Archive for the ‘Keith St. Onge’ Category

St. Onge At the Wisconsin Water Ski Convention and Expo

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

If you’re itching for some barefoot instruction in the middle of winter, head up to the Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells this weekend for the 2012 Wisconsin Water Ski Convention and Expo. Two-time World Barefoot Champion, Keith St. Onge will be giving workshops on barefoot instruction (beginners to advanced), goal setting, cross training, surface turns and more. There’s also a session highlighting the Women’s Barefoot Week at the World Barefoot Center.

On-site registration begins Friday, February 24, 1:00 p.m. CST at the Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells.

For more information, contact: Cathy Luiting (608) 290-4340.

Wisconsin Water Ski Federation/Water Ski Convention and Expo

Photo credit: Distinctive Photography by Dale

USA Suits

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

*New for 2012*

KSO Wetsuits has just come out with the design for this year’s upcoming USA barefoot suits. The design will be available to the public and worn by members of the World Championship Team. These suits feature the latest designs and cuts for optimum skiing comfort and performance. This model features a patriotic blend of red, white and blue color panels with star and stripe graphics stretching across the suit. There are traditional style cinches on each leg. The padding is wrap-around style for the torso to ensure there are no vulnerable spots and, unlike past models, the back upper and lower body pads are formed from one piece to reduce seams. Call (863)877-0039 or E-Mail wbcbarefoot@gmail.com to pre-order yours today! Sizes available include: XS, S, M, XL, XXL.

Dave Ramsey helping out the World Barefoot Center

Friday, January 6th, 2012

After reading Dave Ramsey’s book EntreLeadership, many things he shared in his book sunk deep into my slowly maturing mind.  I figured since he listened to me during a few clinics I hosted with him, why not listen to him?  All kidding aside, Dave did everything I told him during the barefoot waterskiing clinic even when I knew he did not want to. He accomplished great things on the water as a result.  I also do the things Dave preaches on his website, live events and his books, even though saving money can be difficult.  He trusts me and I trust him.

After reading about “Mission Statements” in EntreLeadership, I introduced the idea to my team at the World Barefoot Center.  Our business has grown immensely in under three years and now that we had a solid foundation, it was time to create a mission statement.

Dave Ramsey and World Champion Keith St.Onge Barefoot Water Skiing

Should we have had a “Mission Statement” from the beginning?  Yes.  As a small business in its early stages, it would have been great to have from the beginning to keep everyone focused.  If we would have had a statement, I’m positive it would have changed us, as we were being pulled in many different directions during the beginning years.  A Mission Statement would have given us direction and motivation.  When everyone is looking in the same direction with the same task and goals at hand, you have a powerful ship moving full steam ahead.  That’s what a Mission Statement does.

We decided to all write a mission statement within a few days; meet again and share our ideas with one another.  Our master writer, AJ Porreca, took our statements and wrote several models using various sentences we provided.  We all gave our opinions on what we liked and did not like and finally came up with our “Mission Statement” for the World Barefoot Center.  I can truly say I am proud to be a part of a TEAM that represents our “Mission!”  We believe in our mission statement so much we are going to paint it on the wall of the ski school:

“To build champions on and off the water, show commitment to the improvement of our students beginner to advanced and utilize our business as a catalyst to ignite passion and growth within the sport.”

As I pass the book, EntreLeadership, to my team to read, I look forward to practicing what Dave preaches.  Just as my students at the WBC ski school trust in me to practice what I preach.

Thank you for your guidance and friendship, Dave!

By: Keith St.Onge

World Barefoot Center Figure 8 Series

Friday, December 30th, 2011

The 2011 year for figure eight barefooting was more exciting than ever.  From Peter Flecks dominance of Footstock, to 4 different winners in the 4 individual events that make up the World Barefoot Center Figure Eight Series, which ultimately ended with a tie between Keith St Onge and Ron Blouw for the series championship.  What follows is a recap of the WBC figure eight series events from 2011.

The WBC figure eight series started in June at Footapalooza in Rolling Prairie Indiana.  26 footers participated and Marc Donahue started 2011 where he left off in 2010, by winning the event over Keith St Onge.  In the first run of the finals, Marc and Keith completed 3 and ½ 8’s, which ended up being the longest run of the day, when Keith beat Marc to give them each one loss.  Marc turned back around and beat Keith on the run off after 2 and ½ 8’s.  JJ Link took third with Ben Dieser a strong fourth, followed by Ron Blouw in fifth.  The event takes place on a private lake and the view is spectacular from the shore.  This is a great venue for a figure eight event.

