Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Filippo Ribaldone: European and African Nationals

Monday, November 25th, 2013

This year we had the European and African championship in South Africa. It was a good trip and we had a lot of fun but i have to say that i prefer to have competition in August instead of late October.  Training for it was kind of hard because we had a lot of bad weather and cold in the north of Italy. Skiing in cold water is never good, for the cold and also cos personally i feel the water so different under my feet.
The competition was fun as always.  In Europe, we are a good group of friends and getting back together is always fun.  This year was even better because the final night was also my birthday.  everybody knows that i like to party and final night and birthday was not a good mix…was a great mix ahahaha.  I’d like to thank all my friends, the “barefoot bro’s”,  for what happened that night, even if don’t remember everything.  Stefan,  Evert, Lukas, George, Christian, Ted, and everyone else, we had a blast.

The competition was okay– I wanted a medal but it didn’t happen.  it means that for me to do better than 4th in slalom and 5th in jump I have to train more, a lot more.  But now I’m so ready and already pumped up for next year: E&A’s 2014 can’t wait….and next year will be Wallsee, Austria.  I love to ski in that place.

Getting to Know Ben Groen

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The name, Ben Groen, is starting to get pretty big around the World Barefoot Center. You see his name on all of our video’s, You see him in the boat, coaching and instructing skiers of all ages and abilities. You see him on the phone taking care of customers and all over the school taking care of business.

Ben is 22 years old and he is from New Zealand. The Groen name is famous in the barefooting circles, as his Dad Rob and uncle Fred have been involved in the sport for over 30 years and are still deeply involved to this day.  Ben first came to the school when he was 18 for what was suppose to be a one week stay, which ended up being being a six week stay. In those first six weeks with us at the World Barefoot Center his trick scores went from the mid 2000’s to around 5000 points.  We were so impressed with him as a young man that we decided to sponsor him. He came back to the school a few months later but this time he stayed for three months. To make a long story short, we all continued to be so impressed with this young man that we started working on making him a full time fixture at the school.  We started working on getting him a three-year sports visa, with the support of his parents Rob and Wendy Groen. And as you now see, the rest is history.

On a personal level, I love this kid and am very proud to be like a second father to him with the support of his wonderful parents.

On the water, he has a great attitude and works as hard anyone else who I have ever coached. He loves the sport, and when he is not on the water, you will see him watching his videos and doing his dry land practice. He is a true student of the sport and it has all paid off as he is one of only a handful of skiers who has ever tricked over 10500 points in the history of the sport.  In the last two years, he has been bouncing between being ranked the 3rd and 4th best overall skier in the world–with only the two greatest skiers ever, David Small and Keith St. Onge, being ahead of him.

In the boat, he has also become one of the most respected coaches and instructors in the sport. The feedback from all of our students at the ski school from first timers to top competitors is just amazing–everyone just loves skiing with Ben and they all learn so much from him. He has truly become one of the worlds best instructors.

Ben is a very unique and gifted person, big hearted, and very friendly.  He has some of the best people skills that I have ever seen. He is very unselfish and always goes out of his way to take care of people and our furry family members around the school. (Yes, he is a big animal lover.)

He is so mature for his age that I always tell people that he is 22 going on 40. Off the water he is involved in every aspect of the business and I would trust this kid with anything. A hard worker and a quick learner and with people skills second to none and then throw in loyalty and a true love for what he does you then have someone who is worth a ton to the business, a person that can not be replaced with ease. So we at the world barefoot center realizing this have made Ben a partner in the business and Ben has now applied for a green card to be a long term part of this great business that we are building.
So there you have it.

Ben Groen is from a great family with great parents
Is one of the top skiers and instructors in the world
Is one of the friendliest and caring persons that you’ll ever meet
And at 22 is also a part owner of the largest barefoot water sking schools in the world
We are so lucky to have him and I am so proud to be coaching and to be involved in the life of one of the finest young men that you’ll ever meet.
Swampy Bouchard

Filippo Ribaldone: Brielle Open Barefoot Competition

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

During the second weekend of august I had the opportunity to go in Holland in Brielle to ski in another great competition and see all my good friends from all around Europe. I met Evert Aartsen, Jr.  at the airport of Amsterdam and together we been to Rob Mollencamp’s house to spend the night before going at the site.

On the second day, we met all the other skiers, Stefan Wimmer,  Kennet Eissler, Lavinia Eissler, and Lukas Eissler. I was so happy to spend some days with them.
The lake in Brielle is so good, we did the Europeans and Africans there last year, but I think 2013 was even better because we were all staying in the same hostel. It was so much fun.
Was a great competiton.  Evert did his PB in trick 5700 and everyone pushed really hard to have PB in jump…but it didn’t happen ahahaha
I think best jump was from Stefan and Evert both over 25 and then me with 24 but nobody landed 😉  The final result?  Evert first with 20.6 and me third with 19.9.
I love skiing with all this great guys from Europe…and I hope next year we will have a lot more competition like that.

Filippo Ribaldone

Will Rhea: My First Barefoot Tournament

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

My Dad taught me to barefoot water ski when I was 7 years old.  I loved to play around on the boom and try new things.  Wakeboarding was my favorite though, until I discovered the cool barefooting videos on YouTube.  By the time I was 10,  I was watching barefooting videos all of the time, and wanted to try everything I saw in those videos.

