Archive for the ‘Women’s Barefoot Week’ Category

Women’s Barefoot Week 2014

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Women’s Barefoot Week 2014

October 11 to 18, 2014

World Barefoot Center

Winter Haven, Florida

Grab your spot–this event happens just once a year at the World Barefoot Center–a week exclusively for the gals!

All skier levels are welcome, from beginner to expert. Ski half days or full days. Book one day or two, or all seven days.  Lunch is included.  It’s a week of fun, laughter, and barefooting!

Even the World Barefoot Center guys join in on the fun–you never know what they’ll turn up in!

Accommodations:

Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn

(ask for the WBC discount)

Cost:

15% off the WBC rate and all Pro Shop purchases

Lunch included!

Book your spot in the boat today!

Call: 863-877-0039

Is Barefooting on Your Bucket List?

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

barefooting bucket list

Skydiving. Mountain climbing.  Scuba diving. White water rafting. Barefoot water skiing.

More and more, I’m seeing barefooting as a “bucket list item” among new customers  whenever I’m down at the World Barefoot Center. No matter the age, they want to learn how to walk on water–and it’s right up there with skydiving, mountain climbing, and more. Today’s equipment and teaching methods make it easier than ever to try this extreme sport.

Four years ago, I took up barefoot water skiing again at the age of 44.   I had not barefoot water skied in over 20 years.  At that age, I pretty much thought I’d never barefoot again until I saw 66-year-old Judy Myers barefooting on the TODAY Show.  Judy took up the sport at the age of 53 and today, she’s the world oldest female competitive barefooter at 70. Just watching her on the show inspired me and I started feeling the old passion sparking up within me.  Judy invited me to the World Barefoot Center in March, 2010 and my life did a 180.

The first time I got into the boat at the World Barefoot Center, I was a nervous wreck and pretty intimidated by all the fancy moves everyone else was doing on the water.  If you told me then that I’d be doing some of those things four years later, I would have laughed you out of the boat.  But that day, I was embarrassed to get into a wetsuit and scared that I would make a fool of myself on the water with a boat full of people watching.  I got over that pretty quickly the moment I put my feet on the water and felt the old passion for the sport return.

karen putz back toe

I’ve been taught by every instructor at the World Barefoot Center and I’ve enjoyed learning from all of them (even the one who makes me cry, who shall not be named. <Insert grin.>)  I was once asked to rank each instructor, and I found it impossible to do so.  Keith St. Onge, David Small,  Ben Groen, Ashleigh Stebbeings, and Swampy Bouchard all have a professional attitude and the knowledge to instruct in every aspect of the sport.  They all know when to push, and when to pull back and rebuild your skills.  In fact, when Ben suggested a back toe hold during my last set of Women’s Week in 2013, I thought he had lost his mind. But by the end of the set, I had let go of the handle a few times and accomplished my first back toe on my feet.  Not bad for a 48-year-old!

I’m also seeing more and more “mature” folks taking up the extreme sport after several years off the water.  In 2012, Jill Broderick from Vermont came to the Women’s Barefoot Week for the first time.  The last time Jill barefoot water skied was 40 years ago.  In one short week, she learned the deep-water start, tumble turns, and longline. In 2013, she moved up to one foots and continued to build a solid foundation to her barefooting skills.  Oh yeah, Jill is over 60 years old.

Jill Broderick

The most famous barefooter of all, Banana George, took up barefooting at the age of 46, took up competition at 65, and barefooted behind a seaplane when he was 81. The last time he set his feet on the water, he was 93.  Even then, he managed to do a one-foot!

So if you have “Barefoot water skiing” on your bucket list, don’t wait for some day to make it happen.  Last I checked, there is no “Someday” to be found on any calendar anywhere.

By: Karen Putz

Reflections of Women’s Barefoot Week 2013

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

The 4th Annual Women’s Barefoot Week has come and gone but the memories will remain forever.   This year we had near-perfect, hot, sunny weather almost every day and of course, the World Barefoot Center crew always finds calm water.   David Small, Ben Groen, Ashleigh Stebbeings, Keith St. Onge, and Swampy Bouchard provided some awesome coaching and instruction. Every single gal experienced success on the water that week!

The guys gamely donned pink Tommie Copper shirts in honor of the gals and the Breast Cancer Campaign at Tommie Copper.  Yes, it takes real men to pull off pink so well!

A special thank you goes out to our sponsors who donated some awesome products for our gals:  Badger Balm, Tommie Copper, Vibram Five Fingers, Barefoot Wine, Hpnotiq, and Crispers.

