Archive for the ‘Sponsored Skier Posts’ Category

Braving the cold – Sam Meredith

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Sam cold skiingLiving in Britain, a big obstacle to overcome is the cold weather. In the winter months if you are diehard about the sport and want to progress, skiing in cold weather is necessary. Skiing during the winter months in Britain where the temperatures rarely break 40 degrees, preparation must be taken to keep warm. Quite often cooler weather is associated with rough water conditions but I find most winter mornings you can find flat water without too much of a struggle.

Warming up is very important ensuring you get good blood flow to your muscles prior to your ski set. I would recommend wearing your barefoot suit or padded shorts under a dry suit in low temperatures. Ensure the zip is completely sealed before getting in the water. Skiing in the dry suit is slightly restrictive compared to skiing in just a barefoot suit and can feel quite uncomfortable but you get used to it. The neck and under arms are the two main areas for heat loss. In icy conditions I usually wear a head band as the wind chill on your forehead creates a stinging pain. To avoid getting a chill before skiing put the dry/wetsuit on in a warm building or car, this will prevent the period of near nakedness in the cool breeze while putting the suit on at the dock. If there is a group of us skiing normally two of us ski back to back sets whilst the other skiers wait in the warm.

Whilst on the water you will find that the cooler weather makes you a little less flexible and more difficult to bend your knees, you must concentrate and make an extra effort to complete things correctly. You will also find your reactions are slower because of the stiffness in your muscles, considering this you must anticipate the slower reactions and avoid problems with increased concentration. When you come in from skiing ensure there are facilities for a hot shower or bath to warm your body up quickly and effectively ready for your next set, if you’re using a wet suit leave the wetsuit on there’s nothing worse than putting on a cold wetsuit.

Choosing The Right Coach

Friday, May 29th, 2015



Submitted by Joni Gerard
Concepts Written by Steven Coyle from The Little Book of Talents

TIP #12

Great teachers, coaches, and mentors, like any rare species, can be identified by a few characteristic traits. The following rules are designed to help you sort through the candidates and make the best choice for yourself.

1) Avoid Someone Who Reminds You of a Courteous Waiter
This species of teacher/coach/mentor is increasingly abundant in our world: one who focuses his efforts on keeping you comfortable and happy, on making things go smoothly, with a minimum of effort. This is the kind of person who covers a lot of material in a short time, smiles a lot, and says things like, “Don’t worry, no problem, we can take care of that later.” This is a good person to have as your waiter in a restaurant, but a terrible person to have as your teacher, coach, or mentor.

2) Seek Someone Who Scares You a Little
In contrast to encounters with courteous waiters, encounters with great teachers/coaches/mentors tend to be filled with unfamiliar emotion: feelings of respect, admiration, and, often, a shiver of fear. This is a good sign. Look for someone who:
Watches you closely: He is interested in figuring you out—what you want, where you’re coming from, what motivates you.
Is action-oriented: She often won’t want to spend a lot of time chatting—instead, she’ll want to jump into a few activities immediately, so she
can get a feel for you and vice versa.
Is honest, sometimes unnervingly so: He will tell you the truth about your performance in clear language. This stings at first. But you’ll come to see that it’s not personal—it’s the information you can use to get better.
It’s worth noting that the word “coach” originally came from kocsi, the Hungarian word for “carriage.” You’re not looking for a buddy or a parent figure. You’re looking for someone solid, someone you trust, someone with whom you take a journey.

3) Seek Someone Who Gives Short, Clear Directions
Most great teachers/coaches/mentors do not give long-winded speeches. They do not give sermons or long lectures. Instead, they give short, unmistakably clear directions; they guide you to a target.
John Wooden, the UCLA basketball coach who is widely considered one of the greatest teachers of all time, was once the subject of a yearlong study that captured everything he said to his team. Wooden didn’t give long speeches; in fact, his average utterance lasted only four seconds. This underlines a large truth: Teaching is not an eloquence contest; it is about creating a connection and delivering useful information.

4) Seek Someone Who Loves Teaching Fundamentals
Great teachers will often spend entire practice sessions on one seemingly small fundamental—for example, the way you grip a golf club, or the way you pluck a single note on a guitar. This might seem strange, but it reflects their understanding of a vital reality: These fundamentals are the core of your skills (see Tip #10). The more advanced you are, the more crucial they become.

5) Other Things Being Equal, Pick the Older Person
Teaching is like any other talent: It takes time to grow. This is why so many hotbeds are led by people in their sixties and seventies. Great teachers are first and foremost learners, who improve their skills with each passing year. That’s not to say there aren’t any good teachers under thirty—there are. Nor is it to say that every coach with gray hair is a genius—they’re not. But other things being equal, go with someone older.


by Joni Gerard




Brice Storman – The First Time

Friday, April 10th, 2015

My first day at WBC was pretty awkward. I knew I was around the best barefooters you could meet and I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself.  We go out on the boat and I’m the last one to ski. When I’m up to ski my heart starts racing as I plop in the water. Ben Groen, my instructor for the time spent over at WBC, is one of the coolest and nicest people you could meet. He put me out on the seahorse first, which I thought was for sissies; I thanked him in my head for taking me off. Then the thanking reversed. The boom was so hard but I didn’t complain. I took so many falls it felt like forever but it really wasn’t. Fall after fall, my confidence depletes. The third day Ben has the idea of putting me back on the seahorse and I feel so embarrassed. But it works: first try, I stood up on the boom. A couple tries later, I’m on the short line and it’s awesome.

