CHASING CANGURO

 

Skirting the coastlines of several Mediterranean countries while recreating the efforts of his grandfather, Harry ‘Canguro’ Luther.

 


“It feels surreal. I feel like I have been in a dream that started over seven years ago”, said an elated Alex Luther.

On Saturday 7th July, Alex Luther and the Chasing Canguro team celebrated their incredible World Record Mediterranean marathon, which finished in Cervia, Italy.

On the evening of Thursday 5th July, Alex reached his objective to break the previously unbeaten World Record set in 1970 by his grandfather, Harry Luther, waterskiing from Tangiers, Morocco, and tracking the Spanish, French, Monaco and Italian coastlines to Pula, Croatia.

It started with faded clippings in an old scrapbook and ended seven years later with an epic waterski marathon across the Mediterranean Sea.

“It feels surreal, I still feel like it’s a dream. I feel like I’ve not only followed in Harry’s footsteps and chased him over the last 10 days, but also created a new journey that maybe one day my family will recreate.” So said Aussie Alex Luther after an endurance marathon that saw him ski an astounding 3699km in a little over 10 days as he skirted the coastlines of several Mediterranean countries while recreating – and bettering – the efforts of his grandfather, Harry ‘Canguro’ Luther.

Thanks to advances in marine technology, such as hull performance and increased fuel capacity, Alex was able to offset the rough sea conditions and adverse weather that slowed him down and may have otherwise threatened to ruin the attempt. These enabled a number of on-the-fly decisions to waterski more offshore and make a number of point-to-point leaps around the Mediterranean coast, which is something his Grandfather Harry would never have been able to do back in 1970.


Preparation was key at every stage of the challenge, with every piece of equipment being checked and rechecked to ensure safety and success at high speeds in varied conditions.
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On day 6 for Leg 1, Jake Kerr joined Alex for the first time to keep him company and break the monotony. Having someone to talk and interact with definitely helped pass the time.

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Time stood still in no man’s land. Having Observer Mitzy Luther, along with Jake Kerr, keeping eyes on Alex and sending encouragement, was critical to keeping Alex motivated and focused on the finish line.

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Taking a break in the middle of The Mediterranean to rest and take the pressure off the body was a brief yet rewarding luxury. This also allowed the team to check in on Alex and provide him with a solid meal.

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On day 7 after 8 hours on the water, the team pushed on late into the day. Jake couldn’t resist but to jump in and join Alex on the ski for one of the most spectacular sunset sessions they have ever experienced.

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On day 6 for Leg 1, Jake Kerr joined Alex for the first time to keep him company and break the monotony. Having someone to talk and interact with definitely helped pass the time.

In the end, he skied a total of 3,571.8 kilometres from Tangiers to Pula in 10 days, then an additional 127.5km in 2 hours and 17 minutes on Saturday 7th July by making a final trip from Pula across the Adriatic sea to Cervia, commemorating the race that first brought Harry to Italy in 1969. The marathon’s full 3,699.3 km included a staggering 11-hour stint, covering 558km in just one leg through rough conditions from Barcelona to Monaco, where he was greeted by H.S.H. Prince Albert II.

In 1970, he entered the Pola-Cervia race that spanned the Adriatic Sea, covering 80 miles (128km). It was Europe’s most popular waterskiing event, and Harry decided to ski the Mediterranean as a warm-up. It turned out the ‘warm up’ would become a world record 3144- mile (5010km) marathon waterski from Tangiers to Cervia. Fresh from this achievement, Harry went on to win the Pola-Cervia race on July 24, 1970, becoming a world champion title holder and setting a record time of one hour, 51 minutes and 15.12 seconds.

Ski history of Canguro


Born in Sydney in 1932, from an early age, Harry Mark Luther showed signs of his competitive nature when, at the age of 19, he rode more than 3000km on a pushbike from Ballina on the NSW north coast to Bendigo in Victoria to compete in a local cycling event.

Harry first skied in his mid-30s and soon fell in love with the sport, transitioning into competition in 1967 at a time when waterskiing was a popular mainstream pastime and sport.

Via Eyachts, Alex made contact with the Finnish manufacturer, detailing his plans to the company’s founder and CEO, Jan-Erik Viitala. “When I explained the plan and what we wanted to achieve, Jan got it straight away,” said Alex. “It made a huge difference to have Axopar as our boat sponsor and they also brought Mercury onboard with the supply of the new V8 Verado 300hp outboards.” With such an epic undertaking ahead of him, Alex was committed to ensuring planning and logistics were as thorough as possible.

Jan-Erik Viitala from Axopar Boats said, "Axopar Boats would like to congratulate Alex and the devoted Chasing Canguro team on their amazing achievement. We would like to commend Alex on his strength and determination throughout the challenge, which is all the more impressive since he only began waterskiing 5 years ago specifically to undertake this quest. We are extremely happy that we were able to support the team by providing a boat as strong as Alex himself is, which we were fully confident would keep him and his crew safe in all conditions, remaining reliable and problem-free throughout the long journey. We wish Alex every success for the future and hope that we have an opportunity to join him again in his future adventures."