And anytime you can get a guy to cook, it’s always a good thing.  In the case of Chris Mcwatters, it’s a GREAT thing. Chris put together a wonderful Mexican dinner for all of us.  One thing to note: what Chris labels “mild” is actually HOT.

Judy Myers did a great job once again of organizing and executing Women’s Barefoot Week.  If you’d like to be on the email list for next year’s event, email Judy at oldbarefooter@me.com.  Sorry, guys, it’s for gals only.  Donning a pink shirt will not get you admission to that week.

USA Water Ski Newsletter featuring Women’s Week

By: Karen Putz

Women’s Barefoot Week 2013 at the World Barefoot Center

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Smallz, Swampy and KSO

Come and join us for Women’s Barefoot Week 2013 at the World Barefoot Center — a week just for women barefooters!

October 5th through October 13th 2013

We have room for 15 women a day, running three boats. You can ski 1 – 2- 5 days–whatever you want, but we need to know in advance so we can fill days with no conflicts. The cost will be the regular WBC Ski School rate minus 15% on your skiing as well as pro shop merchandise. Current ski school rates are $195 per day or $850 for a week (5 total days). Again this rate would be minus 15%!

We are also renting the house down the street with a pool and a hot tub. Everyone is welcome to hang there and use the pool and hot tub. We can accommodate about 6 people there with a couple of mattresses on the floor for $50 a night as well as a few at the ski school for $50 per night. If you want to stay at the ski school call the WBC at 863-877-0039 to make reservations. You can also stay at the local hotels and receive the ski school cooperate rate. There is a Holiday Inn and Hampton nearby, but you would need a car. WBC Discount at Hotels.

Last year, we all bought our own breakfast and snack stuff, the ski school will provide sandwich and salad fixings for lunch on the days you ski a FULL day. (Make your own) For dinner, we either cook at the house or eat out.

We also can coordinate airport pickups and drop offs and split car costs. The rate is $75 per car trip, so if there are 3 people they will split the cost,  if there is just one, they pay the full $75 each way.

We are trying to limit the age to adults. Last year we learned so much and had a GREAT time. So nice to ski with “the gals” only!! Come join us for the fun. You won’t be sorry.  It is a great opportunity to meet other women footers of ALL SKILL LEVELS and learn from the best instructors in the world!!
You can book in by calling the ski school at 863-877-0039.
If you have any questions please feel free to call me at 619-851-6166 or email me at oldbarefooter@mac.com.
Plan to attend now and make your reservations early as this will fill up fast!!
Happy Footing!
Judy ” Old Lady” Myers

Women’s Barefoot Week Sponsors:

Highlights from past Women’s Weeks:

A Week of Barefooting Just for Women

Women’s Barefoot Week 2011

2012 Women’s Barefoot Week Wrap Up

Monday, October 22nd, 2012
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Bill Nelson is an honorary gal this week!

Another great Women’s Barefoot Week at the World Barefoot Center has come and gone. The weather was absolutely perfect in the mid-80’s and sunny every day.

Teri Larson kicked off the week working hard on her toe ups and came oh-so-close! She worked on a little bit of everything while nursing a sore shoulder.

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Speaking of sore stuff, Judy Myers was back on the water after a very long break recovering from knee surgery and then a shoulder mishap after crashing her scooter. Judy didn’t miss a beat getting right back into footin.

Judy Myers

Karen Putz took some lessons from Judy on “101 Uses of Duct Tape,” in this case, to keep the knee braces in place!

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How to hold $1,500 knee braces in place

Karen got back up on her feet backwards after a one-year break and did it longline for the first time.

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Karen Putz

Claudia Landon worked her front and back one foots and she LET GO with both hands on her reverse toe hold. But the most exciting accomplishment for her was back wakes on her feet.

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Claudia Landon

Tina McCauley worked her toe holds and nailed her reverse.

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Tina McCauly

Carol Jackson focused on her surface turns on shoes– and boy, was she smooth!

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Carol Jackson

Joann O’Connor had some exciting moments getting up backwards behind the boat after six years of perseverance!

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Joann O'Connor

Char Portman took a few runs on the shoes and her feet, getting comfortable on the water again.

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Char Portman

Diane Schupp did her one foots in the line-step position behind the boat and took her back slalom to the next level.

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Diane Schupp

The last time Jill Broderick put her feet on the water was in 1967. It had been 40 years since she barefoot water skied. Look at the joy on her face below as she got up again at the age of 60!

