The Amazing Race mantra is often "never give up," but three teams didn't get the memo on the Season 22 premiere. After hours of searching through 400 sandcastles for a clue to no avail, newlyweds Max and Katie, country singers Caroline and Jennifer, and firefighters Matt and Daniel agreed to quit the Roadblock and take a four-hour penalty so they could move on to the next task and start on even ground to stay in the Race. Unfortunately for the firefighters, it was a bad call, as the next task was to row to the Pit Stop in a tiny Bora Bora canoe called a va'a that could not handle their weight. "The other teams probably didn't weight 100 pounds with both of them in it," Daniel tells TVGuide.com. "It was 600 pounds between me and Matt and a French guy [in the boat with us]." Still, the two insist that they don't regret throwing in the towel.
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Is the firehouse giving you a hard time?
Daniel: Those guys would've given us a hard time if we had finished second. They would've given us a hard time about what we spent the $1 million on if we won. [Laughs] We could never win with them.
Matt: They're a tough crowd to please.
How far behind were you?
Daniel: We weren't that far behind at all. The way they showed it, when they split the screen, we could still see them in front of us and we kept getting closer, but when we fell over that second time, we knew it was over then.
Matt: The first time, we were in the lead. Before we could get back in our canoe, the guy in the back with us had a little soup can with him and we was scooping water out so we could get back in, so we were trying to help him. That's when Max and Katie passed us. Then we got back in and paddled and we flipped again, and both were way out our reach.
Do you regret quitting? You seemed really confident you could beat them canoeing because of your strength, which turned out to be your downfall.
Daniel: No. Once you got done with the sandcastles, the next challenge was 50 yards down the beach and we could see it was canoeing. At the time, we were convinced that A) we could build this canoe faster than they can and B) we could row this thing to Phil and be sitting in ninth place. We would've made this decision 100 times over again. All of our friends and family were like, "Yeah, that was a great decision."
Matt: I was watching Daniel from the sideline. There were 400 sandcastles and only three of them had clues left. He was taking five minutes to build a sandcastle, so in my head, I was like, "He's going to build 12 sandcastles in an hour and he's going to have 400 eventually." There was just no way. They asked us once and we shrugged it off and said let's keep digging. Then they came back, Daniel said, "We can canoe." It was pretty funny watching it on TV. We're pretty good canoers. We've been on plenty of canoe trips. We're confident swimming and canoeing, so we got beat at our own game.
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How long were you at the sandcastles before you decided to quit?
Daniel: I'm thinking we were there six hours, counting the canoe. We kind of lost track of time, but you could tell by looking at the sun. When the first few teams jumped out of the plane, that was, like, 9 a.m. and by the time we were eliminated, the sun was setting.
Did you really think you couldn't find the clue in four hours? Were you digging deep enough? It seemed like the clues were underneath the sandcastles, not in them.
Daniel: I wasn't digging deep enough to find the clue. That's the thing. I didn't read my clue, so I would've never found it. That's my fault. So quitting for us, even watching it on TV, moving on to the next challenge was our best option.
Once you take a penalty, are you not allowed to go back on it? Like after you tipped over, could you have gone back to the sandcastles?
Daniel: I don't think so and that wasn't our plan. ... None of the three of us were willing to take the penalty and leave without the other teams. One of the three could've knocked over the sandcastle and found the clue and left us, so we agreed we all had to quit. I also don't think any of us wanted to go back to the sandcastles. [Laughs]
Some fans are annoyed that you guys quit. What do you have to say to them?
Daniel: When we started this whole process, that was the one thing we said we'd never do. We didn't want to quit and be that team. After doing it and after being part of it, I think quitting was the best option for us.
Matt: I think each of the three teams had more than likely knocked over a sandcastle that had a clue under it, but they weren't digging deep enough to find the clue, so they were just building sandcastles on top of the clues and they were marking them off to say they already checked that one. Once they realized that every single one had been checked and they were going to have to check them all again because they weren't digging deep enough, we all realized that it was going to be, like, 10 more hours. We had a three-in-400 chance to stay if we kept searching. By quitting, we had a one-in-three chance.
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What are you guys up to now?
Matt: Back in the firehouse and now we're just going to watch this season and cheer everyone on.
No more canoeing?
Daniel: We'll still go canoeing, but no more sandcastles!
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