James Callahan: My First Barefoot Nationals

August 21st, 2015

I recently participated in my first Barefoot Nationals Tournament at Blue Moo Lake in Alma Center, Wisconsin. It was so much fun and everyone was so nice and helpful. The judges and the driver made me feel a lot better and I was not as nervous as I was before.  After I was done everyone was congratulating me.

I received my first medal.  I got silver in tricks and slalom.  Everyone was cheering and clapping and I felt very proud of myself scoring a new personal best in slalom.  Of course, I would’ve like to have gold, but I was glad the gold went to Brice Storman – my fellow WBC teammate.

Some of the highlights were seeing veteran barefooter, Jim Boyette,  who has gone to every Barefoot Nationals, since the 70s.  Also, it was awesome watching Landen Ehlers shatter his pb (personal best) in Slalom and Tricks.  KSO makes everything look so easy.  It was especially cool watching the night jumping.  After going to regionals and nationals, I realized how welcoming and supportive the barefoot community is.  I’m glad I picked up this sport.
Congratulations to Ashleigh on her pending World Record in slalom.  Also, a major shout out to all the instructors at WBC for their great instruction. Thanks and I look forward to working towards my goal of qualifying for Worlds back at Blue Moo Lake in 2016.
Sincerely,
James Callahan
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Duane Godfrey – New Zealand

August 18th, 2015

When we exchange contact info at ski schools or competitions, pledging to meet again, I am very fortunate being able to travel and visit fellow skiers.

My recent trips to NZ were highlighted through spending time with Kathy and Roger Duxfield. These two are the ultimate hosts/tour guides and we had a wonderful time experiencing this beautiful country. Every day was a complete pleasure and full of two things I love – exercise and seeing new things.

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On my first arrival in early Dec, I hiked for a few days then got hold of Kathy and met her and her son Jaydn at their ski lake – the Piarere Waterski Club. We both did a bit of skiing and earned my first NZ waterski federation badge. It is a very interesting site and we enjoyed just cruising around the Lake while Kathy gave us a guided tour of location and showed us around the club where they hold their tournaments.

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Later in Jan after my daughter’s wedding in Tauranga, we drove down to Putaruru and spent a few days with Kathy and Roger. Roger is jack of all trades and master of all – has lived an exciting life and could keep us entertained with his ongoing adventures and misadventures through his travels and endeavors all around the world. Early the first morn we took in the twice daily milking of approx 250 cows while Roger explained all that goes into ensuring quality control through a computerized system – all brand new to this city slicker. We went into town that afternoon to drop off a couple bicycles for repair then walked around town while Kathy saw a chiropractor about her neck injury – pretty unfortunate and we will all hope she recovers soon.

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Kathy and Roger were busy planning day trips and they almost got us way up island for some scuba diving. The tanks were sold out so we opted to stay down south for a hike along the Terawera trail with Kathy’s healthy and fit parents. The hike has you follow the river downstream and it literally disappears down a few holes; you can hear and feel it rumbling after it vanishes. About 1/2 Km later it reappears blasting out of a mountain face.

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The water is a beautiful blue and forms quiet pools with a deceptively strong current in the middle. There I totally skinned my knuckle to the bone with an unsuccessful Tarzan rope entry into one of the pools. (This was preceded by bruised face and back from perfect 3/4 gainer and splendid 1 and 1/4 back flip layout from a cliff at Mclaren Falls…I defy anyone to duplicate this feat!)

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On our last day, Kathy drove with us to the Waitomo caves and got us a great deal on a tour of the caves famous for the glowworms. We departed north bound in two vehicles and stopped in the visit Peter and Teresa Old who have turned a quarry into a world class ski lake. Again, typical NZ hospitality while enjoying the company and scenery from the deck of their lakehouse. Peter ran me down the lake a few times behind his Sanger with SFH.

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To top off the trip I rocketed down his 100m waterslide, thinking as surfaced in the lake “gee the water is really itchy”!  That itch was two elbows totally skinned in my not have sense to keep my arms tucked in as I approached terminal velocity. A quick coating of polysporin and off we raced for AKL and the trip home. Numerous reapplications of polysporin over the next month gave a nice reminder of how much fun we had…and look forward to more, though forewarned of proper bobsled technique and maybe brushing up on vine swinging and the high divin’ act.

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Twas a great trip. Many thanks to the Duxfields and this sport of barefoot skiing that attracts quality folk and creates friendship with like minded people from all over the world.