JJ Link, Marc Donahue, Keith St.Onge

JJ Link , Marc D, Keith St Onge,

The next stop in the series was the Glen Meuller Figure Eight Challenge that takes place in St Louis, where 39 footers took to the water on a lake that only opens to ski boats on this one day for this tournament.  This event offered prizes for the “best fall”, the “first 8”, and the “longest 8”, as well as the standard  top finishers receiving awards.  This event was won by Ron Blouw who needed to beat the undefeated Tim Knoezer twice as he was coming from the loser’s bracket.  JJ Link again finished third, followed by Keith St Onge and Greg Fatla.  The event takes place at a private country club, and is run by Tim Knoezer and Anthony Gramalino.  If you get there early you can watch the ski show the night before.

Tim Knoezer, Ron Blouw, JJ Link

Tom Knoezer, Ron Blouw, JJ Link

The third event in the series is the Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge.  This is just one of the many events in the Clean Lakes Festival, located in Madison Wisconsin.  This event was won by Jon Debelak, who had to come from loser’s bracket to beat a previous Clean Lakes figure 8 champion Paul Stokes twice.  Ron Blouw finished third, just ahead of his cousin Eric DeVries who was a strong fourth and Aaron Schoezel was fifth.  One of the really cool things about this event is it’s proximity to downtown Madison.  As is expected for any event in the figure eight series, this event was well run by Bob Manke and Paul Stokes.

Paul Stokes against Mike Netzer in Madison, WI

The last event in the series takes place at the World Barefoot Center.  This event had 32 barefooters competing.  David Small held off his business partner Keith St Onge to win his second consecutive title in this event.  David and Keith did 8 after 8 in the two final runs, with Keith winning the first run to give David his first loss.  David was just two solid to beat twice in a row and David won the run off over Keith.  Ben Dieser  finished third ahead of Marc Donahue and Ron Blouw. Like last year, there was an awards presentation located at the WBC ski school with food and drinks.  The world Barefoot Center was a great host for the event.

Swampy, David_Small, Keith_St_Onge, Ben Dieser, Marc Donahue, Ron Blouw at the WBC Figure 8 Finals

Swampy, David Small, Keith St Onge, Ben Dieser, Marc Donahue, Ron Blouw

In the overall standings, Ron Blouw and Keith St Onge ended in a tie for the points lead, with Marc Donahue in third.  Just how close was it?  The two footers each finished with 125 points.  Neither footer finished lower than 5th in any event, Ron had a 1st, a 3rd and a 5th, while Keith had two 2nds, and a 5th.  Each footer had 2 wins in the finals, with Ron coming from the loser’s bracket to win twice in the final round in St Louis, and Keith came from the loser’s bracket in Indiana and in the WBC tournament to win on the first run each time, only to lose the next run in both instances.  Each footer finished in the top three 2 times.  They faced each other twice and each won once.  It was indeed too close to call.

The entire series was very competitive with multiple winners in the individual events.  Of the top three finishers in the individual events, there were 9 different footers to finish in the top 3, with Keith, Ron, and JJ the only three to place in the top three twice.  The event was very competitive.  The events attracted multiple footstock winners and other figure eight winners.

Keith St.Onge, Ron Blouw & Marc Donahue

Keith St Onge, Ron Blouw, Marc Donahue

This is a great series and the events went off very smoothly with great leadership.  The WBC figure eight series motto is “no one left on the beach” and the tournament allowed duct tape to prevent blisters and either deep water starts or starts from a step off ski.  It allowed for beginners as well as advanced footers to compete against each other.  All ages were included with men and women competing head to head, there were even two sets of husbands and wives competing in the Florida event.  This is a great way to get to know other barefooters who have a similar passion for the sport.  It is also a way to go head to head with some of the best barefooters in the world, and who knows….anything might happen.  If you have never tried a figure 8, join us at one of the events for next year, I bet you will get hooked.  The event was sponsored by Reef Safe Sun Care, US Gear, and the World Barefoot Center.

By: Ron Blouw & Keith St.Onge

How Keith St. Onge Started Barefooting

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

I was born in Nashua, New Hampshire on December 31, 1977.  ” “You were a tax write off for your parents!”  most people would comment and I would jokingly agree. At the age of eight, my family moved three hours north to Berlin because my father took a job transfer.  Little did I know, it would change my life forever.  My grandfather on my mother’s side (Don Bouchard) owned a small cabin with his two brothers.  My sister Kendra and I looked forward to going to the cabin every weekend during our short summer.

Everyone in our large, extended family water skied and we were often on the water.  My second cousin, Gary “Swampy” Bouchard organized a small water ski show club with several family members and friends.  They put on one show per year.

Aunt Shirley and Uncle Clem brought me out in their small fishing boat and taught me how to water ski.  It took several tries before the 35-horsepower boat pulled me out of the water. Luckily, my Aunt Shirley caught the memory as I stood up on skis for the first time.

Keith St.Onge Water Skiing for the 1st time

At the time, barefoot water skiing was the next best thing in water sports.  Swampy fell in love with the sport and ordered  a book, “Barefooting,” written by John Gillette.  Swampy read through the pages, put on a thin wetsuit with a life jacket and began attempting this crazy sport.  He was the first on our lake to complete a deep water start in the water while riding on his buttocks.  After many sore muscles and bruises, Swampy decided to hire barefooting legend, Mike Seipel for one week.  Mike came to Lake Umbagog to teach everyone to barefoot ski and learn new tricks.    I stood in line waiting for his autograph, gazing at Mike in awe, as he was the World Barefoot Champion!