Thank goodness Ben never gave up on me and I never gave up on him!


Brice Storman – Summer 2013

Monday, March 30th, 2015

2I had just learned how to slalom ski and I thought it was the time of my life, just weaving back and forth through the water. Amazing, I thought. As summer neared its end, my dad told me about this insane water sport called BAREFOOTING. At first that sounded like some lame sport that nobody’s ever heard of. Then my dad showed me a video of it and it was the coolest thing ever. My dad asked me if I wanted to try it next summer and I said yes as enthusiastic as my worried mind would let me.

A year passed and the barefooting thing had slipped from my mind but it hadn’t slipped from my dad’s. He reminded me mid-summer and I tried to make the excuse that we didn’t have anywhere to go to barefoot. But he already found a place to go. He said WBC. So we went and checked it out. 6 or 7 months later, I’m now a sponsored skier and skiing every weekend, having the time of my life with some of the coolest people you could meet.



Lizzie Rhea: Jumping Inverted for a Dog

Saturday, December 6th, 2014



One of my most exciting experiences was at the WBC during fall break this year. My Dad really wanted me to start trying to jump inverted, so he made a deal with me that if I jumped inverted on the 5 foot rope, he would get allergy shots, so that I could get a dog. I have always wanted a dog, but my Dad is really allergic to them. My Dad wanted video evidence of the jump. We shook on it and made the deal official.

I was not even close to jumping inverted, and Ben Groen did not think I could do it after that first day. I tried a million times. I thought I could not do it, and I gave up. I was so sad that I could not even eat supper that night. I could not stop thinking about it, and it was driving me nuts!

The next day, I went back to the WBC thinking that I would not even try it anymore. (I kept thinking that it was not very smart to hit a piece of fiberglass on my bare feet going 40 mph anyway!) However, David Small was determined that I could and would do it, and get my dog! I had to trust him because he is the best jumper in the world. I knew if I listened to him, I would have a chance. He is always good at motivating me and making me believe in myself. I decided to put my game face on and try again.

The first 3 jumps on the boom were awesome, so David let me move to the rope, which wasn’t so awesome! He kept telling me to raise early, but my body just wouldn’t do it for some reason! I was getting really frustrated because my set was almost over. I had to keep telling myself that I could do it.

David told me he would let me try the 5 foot rope if I promised to raise early. Of course I didn’t do it the first couple of times, but all of the sudden I did it on my 3rd attempt. Mrs. Karen Putz got a video of it and sent it to my Dad.

My Dad went to an allergy doctor and has just started taking weekly shots. It will take at least 6 more months, but I am going to get a chocolate toy poodle just like Charlie, David Small’s dog. I am going to name him Dave, in honor of David Small, because I am so thankful that he didn’t give up on me. I can’t wait until I get it!

Lizzie Rhea

Alexis McCauley: My First Nationals

Saturday, November 29th, 2014


The 2012 U.S. Barefoot Waterski National Championships was held in Waco, Texas at the Barefoot Ski Ranch. The drive from Ohio was about twenty-one hours.

We arrived early the first day for sight familiarization around 8:00 AM. We sat on the start dock gazing down the lake. After about 15 minutes, my dad tells me to look and see Keith St. Onge riding a bike down the bike path. Once he got to the dock, he introduced himself to us. He shook his hands with us and he said it was great seeing us barefoot waterski as a family. My whole family was there my dad, mom, brother, sister, grandma, and Aunt Tina. Keith asked if it was ok for him to take a practice run and we said absolutely. Watching Keith was really awesome, he was so smooth and flawless.

We then all skied out our practice runs. I was having a great time meeting people from all around the country and world. I skied my passes and was able to get another personal best score in tricks and slalom.

At the banquet I received a 2nd place medal. I was able to meet Ashleigh Stebbings and Swampy for the first time. Now they are both of my coach’s at WBC. Looking back to the 2012 Nationals, it had opened my eyes to bigger dreams.

Alexis McCauley




Sam Meredith: Barefoot Clinic with David Small

Monday, November 17th, 2014

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I booked in for a ski clinic with David Small in September in sunny England. I was looking to improve my backwards position on both feet and one foot. Having spent 3 weeks in June at the World Barefoot Center, I did about 50% of my training skiing backwards and became quite confident on two feet by the end of my stay, but when it came to doing one foots, my technique and body position slipped making me very unstable.

I arrived at the lake in Cambridge and I was cold as soon as I stepped out the car. My first ski pass was a front pass working on my toe holds and tumble turns which were a little shakey and slow at first but managed to get them all in, in the short pass. Dave had me repeat this for another couple of passes then had me trying to complete as many toe holds in my pass he set me a target of 10 which I missed a few times by 1 or 2 then on my last run just about got.

