Featured Footer: Adin Daneker

Adin Daneker loves to sleep.  The guy is known for sleeping everywhere– in the boat, on the dock, or at the dinner table.  In fact, at the World Barefoot Center, the joke is… Adin only stays awake long enough to barefoot.

“Hey, I’m a fireman!” Adin grins.  “I don’t have a consistent sleep schedule, so I sleep when I can.”

All ribbing aside, the guy really does eat, breathe and sleep barefooting.  He fully admits to the addiction.  He started water skiing at the age of  four and got  his first taste of barefooting as a teen.  He wasn’t quite bitten with the barefooting bug, instead, he dove into water ski competitions during high school.  After he graduated, he took off for college and then started working as a fireman.

The barefoot bug finally bit him when he watched some guys rocket off a ramp at the Worlds on Lake Silverado in 1996.  Adin began barefooting with Doug Jordan, Chris Sternagel and Sherry Blackmore.  “The early years were painful,” Adin recalls.  “I remember being dragged through the water all day while learning to barefoot backwards. But as I progressed, I fell in love with barefooting– and I picked up the skills quickly.”

When Adin says he picked it up quickly, he isn’t kidding.  The following year, he entered  his first tournament and accomplished his first backward deep water start behind the boat.  He met Keith St. Onge for the first time and was blown away by his skills on the water. “I had just started, and Keith treated me the same as everyone else,” said Adin.  “I was really impressed with his skiing.”

During the spring, Adin went to Florida for two weeks and trained with Lane Bowers.  He focused on improving his jumping skills.  That summer, he entered his first Regionals.  “I tore my MCL during a traditional jump,” said Adin.  “My foot went through the water when I landed.  I was pulled sideways.”   The injury didn’t sidetrack him, as soon as healed up, he was back into the sport.  Adin went down to Florida again, this time he trained with Keith one week and Lane the other week, working on inverted jumping.  The training paid off– just two years after he started, Adin broke into the Open in tricks– and skied in his first Nationals.  His high-paying tricks were three flips on the water and two surface turns.

“I was standing on the dock with the big boys– Keith, Jon Kretchman, Ryan Boyd, Ron Scarpa and Lane Bowers,” Adin recalled. “Jon looked over at me– I was so excited as he was one of my idols.   He asked Lane, ‘Who is this guy?'”  Adin gave them a tournament to remember– one of his worse.  He fell on both trick runs and missed all of his jumps.  He managed to salvage his slalom run with a decent score.

Adin didn’t give up.  He continued to rack up tournament experience and skied in his first Worlds in 2006 as an independent skier.  He had just closed on a new house a month before the Worlds and invited Keith, Ryan, Eugene Sam and Heinrich Sam to train with him for three weeks.  “We had a blast– we were hanging out,  skiing all day, and then out to dinner.  Those guys helped me shop for furniture–  I had nothing in the house– just my bed  I think Ryan slept on the floor the whole time!”  The training paid off for Adin, he landed in the semi-finals and placed eighth.  At the 2010 Worlds in Germany, Adin took the silver Overall in the Senior division.  He was also selected as the Male Athlete of the Year for 2010.

Today, Adin is a sponsored athlete at the World Barefoot Center.  “I go to the WBC for a month and whatever Swampy tells me to do, I do it.  I work on… not crying,” Adin chuckles.  “Swampy is my psychologist on the water.  He knows when to push you and when to encourage you.  What I learned from Swampy is that skiing is 90 percent mental.”

Indeed, two of the toughest challenges for Adin are to maintain consistency on the water and to manage the mind games that go on in his head.  “During training, I can manage the head games, but in a tournament, it is hard. I have confidence issues–I get frustrated and then I start to doubt myself.  One thing that Swampy has taught me is– to go out and have fun.  One bad set doesn’t mean that you’re a bad skier.”  The most difficult trick for Adin has been the one foot turns.  “It’s a scary trick– I try not to think of the end result if it’s bad–it’s a trick that is easy to catch a toe and go down.”

Keith has been skiing with Adin for many years and the two have become good friends.  “Adin has a tremendous amount of commitment for someone who has a full time job– and that has always impressed me,” says Keith.  “He puts in more effort than most, and it reflects his passion for the sport.”

Adin’s daily mantra is a simple one: live each day to the fullest.  He plans to keep on skiing, training and improving.  “Once you get to a certain level, it’s all too easy to back off and fall off that level,” says Adin.  “This reminds me of a saying that I saw on a t-shirt in the movie, American Flyers:  ‘Once you’ve got  it up, keep it up.’

“And I’m talking about the skiing,” he grins.

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