Ski History - Chasing Canguro
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.
A chance discovery of a family scrapbook containing clippings of Harry’s waterskiing and other sporting exploits, including his own marathon endurance on the Mediterranean in 1970, was the spark that set his grandson’s imagination alight. Despite hardly knowing Harry – Alex, 37, was born in Africa and only got to meet his grandfather when he visited Perth as a toddler – he found the stories of Harry’s achievements enthralling; so much so that he eventually vowed to take on the same Mediterranean challenge that Harry had completed all those years ago. There was only one slight hurdle to overcome – up until he committed to recreating Harry’s epic skiing adventure, he had never slipped on a waterski. It would prove to be the start of a major learning curve.
“I skied for the first time on the Hawkesbury in 2013,” recalled the Sydney-based finance advisor. But the program soon escalated and it wasn’t long before Alex and a group of friends were competing in major endurance ski races, including the Southern 80 and the Hawkesbury and Grafton Bridge to Bridge events in NSW. It was the perfect training regime for his coming epic effort, providing him with the endurance and stamina he’d need to deal with the gruelling challenges that lay ahead. As planning progressed, Alex met up with accomplished television producer Alan Hogan, who encouraged him to record his preparations and the eventual outcome of his tribute to Harry for a possible documentary – due to be released sometime in the near future. Alex also drafted family into the venture, with his wife Belinda and sister Mitzy donating their time and energy into the planning and running of recreating Harry’s Mediterranean enduro. The choice of a boat was critical to the success of the project and a chance meeting with Dan Jones of Sydney boat brokerage Eyachts was enough to seal the deal.
“We were initially looking at another brand, but Dan said I needed to take a look at the Axopar range he was selling,” explained Alex. “I thought they looked really interesting and then I saw the 37 Sun-Top. It was perfect for what we needed. It had good carrying capacity and didn’t need to be pulled out of the water every day, which was important.”
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.
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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.