– By Duane Godfrey

 

Alex Youngblood – One Barefooting Season

June 22nd, 2015

You learn A LOT in one barefoot season. So you can never misuse it. You have to be committed to it. I was really set on learning the toe up this year, but I got a really late start, I didn’t start training till the start of July. So I struggled in the time I had, but when I went out to practice, I never put this trick off. I didn’t spend my whole set on it, but I practiced it every time I went out. I struggled with it, so then me and my dad looked for some ways to make it easier, and we found a method that sounded less rough. So it was about middle September, one of our last runs of the barefoot season. I went out and when I went to do the toe up, all of those days I worked and practiced finally paid off, I stood up, and got out of the toe strap steadily. I had just done a Front toe up! I was really happy. But I learned a bunch from that trick. IF you want something, you have to be committed and go for it. My dad said to me “Alex, this stuff doesn’t happen overnight; you have to put your time and work into it.” It’s true, you learn a lot on one barefoot season.

 

Lexi McCauley – First trip to WBC

June 20th, 2015

In the Winter of 2012, I knew I was going to the WBC but I didn’t know it was such a big deal.  Christmas morning I got my WBC bag, foot print necklace, a footprint towel, and an airplane ticket.  My mom even made me feet and airplane cookies.  My dog got into the cookies so I didn’t get to eat those.  I was really excited to go with my Aunt Tina and sister Sydney.  I had to wait 4 months until I got to go on Spring Break. A couple of weeks before we left my parents explained to me how big of a deal it was to go ski with the world champs.  I wanted to go so bad and that day was taking so long to come.  The day came after a sleepless night because I was nervous to ski and had never been on a plane. I was also scared I wasn’t going to be able to get up because I hadn’t skied since nationals.   We went to the airport and said goodbyes which almost made me cried. We finally left for Florida.

Our flight landed very late and I slept on my way to the hotel.  We got up early to be ready to go to the WBC. When we got there everybody treated me as part of the family. I met so many people I can’t even count but I won’t forget them.  I learned a lot of things my first trip to the WBC and will as I continue more trips. I am now a part of the sport.

 

Alex Youngblood – Music and Motivation

June 18th, 2015

I’ve always had trouble in the motive part of Barefooting, or in other words I wasn’t motivated enough, so I needed something to motivate me. So I started listening to music before I went out, and that really helped because I would go out timid and scared to fall and not really focused, but the music kind of mellowed mw out and gave me this mindset that like, if I fall, I will just have to get back up. I hear a lot of the really advanced barefooters say that Barefooting is 99 percent mental and 1 percent physical, and they are more than right. If you go out thinking you are going to fall, you’re going to fall. If there is one thing I have learned, it is you are never productive with a bad attitude. Music is a really good way to reset your mind. Music isn’t the only thing that motivated me this year. When I went to regional and national tournament, I had some really good competition that could do more than me.  I thought, wow, I got some work to do!!!! Hard work can beat talent anytime, if someone wants it more than you, they will get it. SO motivation and mind set is a huge thing in barefoot waterskiing.

Sam Merideth – First Barefooting Experience

June 16th, 2015

Me and my pals had just passed our driving tests at 17 and wanted to do a lads holiday abroad for a couple of weeks and make it a road trip. My pal Alex had a speed boat and we thought it would be a good idea to take it with us and try and get a camp site situated near a lake. We booked into a Euro camp with a complimentary lake membership and quite a lively place. The lake was huge 3 miles across and long we messed about the first few days on the ringo’s and kneeboarding trying to impress anyone else on the lake but failing in most cases.

 

On the second week we had spent a whole day skiing and were just about to come back in and I had seen Dave Small skiing on a video barefoot someone from chasewater had recorded and I really wanted to have a go. With just my board shorts on I stuffed some foam padding  down them and was ready to go. Alex said as soon as I sit on the water to keep my feet on the line until he brings the speed up. The first few times I tried I took my feet off the line way too soon and was getting so frustrated it felt a lot faster than I was actually going, when he told me he was only going 30mph I was in shock. We were just about to head in and I thought id give it one last go but I was determined to hold on and wait for the speed.

 

My last attempt I sat on the water and waited it seemed to take forever for the boat to get up to speed but we finally got there. I was in the wake Alex put his arm up when we hit about 40mph and I took my feet of the line I put my feet on the rough wake and pressed down slowly and stood for about all of 2 seconds, then face planted infront of a fishing boat. I was in such a buzz after standing on the water even if it was such a small amount of time, I have huge respect for Dave Small and his ability at that age. When we returned to the UK we spent that winter skiing and very occasionally having a go on the short line and give barefoot skiing a go but never managed to stand for more than 30 seconds it seemed to be pure luck to stand for longer than a minute.

