Exclusive Interview with Jobe ski icon Glenn Thurlow!

10 November 2009
Glenn Thurlow is one of Jobe’s old time greatest skiers. Glenn is one of the ski icons who made Jobe worlds’ leading ski brand in the early 80’s. He will always be remembered as the first man to jump over 200ft. In March 1983 Glenn overcame the 200 foot jump mark with a record-setting leap of 61.57m or 202ft. An outstanding achievement for that time. He jumped with wooden skis and used wooden ramps and the distance was not beaten for another six years, only when the skis and ramps were made of fibreglass.

We spoke with Glenn recently and didn’t want to withhold you the result of this conversation.

Hi Glenn, how are things going these days?
I’m doing really fine, thank you.

You are a well known man in the ski scene. Are you still involved into the ski sport?
I retired from competition in 1990 I think. I was involved in administration of the sport in Australia for a long time, maybe 20 years. I was National coaching director and a National selector as well as other duties but for the last couple of years had little involvement.

Please describe your personal highlights of your ski career?
I have 2 standout highlights. The first was being the first person to jump over 200 feet (61.5mts) and having the world record, and the other was being the only male to win all 3 events at our National titles in the same year, 1981 I think.

Which evolutions did the ski sport go through since your time as skier?
The first was going from wooden skis very early in my career to the introduction of fibreglass. This was a huge advancement at the time. Others were the introduction of electronic timing and electronic measurement of jump distances. Another was the advancement of the professional aspect of the sport and the introduction of the pro tour and prize money on a large scale. We have seen a lot more, but these are the ones that stand out for me.

Were you able to focus yourself full time on skiing, or was the sport not professional enough yet?
It wasn’t until the last few years of my career that I felt like I earned enough money from skiing to just ski, and by then I was more motivated for life after skiing and setting myself up in business. Up until then I used to run my own ski schools in Australia to help fund my skiing career as well as work at ski schools in my off season in the USA to fund my training over there.

You were the first man to ever jump 200 feet. How did you feel coming into the ramp on this jump?
I first jumped 200ft. at the Moomba Masters event in 1983. I had been training well leading up to this event and jumping consistently around this mark in practice. I knew exactly what I had to do and had gone through it over and over again in my mind for several weeks prior to the event. As soon as I turned for the jump I knew that I had done all the hard work to get me where I was that day, and as I started accelerating towards the jump and lifting off the end, I knew it would be 200ft.

Which elements were the key elements to your success?
In the early days I would have to say a very supportive family. We all know that to go skiing we need a driver, observer and preferably a coach. My family helped in all these areas and were always available whenever I had the opportunity to go skiing. I was very fortunate to have an older sister that was equally as competitive as myself to train with. Water skiing in Australia has always had fantastic people that have administered all aspects of the sport and they have played a major role in the success of the sport here in Australia.

You skied many years on a Jobe ski. How can you describe your relation with the Jobe brand?
My relationship with Jobe started in about 1980 I think and remained strong even after my skiing days. I consider Jeff Jobe a good friend of mine and I still catch up with him and stay in contact. The Jobe brand has always been strong in Australia and Europe and I would like to think that in some way I helped to achieve this.

What’s your feeling with the brand nowadays?
I’ve had a long association with Jobe that started in about 1980 as a sponsored athlete, and in about 1985 I took over the Australian distribution of the product, and continued this business for over 20 years and eventually selling the business in about 2006. I attribute a lot of the success I’ve had both on and off the water to Jeff Jobe.

Back to the ski sport again. These days we know different styles of slalom skiing like the ‘’west coast style’’ to run a slalom course. What was your way to run the course?
When I was skiing I used the “Aussie” style which basically meant do what ever you possibly can to get around the next buoy. Sometimes this style looked good and other times not so good.

What is the biggest difference between the old Jobe spectra V and the new Jobe Encore in your opinion?
To be honest, I haven’t seen the new Encore or skied on it. The Spectra V was designed and built around 25 years ago and ski design has had some major advances and come a long way since then.

What’s your all time favourite spot for skiing?
If you are talking about tournament ski sites then I would probably have to say the Moomba Masters site right in the middle of Melbourne. The water conditions were never easy there and sometimes favoured the brave, but to ski in front of a screaming crowd of in excess of 200,000 people is something to experience.

Anything left to say Glenn?
Waterskiing is a great family sport. I’ve always said that it keeps families together and helps to keep young kids away from trouble. It is a lot of fun participating at any level you choose and a great way to make new friends. I owe a lot to waterskiing. It has given me the opportunity to travel the world and make new friends in places that I never thought I’d go to, but most importantly, it has been responsible for teaching me the skills that I need to make the right decisions in life.

I want to thank your for your time Glenn. Bye!