The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame class of 2019. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame class of 2019. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Legendary Innisfail water skier Kreg Llewellyn dies at 52

Kreg Llewellyn was a figure larger than life, say those who knew him.

Llewellyn, 52, died in Texas on July 7.

Although the cause of death is not known, his brother Jaret, honoured Kreg with a touching tribute on Facebook earlier this week.

Jaret explained that the family believes a head injury Kreg suffered a few months ago led to some trying times for the multi-time Canadian water ski champion and Alberta Hall of Fame member.

“Through his faith in Christ and his selfless personality, Kreg always wanted to help others and always took their pain upon his shoulders, which in his current state, magnified his struggles,” Jaret wrote in the post.

“Without a familiar coping mechanism, Kreg was caught in a mental haze. Even though Kreg was searching and fighting for answers, he always tried to protect his loved ones from having to share his burden. Kreg was the strongest person I have ever known and I will miss him every day.”

Kreg, who grew up in Innisfail, held 24 Canadian water skiing records, won seven world championship medals and claimed 18 Pan American medals.

“Kreg was my hero and an inspiration to so many around the world. Anyone who had the privilege to know Kreg could see he had a huge heart, because he wore it on his sleeve,” Jaret noted in his post.

“Kreg will always be the most talented athlete I have ever seen, not only on the water, but in any sport you asked him to try. During the height of the professional tour, Kreg was the most dominant male multi-event skier.”

The talented water skiier was not only a record-setter, but also an innovator. He was one of the first people to design and test a Skurfer, which led to the evolution of wakeboarding.

He also won the first-ever World Wakeboard Championship in Hawaii. He was elected into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame on May 31, 2019.

At the induction ceremony just down the road from where he first learned to waterski in Sylvan Lake, Kreg was wowed by the list of inductees.

“This is my first time here. My first impression was ‘wow.” Walking around and seeing some of the legends… just to be able to be mentioned with them (is special),” Kreg said at the time, adding he was excited about the prospects of waterskiing in Canada and how much it had grown since he started.

“To talk about the sport of waterskiing, I haven’t been able to do that too much… waterskiing compared to hockey is not quite the same level… it’s a pretty amazing time to be a waterskiier right now and to even go out and watch it, it’s the best time to start.”

The Llewellyn family is planning a service in Texas on Saturday and is also hoping to have a celebration at his training grounds at Dodd’s Lake in Innisfail, when COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted.

“Although our family is struggling through this difficult time, we truly appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from every corner of the world.

“All of the stories and the uplifting moments others have shared about Kreg have been heartwarming to all of us,” Jaret said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Man killed in two-vehicle collision near Penhold, says Blackfalds RCMP

A 46-year-old man is dead following a two-vehicle collision on Highway 42… Continue reading

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Canada's top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue mounting in much of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers

Canada’s top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track… Continue reading

Hay’s Daze: Giraffe knows filling wishes can sometimes be a tall order

Last weekend, I had a lovely breakfast. “So what?” you may say.… Continue reading

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says tonight's public video gaming session with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is about reaching young people where they hang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP leader stoked over ‘epic crossover’ in video gaming sesh with AOC

Singh and AOC discussed importance of universal pharmacare, political civility, a living wage

A south view of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf breaking apart is seen from Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut, in an Aug. 20, 2011, handout photo. The remote area in the northern reach of the Nunavut Territory, has seen ice cover shrink from over 4 metres thick in the 1950s to complete loss, according to scientists, during recent years of record warming. Scientists are urging the federal government to permanently protect a vast stretch of Canada's remotest High Arctic called the Last Ice Area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CEN/Laval University, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Scientists urge permanent protection of Last Ice Area in Canada’s High Arctic

Tuvaijuittuq has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $55 million Lotto Max jackpot

No winning ticket was sold for the $55 million jackpot in Friday… Continue reading

Most Read