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For my second set of the morning Dave had me skiing backwards. I did a few passes and he made some adjustments to my ski position to stop me skiing too clean on my feet and arching my shoulders more which felt a lot less sketchy. At the end of my set, he had me doing my one foots which I didn’t really struggle with too much. Before I started, he just said, “don’t dive away too much when you pick your foot up” which stuck in my head and made it a lot easier and managed a pass of some good steady one foots. For the end of my set in the morning I tried a couple of passes at a back toe hold which I managed to get my foot up and in the toe strap but as soon as I let go I fell off my standing foot by leaning the wrong way Dave said my leg was far too bent and I needed body position to be far more upright to make it easier.

After an hour long hot shower and lunch, I did my second half of the day just working my backwards one foots on shoe skis again trying to complete as many as I could in one pass my target was 20 which took my a couple of passes but then once I got the hand of transferring my weight onto the standing foot, I managed it. For my second set, I worked on back toe holds on shoe skis both basic and reverse, concentrating on standing more upright in the toe hold position which made me much more stable. By the end of the set, I managed to get two in the pass.

Sam Meredith

Alexis McCauley: My First Tournament

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014


My first tournament was the 2012 Chick Fest at the Blue Moo in Wisconsin. My mom and dad were not able to go because they were working. My grandma Julie drove my sister Syd and me to Wisconsin, which was ten hours away from where we lived.

My grandma took us to the site at 7 am when the start time was around 8. I was not expecting this long, narrow lake in the ground. Slowly one by one, people started showing up. They were very laid back, calm, and friendly. Everyone was so welcoming. They asked who we were, where we were from, and how long we skied. All the friendly people helped calm my nerves. The boat driver was going to be the guy with the dog which I couldn’t remember his name [David Small]. I remember the dog, Charlie, because of pictures I had seen. Later I found out the driver was the champion of the whole world. I thought, he has to be as good of a driver as my dad.

I watched the Kohler girls skied. “WOW!” I was very impressed. My sister skied and got a personal best. It was my turn to go. In the water, I told Mr. Small I would stand up in the middle if I didn’t make it out. Never skiing off a super fly high or a Sanger before, my brother said it felt just like being on the boom. So, I called a slow-medium- medium start to 27 mph. Mr. Small gave me a good start. I planted my feet, to stand and I edged out. All I could hear was everyone cheering from shore for me to be skiing my first tournament. My trick run was sit down, stand up, and hand-hand. My second pass was just to ski down the lake and wave to the crowd. The rest of the day was so much fun, meeting David Small and Charlie, hanging out with a lot of the other girls. I heard good job and got high 5’s all day. I was looking forward to my next tournament in three weeks, the Eastern Regional’s. Then my final destination was Waco,Texas for my first U.S. Barefoot Nationals.

Alexis McCauley

Will Rhea: Barefooting Benefits Other Sports

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Barefooting is my favorite sport, only slightly above basketball and football. I put up my barefoot gear for the winter, then finished my football season last week, and now I am about to start basketball. I was just thinking that I am lucky that my favorite sports do not overlap, and I can give each sport my full attention when it is in season. Barefooting actually benefits my athletic performance in both football and basketball, both physically and mentally.

Physically, barefooting has made me stronger and tougher. It has improved my balance, and helped me to break tackles in football. The balance helps on the basketball court as well. Barefooting has also improved my core strength tremendously, which helps in any sport. Also, the hard falls in barefooting have helped me to jump up quickly after being tackled.

Mentally, barefooting has also made me stronger and tougher for other sports. It has taught me to try harder when I fail and make mistakes. It has also taught me not to think about the past, but to focus on the present, and what I can control right now.

Will Rhea

James Callahan: My WBC Experience

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Hello my name is James. I am 11 years old, and I live in Minneapolis, MN. I am writing this blog to tell you about my WBC (World Barefoot Center) experience. I have been down to the WBC twice now. The first time I went down was in June 2014 with my Grandma. When I went down to the ski school the first time, I had only just learnt how to short rope on the boom. After being at WBC for two days, I progressed to doing a long line deep water start.

I recently went down to the WBC for my second time in October 2014. I had the greatest time of my life. It was the first time that I flew by myself on an airplane to anywhere. At first I was a little scared but after the flight attendants helped me and gave me cookies, it was all good. When I got down to the Tampa Bay, FL airport my Grandpa was picking me up and I could tell he was nervous. He didn’t want to lose me or do something wrong. Then when I got to his place everything was ok. My Grandpa lives down in St. Petersburg, FL so it was very convenient that he lives really close to the WBC ski school.

The next morning we woke up at 6.00am to drive to Winter Haven. When we arrived at the ski school, I met the WBC crew. It was so much fun and everyone was funny and kind. I got to meet David Small, Ben Groen and Keith St. Onge! They are very nice and great teachers.

The second time I was down there for the week I learnt so much like tumble turns, toe holds and back deep starts. I look forward to practicing at home and down in Florida. I am hoping to keep progressing in the sport. Even though I love barefooting, I will also enjoy playing hockey this winter. I can’t wait to get back to WBC and hang out with the gang.

– James Callahan