My sister and I became interested in learning 3 event last summer, while watching the WBC livestream of Nationals and Worlds in Texas.  We decided to go to the WBC to learn how to do it.  We spent 10 days there this summer.  The WBC instructors taught us so much, my sister and I decided to try our first tournament at the end of July.
The tournament was the Southern Regionals, and it was held at Lake David, in Groveland, Florida.  At first I was a little nervous, but it got better after I watched a few competitors skiing.  It also helped that my sister, Lizzie, went before me.
I did the slalom event first.  I scored a 7 doing front one foot slalom.  I had not learned to go on one foot backwards yet, so I did the back slalom on two feet.  My total score was an 8.5.

The next event was tricks.  I fell getting up, but was very lucky that the judges gave me a re-ride.  I did a forward and a backwards run, doing all of the tricks I had learned, in time.  My score in tricks was a 1500.  After tricks, we took a break and ate pizza.

Next, it was time for jumping.  I had just learned to jump the day before the tournament, so I was a little nervous.  I missed the first jump, but landed the second.  I tried to go big on the third one, but missed again.  I ended up with a 7.9 in jump, but everyone congratulated me.

After the tournament, Mr. Mike Holtz treated everyone to dinner at a Mexican restaurant down the street.  It was awesome, and everyone was so nice.  I enjoyed the Southern Regionals very much, and plan to go back.  My first tournament was a great experience, and I look forward to many more.

Ted Baber: Training at Keuka Lake

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Flying high during a training set

There was a training week held at Keuka lake, Fairford on the last week of July this year. It was put together by Jem Drew and Paul Turner, with help from Nick Lodge. It was a chance to bring the skiers closer together, and all throughout the week, there was a positive atmosphere. We spent 5 days training and working on different aspects everyday, based on what Paul saw individuals needed to work on, as well as overall new tricks. Charlie Long, Ben Edwards, Nick Lodge, Tom Heaps and Bibby Curtis spent the week camping down the lake. With the weather not holding up all week, it was a challenging to be there training, despite spending time during the rain hiding in the boat under the trees, we still managed to take advantage of the glass water. It was a great week, full of skiing, and being able to build up stronger friendships between the skiers.

By: Ted Baber

Questions about Barefoot Water Skiing

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

I love when kids from school send me an email or letter as a school project.  Some kids send the notes just because they want to.  Either way, I think it’s fun because it was something I always wanted to do as a youngster.  I don’t know why I never did?  Maybe it was because I thought I wouldn’t hear back from them.  I make it a point to always write back and answer all letters or emails.  If I did miss one or two in the past, I apologize, but you can send me another one if you’d like to and I’d be happy to answer your questions.

Here is an email I received from Abby:

Dear Mr. St. Onge,
My name is Abby. I am a fourth grader at Boulevard Elementary School in Shaker Heights, OH. Ms Tina McCauley is my gym teacher. She told me about how you are a champion barefoot waterskier. I love to waterski too, but I don’t do barefoot. My favorite is slaloming; I learner when I was 7. Ms. McCauley gave me your book which gave me the idea to write about you. I need to write an article for my school newspaper, the Boulevard Times, and I’d like to write about you. I have some questions about barefoot water skiing that I was hoping you could answer.

1. My first question is, how much harder is barefoot waterskiing compared to slaloming?

​I explain it like this: A slalom ski has a lot more surface area and two bare feet has much less surface area.  It is a little more difficult to barefoot water ski than slalom skiing, but as long as you learn correctly with a proper position ​it’s not too hard.  Think about it…skiing with no skis on…how cool is that?

2. When the weather is too cold to ski, what else do you like to do?

I wrote a book as you know and that took me over two and a half years to write, so writing took a lot of my time.  I like to work out and stay in shape when I am not barefoot skiing.​​
3. What age did you decide that you were going to make waterskiing your career and why did you decide to do it?

When I was 13 years old I had a news paper reporter ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up.  Just as I explain in my book I said, “I want to move to Florida, open a barefoot water ski school and become National and World Champion.  I decided to do this because it was my passion.​

4. How long did it take you to get up, consistently, barefoot waterskiing?

Learning how to barefoot was easy but learning the start on the rope took me a long time.  I was 10 years old when I learned and I use to hate the water splashing me in my face.  Every time the water splashed my face I would let go of the handle and have to start all over again.  It took me all summer to learn that start but once I got past my fears I was extremely consistent.​

5. When you compete, how many people are you up against?

At local tournaments I’m up against guys like David Small, Ben Groen and only a few others.  At Nationals I’m going against about ten.  When I compete at the World Championship I’m going against thirty or more skiers.​

6. Do you have any advice for people who want to learn to waterski?
​Make sure you learn from someone you can trust.  If you learn the wrong way it is possible that you’ll take hard falls and you won’t want to try again.  Getting professional help from people like us at the World Barefoot Center is what most people do the first time out.  We now have the SeaHorse Ski where people can try for the first time and not fall.  Here is a video of it.
​Abby, I hope my answers to your questions will help out!

To grab a copy of my book: Gliding Soles, Lessons from a Life on Water

Keith St.Onge

14 x US National Champion
11 x World Championships Gold Medalist