At the age of 21 John Cantor set out to achieve the impossible. With no previous experience, this surfer from Noosa Heads, Queensland, set himself the goal of traversing the Brooks Range solo. This 1,600km expedition across arctic Alaska is considered one of the toughest solo expeditions on earth and only four people, all of whom are American, had completed the trip previously. Almost completely devoid of human presence, this environment is full of grizzly bears, wolves and countless other animals.
His goal became a six-year obsession for John as he was defeated by the Brooks Range over three consecutive years. John battled with chronic knee and back injuries, severe anxiety, and huge financial costs, working up to three jobs at a time. Needing a change he took a year off to reassess and take a fresh approach. What John realised in this time was that he had been using blind self-belief as an excuse not to put the amount of work in that was required. He sat down and said to himself 'I can't traverse the Brooks Range; what do I have to do to be able to do it?'
John worked harder then ever and finally returned to Alaska in 2012 to achieve his six-year dream. Not only did he become the first Australian and only the fifth person ever to do this, he set a speed record, crossing the range in 31 and a half days. He averaged 52km/day for the hiking section an 90km/day for the kayaking section.
This journey is now being documented in a book John is writing and will be turned into a feature length documentary with the footage John shot over the six years. He is also travelling domestically and internationally giving motivational talks.
Back home John is now planning his next trip. With friend and fellow adventurer Evan Howard, they plan on competing in the toughest adventure race on earth: The Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic. This race changes its course every three years, but for 2013 it will be run over the most brutal 180 miles the race history has seen. The winning time for this course in 2012 was over four days with only seven entrants finishing. The rules are simple: set off from the start point and reach the finish with no outside help. All food and equipment for the duration of the race must be carried right from the start. John and Evan will be the first Australians to enter the race.
Client Comments for John Cantor
- Today was a fantastic opportunity to introduce our senior students to adventurer John Cantor, especially as they are set to embark on their own post Year 12 challenges in less than two months. He was inspiring and entertaining; what an amazing young man.
Mountain Creek State High School
- John Cantor is the best talent I have ever worked with.
Marc Smith, ABC producer, Australian Story
- Goals You Shouldn't Be Able To Achieve
"I liaised with Nina and Tamie and both were incredibly helpful and supportive in our planning process. They were the ones to initiate a lot of contact to make sure that planning was on track and any questions or queries I had were dealt with promptly."
The Association of Independent Schools of NSW Ltd
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J. Michael Straczynski