Featured Footer: Ted Baber

Ted Baber at World Barefoot Center

In the winter of 2010, 16-year-old Ted Baber flew in from Bristol, England to take barefoot lessons from David Small at the World Barefoot Center during a family trip to Florida. The teen had competed in slalom events for water skiing back home, but he had never barefooted. It was a cold day in February, but Ted quickly warmed up with excitement the moment he placed his feet on the water.

“Dave is British and the top skier in the United Kingdom,” said Ted. “I met him before at a few tournaments, so I was excited to learn to barefoot with him.”

Ted spent five and half days at the WBC and picked up a variety of skills. “I learned to barefoot backwards on shoe skis,” said Ted.  “I was so excited! I didn’t get it right away at first, it took me three days.”  Ted enjoyed the whole experience of learning this new sport and all the terminology that came with it. He asked his parents for another opportunity to head to the World Barefoot Center to learn more.

backwards, ted baber, world barefoot center

In April, 2010 Ted returned to the WBC for ten days of instruction.  The ten days stretched into twenty, as travel back home was restricted by the ash cloud that drifted from Iceland.  The extra days on the water paid off.  “I learned the back toe hold,  line step position,  tumbles to one,  two foot slalom and  long line backwards on feet,” said Ted.  “I even went over the jump on shoes and landed my first jump!”  Before he left, he signed on as a sponsored skier.  “I like the challenge of barefooting– I’m passionate about it.”

As soon as he arrived home, Ted continued to practice what he learned.  Ted competed in the British Nationals as his first tournament. “I was nervous, but I tricked like 617 and I slalomed a 3.4.”  He went on to compete in the Europeans and improved his scores.  He was selected for the UK Junior team and spent hours on the water with his father driving the boat, practicing his slalom runs over a huge wake. Ted flew to Germany and competed in the 2010 Worlds.  This was an amazing accomplishment for a kid who learned to barefoot in less than a year.

“Tricks are my favorite event,” said Ted.  “My favorite trick is the front-to-back.  It was hard to learn and I took a lot of hard falls.  But I don’t get frustrated–  I keep trying. I was relived and happy when I finally did it.”

Ted Baber, world barefoot center

Ted threw his shoulder out in the spring of 2011, tearing a ligament and pinching a nerve, but he didn’t let it stop him on the water.  He’s working on honing his surface turns and one foot turns.

“Ted is a great kid with huge talent and the right attitude to succeed in the sport of barefooting,” said David Small. “He has come a very long way in the last few years, on and off the water, and it’s a pleasure to watch him grow. I look forward to seeing how far the WBC team can take him!”

No matter  how bad it gets it’s fun to be out on the water,” said Ted. “A bad day on the water is better than a good day in school.”   Lucky for Ted, the teen has graduated and is done with school. More time for him to play on the water!

Here’s a video with a few clips of Ted on the water:

CHRISTMAS FOOTING from WorldBarefootCenter on Vimeo.

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