 

Will Rhea – First Time Longline

June 14th, 2015

I learned to barefoot on the boom the summer I turned 8 years old. The first three years, I only barefooted off of the boom. I learned to tunble turn and do one foots and hops. The thought of trying it longline never occurred to me until I participated in a ski clinic for the first time at 11 years old.

My instructor surprised me when he told me it was time to go behind the boat. He made me hold a wakeboard between my legs with a 75 foot rope hanging off the boom, so there would be no wake. I got up on the third try, then he put the rope behind the boat. I got up again, and felt so excited. I could not wait to show my Dad.

I used the wakeboard to get up for a few weeks, then I decided to learn a deep water start. I hated the spray in my face and up my nose. It felt so different from the boom and even the wakeboard starts. It took me a long time to get used to it, and I almost gave up. I am so glad that I didn’t.

Learning a new trick in barefooting is a lot like that first summer of getting up longline. It is really hard and sometimes makes you scared, and you may even feel like you want to give up. If you keep working on it though, you will get it eventually, and nothing feels better than that!

 

Lizzie Rhea – Off Season Blues

June 12th, 2015

This is the 5th snow day in a row for me. I love being out of school and playing in the snow, but sometimes all I can think about is summer! I hate not being able to barefoot for almost 6 months! Our boat has been in storage since October, and I have to wait until April to get it back out again. Even then it will be pretty cold on the water. Needless to say, I do not like the off season!

I love the summer because it is so great to be out of school and enjoying my favorite sport in the hot weather. It is almost March, and I am starting to count the days until I can barefoot again. I can’t wait to get back out there!

The great thing about the WBC is that you can barefoot any time of the year! Last year, I got to go there for three long weekends in the middle of the winter. It was awesome! I love Florida because it is full of warmth and sunshine. This year we are going snow skiing in Colorado for spring break, which will be fun, but I am a little sad that we won’t be going to the WBC!

 

 

Johnathan Martines – Life Lessons

June 10th, 2015

For as long as I can remember, almost all of my free time has been spent on the water. This time on the water has been a major factor in becoming who I am today. Through barefooting, I have learned a number of life lessons that I believe will be helpful if I plan on having a successful future.

Firstly, through watersports, I learned the value of hard work. Through spending hours upon end on the water working on one skill, I learned that the only way to truly accomplish something valuable is through hard work and failure. Whether it is on the water, in school, or on the job, the only way for me to truly succeed and value what I have accomplished is through trying and failing hundreds of times before finally getting it right.

Along with hard work, I have also learned that change is integral to succeed. When a person fails to perform a skill on the water, they have two options: to give up or to change so that they will be able to accomplish their goal next time. I have taken this concept and made it a huge part of my daily life. When I make a mistake in any aspect of my life, I take some time to reflect on what had happened and how I could act differently so that the mistake doesn’t happen again.

By far the most important thing watersports has taught me is accountability. Every summer, I train and help out at the WBC. This past summer, I began learning to instruct others, which was my toughest challenge to date. Through this experience, I have learned that people’s goals and money are riding on my actions. If I show up in the boat every morning late and unenthusiastic, people are likely to become frustrated and not accomplish their goals. As a result, I have learned that my actions directly affect the success of others, and if I fail to do what needs to be done on my part, I must recognize this, apologize to the people I affected, and change my actions so that the situation will never happen again.

Without watersports and my experiences within the industry, I definitely would not be the man I am today. These lessons have helped me recognize that I am not perfect, and to become a better human, self refelection and evolution is necessary. These self realizations are lessons that I plan to carry with me for the rest of my life and implement in all aspects of my life in order to become a more reliable and determined person so that I will continue to evolve throughout the rest of my life.

 

 

 

Lexi McCauley – Family ski on Father’s Day

June 8th, 2015

On Father’s Day, my dad wanted the four of us, my brother, my sister, my dad, and I, to ski long line together. “That’s easy enough!” I thought. We couldn’t do it on Father’s Day because it was raining and very windy. So, we did it the following weekend. My dad got the ropes and handles ready to go in we were so excited! At that time we only had a fly high, so two people would go on there, one on the boom, and one on the pylon. The first few times, the rope kept getting tangled. Once we got them, we all couldn’t get outside the wake. The next time we tried, my dad rolled over my brother. So, we figured let’s have dad stand on the inside. When we were already to go, a fishing boat flu beside us and had to wait for the rollers. Once the lake was flat again, we all yelled okay and next thing we knew we were all standing and smiling for picture. My feet were burning, my dad’s were sinking, and my brother and sisters were fine. Even though the gift came late, it was still the best day spent with my dad and family.

 

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