Featured Footer: Chandler Cargile

Fourteen-year-old Chandler Cargile entered his first barefoot tournament in May, 2011 at Port St. Lucie in Florida as one of the World Barefoot Center’s sponsored skiers.  Chandler scored 900 points in tricks and a 4.8 in slalom, which is completely amazing for a first tournament.  What’s even more amazing to know is that Chandler first learned to barefoot in July, 2010.

“Barefooting was my dad’s idea,” said Chandler.  “He took me and my brother to the lake near our home and we both tried it.  It took me two tries on the boom and I was on my feet.  My brother did a deep water start, but couldn’t stand up.  We went back a few more times and then we both did the deep water start.  I was really excited!  We went back the next day and did it again.”

Not long after learning to barefoot, Chandler wanted to learn some tricks so his father suggested going to a ski school.  Chandler’s choice was easy;  he wanted to go to the World Barefoot Center and meet the two world champions.  He signed up for a half-day lesson and found himself in the boat with Keith St. Onge.   “I had seen a lot of videos of Keith and read about him in magazines, so I was so excited to meet him,” said Chandler.  “I started to learn the back deep with shoes, tumble turns and one foots with the KSO shoes.  It was a fun trip with Keith!”

On his second trip to the WBC, Chandler went back to ski in Figure 8 tournament and signed up for another lesson.  This time, he met his other idol, David Small.  By the end of the lesson, both David and Keith recognized that Chandler had a deep thirst to learn– both on and off the water. “Chandler is one of the most intense, driven, young kid that I’ve seen in a long time,” said Keith. “He jumped into the sport hard –doing everything– in practice, in skiing, and in working out.  That kid has the drive and the heart– he just loves skiing.”

Chandler went on to become a sponsored skier at the World Barefoot Center.  He never did ski in the Figure 8 tournament that weekend.  “I chickened out,” Chandler laughed.  “I had never competed before and I was a bit scared to try.”

Ben Groen instructs Chandler for his first jump

Swampy took over as a coach and Chandler worked with Ben Groen and A.J. Porreca.  They quickly groomed him as a three-event skier and introduced him to jumping.  His first jump was off the boom.  “On my first jump, I butted the ramp as I went over,” Chandler recalled.  “I moved to the handle, the two-foot, the five-foot, the ten-foot and then behind the boat– all in one morning!”

Chandler found himself battling some nerves when he faced his first jump on the long line behind the boat.  “I thought to myself, it’s not that different from the ten-foot, so I just did the same thing,” said Chandler.  “I landed my first jump–not great–  not clean– but I landed it!”

At his first barefoot tournament, the same nerves crept up as he readied himself in the water, but as soon as the boat pulled forward, Chandler relaxed.   “I felt like I was skiing with Swampy at the school, I wasn’t nervous anymore.  It didn’t feel like a tournament–it felt like I was at the World  Barefoot Center.”  Four tournaments later, Chandler has racked up 1780 in tricks, 8.1 in slalom and 8.6  in jumping.

At the Southern Regionals, Chandler’s goal was to land his jumps so that he could compete in jumping at the Nationals.  After missing his first jump, the pressure was on to land the next two– and he did.  “I was so excited about that– ready to go to the Nationals!” said Chandler.  But little did he know, there was trouble brewing.  The day before, during a practice run, Chandler worked with A.J. to practice his toe up start.  He felt some pain in his hip while planting his foot.  It wasn’t a sharp pain, but it was enough to make him reach for the Advil.  He powered through the pain during the jumping on Saturday and then faced it again during his slalom runs on Sunday.  “I did a back deep on the slalom and when I got up, I felt a lot of pain in one leg, but I kept going,” said Chandler.  “When I went for my second run, it felt worse.  As I told the driver my speed and got ready, I was thinking to myself, ‘this is my last run.’  As I started to plant, I could feel my leg wobble a bit and then I felt a pop.”  Chandler had to be helped into the boat and on land– he couldn’t put any weight on his leg.  A trip to the hospital revealed a fractured hip.  “I was pretty upset– I was ready to go to the Nationals and really looking forward to it.”

Knowing Chandler, he’ll be back on the water in no time.  And when the next Figure 8 tournament comes up, you can bet he won’t be sitting on the sidelines.

Written by:  Karen Putz

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Featured Footer: Chandler Cargile”

  1. Randy Scott says:

    You have bounced back after the injury… Now at the Nationals… A sign of a champion. Go Chandler!

Leave a Reply