begins at 9:00 am and you must be done by 5:00 PM to be eligible for awards.
This is an adventurers’ race, 275 miles from Bossier City to Port Barre inside of 129 hours, down the Red and Atchafalaya rivers to Krotz Springs, motor portage to Bayou Courtableau for the final leg of this race. Unlike Tour du Teche 135, there are no check points, no mandatory stops, and racers have the option to portage around or lock through the five dams on the Red River. Teams must have a coureur de bois and must employ a SPOT Tracker. Begins at 9 a.m. the Saturday before the start of Tour du Teche 135 and ends with a 6 p.m. deadline on the Thursday before TDT 135.
To compete in the 410 (miles!) de Louisiane, racers must finish the 275-mile, round-the-clock Tour de la Rivière Rouge within 129 hours (see Race 10) and the 135-mile Tour du Teche (Race 1) from Port Barre to Berwick. Louisiane racers must comply with the rules of Rivière Rouge when on that segment and with the rules of TDT 135 when in that segment of the race. Both segments must be completed by the same team in the same boat. Because of the varying conditions and the sheer length, this is one of the toughest paddle races in the country.
Tour du Teche has been an economic engine for communities along Bayou Teche, a regional tourist attraction, and an effective program for promoting and protecting the bayou as a natural and cultural resource. Since the race began, Bayou Teche has been designated a National Paddle Trail by the U.S. Park Service and a National Water Trail by the U.S. Interior Department. The Chitimacha Nation has built a new park on the bayou. There are two commercial kayak liveries on the Teche, and government-funded kayak launch pads at various spots. The colorful boats are much more in evidence, in the water and on roof racks, and with them come a high grade of tourists, well-heeled and ecologically sensitive.
Locals, too, are taking more pride in Bayou Teche. The TECHE Project (www.techeproject.org), which spawned the Tour du Teche, conducts periodic clean-ups of the bayou. The City of St. Martinville has created a bayou-side park as a venue for festivals as well as a finish/start for the Tour. The Town of Leonville built a launch ramp that has become a focal point of the town. The City of Berwick has turned the Tour du Teche finish into its annual festival.
The Red River race adds a whole new dimension in terms of challenge, culture and heritage.
We’re linking the old steamboat towns together again.