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Jill Broderick

Jill won the award for the “Most Improved Skier” sponsored by Vibram 5 Fingers. She learned the deep water start longline by the last day and started the first step toward backwards.

Most Improved sponsored by Vibram 5 Fingers

After a long day of footin on Sunday, Chris McWatters rewarded everyone with a BBQ dinner, including the WBC crew and skiers from Switzerland. He spent six hours grilling ribs which he basted with a super-size carton of really good sauce. “That was the best dinner, ever,” said Claudia.

Chris cooks up a storm!

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WBC crew gets pedicures

And what would Women’s Barefoot Week be without pretty toes? In honor of Women’s Week, the WBC crew did an evening of pedicures. It took a gang of women to drag Swampy into a chair. We all felt sorry for the girl who had to work on Swampy’s talons. It was pretty funny to watch him wince and yell “Ow” every time she snipped a nail. It was worth it; Swampy’s feet looked oh-so-pretty afterwards.  Can you guess which one is his?

WBC pretty feet

A big thank you goes to our Women’s Week sponsors: Barefoot Wine and Vibram 5 Fingers.

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Thank you, Barefoot Wine!

2012 Women’s Barefoot Week at the World Barefoot Center

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

The 2012 Women’s Barefoot Week will be held October 13 to October 20 2012 at the World Barefoot Center.  This is a week exclusively for female footers.  Even Keith, Dave and Swampy get to join in on the fun and get in touch with their feminine side during this special week.

To reserve your dates, call the World Barefoot Center at:

863-877-0039

Some beds are still available at the bunkhouse and at a rental home down the street.  If these are full, there are local hotels available:

Accommodations Winter Haven

Holiday Inn Express
200 Cypress Gardens Blvd.,Winter Haven, Fl. 33880 tel 1-863-292-2100
$109.00 per night / On site restaurant
Mention World Barefoot Center (WBC) for the ski school rate

Hampton Inn
202 Cypress Gardens Blvd.,Winter Haven, FL. 33880 tel 1-863-299-9251
$99.00 per night with a complimentary continental breakfast per person
Mention World Barefoot Center (WBC) for the ski school rate

Days Inn
1150 3rd St. SW, Winter Haven, FL. 33880 tel 1-863-294-4451
$54.95 per night with 20% off Meal Coupon
Mention the World Barefoot Center (WBC) for the ski school rate

Best Western
$59-89 (depending on room location) 863-324-5050
Mention World Barefoot Center (WBC) for the ski school rate

The nearest airports are Orlando and Tampa.  Call the school to arrange for airport pickups.

Here’s a glimpse of last year’s Women’s Week:

And from the 2010 Women’s Week:

Valerie Shinn is the “Most Improved Barefooter”

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Congrats to Valerie Shinn, who won the award for the “Most Improved Barefooter”  during the Women’s Barefoot Week at the World Barefoot Center.  The prize is sponsored by Vibram Five Fingers and includes a pair of barefoot shoes.

Valerie accomplished her first long line backward deep water start on WBC shoes:

Watch this young 61-year-old in action:

Women’s Barefoot Week 2011 Highlights

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The 2011 Women’s Barefoot Week started off with a rainy Halloween, but the gals got into the spirit donning some costumes. The boys, David Small, Keith St. Onge and Swampy joined in on the fun. The gals planned to barefoot in the costumes, but with the rain coming down, that idea was tossed out.   Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (Karen Putz) had painted red glitter shoes on her feet, cinching her for the “Best Halloween Costume.”

The gals came from all over– including Mandy Wood, who managed a 27 hour trip from Australia.  Judy Myers was recovering from knee surgery and after duct-taping her $1,400 brace, she went out and did  everything she could do before–including a long line back deep and back toe hold.  (Yeah, she’s baaaaack!)  Joann O’Connor employed the Patience, Persistence and Perseverance policy all week long as she worked on her back deep on a 15-foot line–she spurred the rest of us on!  “My new trick was learning to do one foot cut outs  on shoes– KSO had me doing them like a pro on my fused ankle!” said Joann. “I never even thought I could go one foot on that side, but the cutting angle works great. I can’t go straight on that foot but I will be able to learn one foot wakes!”

Claudia Landon worked on her back one foots with both feet.  Sharon Carlson was nursing a sore knee, but she joined Claudia in the quest for back one foots along with Mandy. “I’m very excited that I did back one- foot–I picked it up, and put it down three times in a row in one pass,” said Claudia.  “According to John MacDonald, the 82 year old from Texas whom we ski with in the summer– after you do a trick three times in a row, you own it!”