In line waiting for Mike Seipel's Autograph. L-R, Ryan Bouchard, Keith St.Onge & Tim Bouchard. Claude St.Onge in the background

When the fourth day rolled around, everyone was too sore and tired to complete day five.  “Are there other young kids that would like to attempt barefoot skiing?” Mike asked.  My cousins, Ryan, Tim and I were lead to the boat and away we went.  I was so nervous, I did not want to go first.  Ryan, being slightly older went first and barefoot skied for a short distance.  Timmy was two years younger than me, but had more experience as a skier so he went second.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  Tim got up on his feet a few times as well. Then it was my turn. I listened closely to Mike’s instructions.  I got up on one ski, stuck my foot into the water and stepped off the ski. I barefooted away with ease.  “Wow, this is cool” I thought to myself.  I repeated it a second time and then a third.

From that day, I was hooked on the sport.

Mike, unfortunately, was not able to cure Swampy of his knock-kneed barefooting.

Rare photo of Swampy barefooting

By: Keith St. Onge

Banana George Blair “The Banana Man”

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

George Blair otherwise know as “Banana George” has been around longer than most people dream of. He was a successful business man from New York in his early years. As he approached his forties, his lower back began to give him pain. He visited the doctor’s office and the doctor suggested he try water skiing for exercise in hopes to loosen it up. George decided to do just that and began skiing in a local water ski club.

He was famous for using a wooden disk to ski on. He would bring a step ladder out with him while balancing on the disk. He then slowly set the ladder up and began climbing as he was pulled behind the boat. The crowd watched in excitement as he got close to the top, sat down and began to un-peel a banana. This was the story he told me personally and now you know how he came to be known as “Banana George.”

I first met the “Man in Yellow” at my first barefoot water ski National tournament in Piqua, Ohio. He was more than friendly as he threw bananas into the bleachers. My dad made me sit down with Banana George as he signed my hat, and I thank my dad for the great memory he captured! I was ten years old, which made George 73 years old at the time.

The Banana man came to our regional championship and I was able to get another autograph and a few bananas out of the back of his trunk. I told George many years later, “I get called ‘St. Orange’ quite often– and I may start handing out oranges soon!” He laughed. That’s one thing I love about him, when he laughs it goes on forever…you can feel it go right to your bones and automatically begin laughing with him.

I began to see George ever year since then and was lucky enough to have him award me the 2006 Banana George Blair Barefoot Waterskier of the Year.

As time went by, we became good friends and went skiing a few times with one another. I had dinner with Banana, his wife, JoAnn and Kuno as I was awarded the IWSF Male Athlete of the Year award.

George also donated one of his bright yellow barefoot suits to the World Barefoot Center! Thank you, George, from the WBC Gang!

Interviewing George on his 90th Birthday

2007 with Banana giving the OK symbol

George is the only man that has barefoot water skied on every continent, was the founder of the “Bike” cup and has the largest privately owned collection of Mercury (God) in the world. Those are just a few fun facts about the Banana man.

His birthday is coming up in January and he will be 97 years old. I wish him all the best and thank him for a great friendship! We love you George & JoAnn!
By: Keith St.Onge / Orange

Winter Wonderland in Florida

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Does your lake look like this:

If so, you might want to head down to the World Barefoot Center:

Yes, I know you’re not used to seeing that big ball of fire in the sky during the winter months.  If you do see it, it’s not quite close enough to keep the ice off the lakes or snow off the ground!  That’s why we stay so busy at the ski school during the winter months– Northerners are escaping their frozen tundra to enjoy a little warmth and flat water.  Visit the World Barefoot Center to break up your long winter.  Just a few days on the water in the middle of winter will help keep the balance of barefoot water skiing fresh, before spring rolls around.

Don’t forget to visit LegoLand located in Winter Haven, Florida, just minutes from the ski school.  Look forward to skiing with you!!

By: Keith St.Onge

KSO Wetsuits, Fun on the Water Slideshow

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

A collection of KSO Wetsuit customers having fun on the water, including Glen Plake,  Paul Stokes, Judy Myers, Claudia Landon, and more!

KSO Wetsuits Fun on the Water 2011

WBC Invitational Teaser 2

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

4 weeks to go until the WBC Invitational!! Check out the latest video.

WBC INVITATIONAL OFFICIAL TEASER 2 – DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? from WorldBarefootCenter on Vimeo.

WBC Invitational Teaser 1

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

This is the WBC Invitational Official Teaser 1….. MORE TO COME!! Keep and eye out for them.

WBC INVITATIONAL OFFICIAL TEASER from WorldBarefootCenter on Vimeo.