Llewellyn, Kreg - 2019
Llewellyn, Kreg - 2019
2019 Water Skiing Athlete, Innisfail
Kreg won his first Provincial Junior Boys Overall Title and then set his first Canadian Junior Boys Trick record in 1979. He became an integral part of the Canadian National Water Ski Team in 1984 and for the next twenty years competed in the Overall events of Slalom, Trick, and Jump. He was Canada’s top skier for three straight years. Kreg set 24 Canadian national records and won 7 individual World Championship medals, 3 Team Canada World Championship gold medals, and 18 Pan American Games medals. He was a natural athlete and an innovator both on and off the water.
Kreg first started water skiing at Sylvan Lake, and Dodd’s Lake - which was located at his hometown of Innisfail. At age six he entered his first tournament, the Alberta Summer Games and began competitive water skiing in the late 1970s. As a junior, and then senior water skier, he had numerous wins and set Canadian Records along the way. In 1984, he joined the National Team for his first World Championship in Sweden. As an Overall skier, he faced the challenges of competing against single-event skiers who were able to train for, and focus on, a single tournament event. His personal best tournament results were 202 feet in Ski Jump and 11,300 points in the Trick event.
Kreg had success at every Major Amateur / Professional Water Ski tournament in the World. The Pan American Games were the ultimate multi-game championship for water skiers, and his success over the years at the Games included 7 gold, 9 silver, and 2 bronze medals. He was a U.S. Masters Trick Champion, two-time U.S. Open Overall and Trick Champion, and a Moomba Masters Overall and Trick Champion. Twice, he was a World Overall silver medalist (at Austria and Colombia), and a World Slalom bronze medalist, in Italy.
Although Water Skiing is an individual sport, Kreg was a role model for his younger brother Jaret, and for the other members on the Canadian team. His fondest memories are of contributing to Team Canada as they won three World Team Titles. In 1991, with an injury to his lower leg that required fifty stitches, he persevered in the individual finals to capture two event medals – and his points helped Team Canada beat the undefeated U.S Team - for the first time since 1949. Kreg’s other World Team titles came in 1993 in Singapore, and in 1999 in Italy.
As an innovator, Kreg was willing to try anything and was constantly redefining moves. He would take tricks that had been hard to accomplish by others, and master them with speed. His flips were done with ease, and his technical adaptations to Step Overs evolved to become the Body Overs that water skiers continue to use as they strive to go bigger and faster. At the 1989 Worlds, he was the first to wear a proto-type speed suit for ski jumping. The speed suit brought a positive change to all disciplines of water skiing. Kreg also helped design and test the first ever Skurfer – which was the precursor to the evolution of wakeboarding. He was the first to perform a back-flip on a wakeboard, and he won the very first World Wakeboard Championships, in Hawaii.
Kreg retired from water skiing in 2001. He was named Canadian Skier of the Year multiple times and was Alberta Skier of the Year from 1985 through 1990. He was inducted into the Canadian Water Ski Hall of Fame in 2006, the Water Ski Alberta Hall of Fame in 2017, and honoured on the Innisfail Wall of Fame.