The first episode begins with the survivors being stranded on a stretch of beach on the western edge of Galveston Island. Located near the San Luis Pass, the waters are a natural sanctuary for all kinds of aquatic wildlife, such as crabs, fish, rays, and the dangerous bull sharks.
When the game begins, the survivors were separated into two tribes, Akokisa and Karankawa. As the sun began to set over the surf, the survivors received a message in a bottle telling them what their first challenge of the game is. It read:
You'll need to work as a team to build this tripod
Put it together and one of you will hang ten
Don't give up now, you're almost to the end
If you add one more stick and fire a bolt
Into the lead you'll soon catapult
The survivors were told to first build a tripod sturdy enough to hold a carcass of meat over a fire. After completing that task, the teams were then able to build a catapult capable of firing a tennis ball a distance of 10 meters.
Team Karankawa was the first to finish their tripod, passing the test at 3 minutes and 57 seconds. Team Akokisa was over a minute slower, completing their tripod at 5:04. Team Karankawa fired 5 volleys, but none went the required distance. On their second volley, Team Akokisa's ball went the appropriate length, as they won the first event with a total time of 12:39.
The second event was called "Crab in the Pants" and each team earned a point for every crab that they caught. The crabs were launched by three team members at a distance of over 90 feet, and the crab had to be caught in a pair of oversized pajamas. Team Karankawa went first, and all four team members each caught one crab. Only Elian from the Akokisa team managed to catch a crab.
The third event was the Raft Relay. The competition began with Chris and Katie racing out to a buoy in the ocean, where they had to unhook an uninflated raft at the buoy's anchor. Back on the beach, Kathy and Amy dueled each other to inflate the raft in the shortest time possible. Team Karankawa took the lead during this time and never let go of the lead. After carrying James 25 meters down the beach around two buoys anchored in the ocean, Karankawa won the event in 7 minutes and 40 seconds. Akokisa finished the course 37 seconds later.
The next event was a 3-set volleyball match. Karankawa won the first set 10-5, but Akokisa won the next two sets 10-8, 10-5.
The beach biathlon was the first individual event, where contestants had to run a lap around an ocean buoy and then throw frisbees at two targets, and then run the course and throw at the targets again. Each missed frisbee added 15 seconds to the survivors' time. James won the event, completing the course in 54 seconds and missing two targets. Kelly took second, running the course in 1:09 and missing two targets, while Elian, despite missing three targets, finished third. Kathy was the only survivor to miss all four targets and finished last in the event with a total time of 2:22.
The next event tested the survivors ability to find seashells. By virtue of not returning to the starting point in the alloted six minutes, Kathy (10 oz.) and Elian (12 oz.) were disqualified from the event. Katie took second in the event, collecting 1 pound, 14 ounces of seashells. Jenny's extra ounce of effort in the event helped her win the event with a weight of 1 pound, 15 ounces, just shy of two pounds. Aside from Jenny and Katie, none of the other survivors had collected a pound of shells.
The next event was an eating challenge, as each survivor had to eat a bag of goldfish and one "Slim Jim". Jenny, who at first appeared to be going very slowly, won the event with a time of 3 minutes and 1 second. James was second with a time of 3:28. Elian and Katie did not finish the event
The next event tested the survivors' ability to remember details of a story about the 1900 storm. Amy was able to answer all nine questions correctly and win the event, followed by Katie and Chris. Elian and Kathy each missed four of the questions and finished last.
The first round ended with the following point totals:
Amy: 31 points
Jenny: 29 points
Katie: 25 points
Kelly: 23 points
Chris: 22 points
Kathy: 13 points
Elian: 8 points
With the fewest points earned, Kathy and Elian were the first to be eliminated from Survivor-Galveston.