Gábor Rakonczay sets new record on the Danube

Extreme athlete sets record for the fastest kayaker to complete the Hungarian stretch of the Danube

Paddling for 57 hours and 48 minutes, Gábor Rakonczay has set a verified record on the Hungarian stretch of the Danube – a distance never before achieved in such a short time by kayak. The multi-day extreme kayak tour organised upon Yettel’s initiative was made difficult by changeable weather and sometimes unexpectedly strong waves, which required immense concentration from the athlete, especially at night. He spent only 5 to 10 minutes at refreshment points every few hours to relax and slept for a total of only 1 hour and 15 minutes during the nearly 58-hour challenge.

Edit Kovács, the Mayor of Dunakiliti, also attended the launch of the tour at 2:22 p.m. on 17 February  and wished Gábor good luck. The team used several online smart devices to follow Rakonczay's journey, organise the necessary supplies and prepare the planned refreshment points. In the first 5 hours, Gábor managed to shave 40 minutes off the planned time on a technical but fast stage. In the evening, wind got stronger, and during the night – at the town of Esztergom – the suddenly increasing western crosswind made big waves that even swept over the kayak. One of these waves twisted the 530 cm long kayak capsizing Gábor in the middle of the night. He managed to pull the boat to the riverbank and, changing his soaked clothes, paddled to the next refreshment point wearing only a layer of windscreen. Here, he dried off and warmed up in the escort bus and immediately continued his journey.

He planned his first sleep in the southern part of Budapest at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, but after a night of adventures he decided to continue paddling during the day as long as he could. In the end, he completed the entire journey without a long sleep, that is, taking only three 15-minute naps, and one 30-minute nap. On the second day, from dawn onwards, he had to cope with strong headwinds of up to 70 km/h. In the last 120-km leg of the journey, he only took refreshment breaks, so he arrived in Mohács 10 minutes after midnight on Sunday, after 57 hours and 48 minutes of paddling, where he was welcomed by the local “Busós” on the riverbank.

Gábor's progress could be followed online during the challenge and you can still check his exact times and locations on the website Maraboo.run. The team used several smart devices to ensure the success of the tour. They relied on Yettel’s network to follow the route on the river, and to provide online access to Gábor and the Explorers team accompanying him by bus throughout the challenge.

Duna stream


“When I accepted Yettel’s invitation, I thought the Danube was a long and boring river, but the experience was like in an action movie all the way: you had to keep your focus constantly, the river is full of surprises. But we did it”, said Gábor Rakonczay after paddling for nearly 58 hours.

About the background of the record attempt – Yettel x Rakonczay Duna stream

Gábor Rakonczay, two-time Guinness World Record holder and multiple ocean-crossing seaman, who has been to Greenland and Antarctica, regularly undertakes extreme challenges of several hundreds of kilometres and has crossed Hungary twice running. In February 2023, he decided to set a new record paddling in a single kayak across the Hungarian stretch of the Danube. The inspiration for the challenge which has later turned into a record attempt came from the character of the Danube boat captain in Yettel’s recent commercial. This figure gave the mobile operator the idea to reach out to Gábor Rakonczay and invite him for the challenge.