Debbie Fahrenthold was back on the water for the first time– five years after surgery for a brain tumor.  She tackled the water with gusto, first on shoes, then her feet, and even on one foot with shoes!  Carolyn Scott nailed her back deep on the short line and tackled some forward wakes.   Karen Putz accomplished her first back toe hold on shoes– and Keith introduced her to a couple of back-to-fronts on the last set (she still has to learn to ride them out.) Diane Schaupp was the youngest gal in the group. She worked on wakes– both forwards and backwards, and succeeded in a back one foot crossing on a shoe!

“The best part of women’s week was meeting some incredibly inspirational women,” said Diane. “All you ladies have had some difficulty that you’ve had to overcome in life. It would be easy to use a fused ankle or screws in the wrist or being deaf as an excuse to not get out there on the water–but instead, these difficulties are used as a reason to work harder and keep trying to accomplish new tricks.  For me, the two days I spent with you ladies was more than just about learning new tricks on the water… it was about an unexpected lesson in life… and one I’ll never forget.”

A special thanks to Women’s Barefoot Week sponsors:  Vibram5Fingers, Coconut Bliss, Badger Balm, and Popchips — it was a great week!

WOMENS WEEK 2011 from WorldBarefootCenter on Vimeo.

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Reserve Your Spot for Women’s Barefoot Week 2011

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Women’s Barefoot Week is coming up — reserve your spot!  All of the details are here:

Women’s Barefoot Week 2011 at the World Barefoot Center

This year, the gals are skiing in Halloween costumes.  Stay tuned to find out what the World Champions have to wear on the water! Check out the highlights from the 2010 Women’s Barefoot Week (and the World Champions… in pink!):

Barefoot Wine “Foot Fan of the Month”

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Check out  Barefoot Wine’s “Foot Fan of the Month” for June–it’s the Fab Five ladies:  Judy Myers, Val Shinn, Joann O’Connor, Claudia Landon and Karen Putz.   The five ladies met up at the Women’s Barefoot Week at the World Barefoot Center in October, 2010.

Judy Myers

Known as the “Old Lady,” Judy started barefooting at the age of 53.  She’s been featured in More Magazine, on the Today Show and Suzanne Somers show.  She did a Subway “Fit to Boom” segment.   At her very first tournament, all she could do was stand up.  Last summer, she competed in the Worlds.  Today, this 68-year-old gal tells the younger gals to “suck it up” when they dare complain about their aching muscles after a run.  But at the end of Women’s week, we discovered her secret drug stash: a huge bottle of Motrin.

Judy Myers Inspires Deaf Mom

Val Shinn

Dubbed “The Show Girl,” Val presents grace on the water every time she barefoots.   Don’t let Val fool you– at first glance, it doesn’t seem like this delicate lady even belongs on the water, much less in a tough sport like barefooting.  Watch her on the water, and your jaw will drop, the lady can glide!  At the age of 60, Val still climbs pyramids in weekly water ski shows.  Every Thursday, she hosts a radio show on astrological topics.

Valerie Shinn–Show Girl on the Water

Joann O’Connor

Joann is one tough gal– she skis on a fused ankle, the result of a motorcycle accident many years ago.  The 62-year-old picked up barefooting again ten years ago.  Three years ago, she figured out how to make adjustments with her ankle and learned to barefoot backwards.  Some days, her back gives out and she has to crawl back into the boat, but a few minutes later, she’s back out on the water doing toe holds.

Barefooting with a Senior Citizen

Claudia Landon

Claudia is “pure poetry on water.”  When she does her back deep starts, she rises out of the water with the grace of a ballet dancer.   Claudia started barefooting at the age of 37 and ten years later, she entered her first barefooting tournament.  Just recently, she qualified for the Worlds in tricks.  Claudia has endured several ear drum blowouts.  She once donned ear plugs, a headband, a swim cap and a helmet to protect a burst eardrum, and then took a fall where the helmet collided with her arm–breaking the bone.  “I don’t think my arm is supposed to look like this,” she told her husband when the boat came to pick her up.  I think the rest of us would have been screaming in pain.

Claudia Landon, Pure Poetry on Water

Karen Putz

Karen tripped on a wake as a teen and went from hard of hearing to deaf in an instant.  In March of 2010, Karen met Judy and Keith, and put her feet back on the water again.    She taught the entire WBC boat crew to sign “awesome,” so now they praise her from 75 feet away.

Karen Putz on Growing Bolder