Jim Forster – My First Barefooting Tournament

June 3rd, 2015

 As I begin my 15th year of barefoot competition, I look back at all the fun that I’ve had along the way. But it all had to start somewhere and in October of 2000 I found myself about to ski in my first barefoot tournament just north of New Orleans in the Monster Mash. I had always wondered what it would be like to compete against other barefoot skiers, and with a little encouragement of some of my regular barefooting partners, I was told of a ‘skier friendly’, but standings list tournament that was held down in the Pearl River canal every year the weekend before Halloween. Dicky Robertson, David Harper and Richard Grant all came together to host the tournament in Louisiana, and let me tell you, it was a fun experience! I contacted the Tournament Director ( David ) and he talked me through the registration process. Before you could say ‘ in gear’, I booked my airline ticket, hotel room and rental car and eagerly awaited the upcoming tournament. Keith St.Onge and Lane Bowers were also conducting clinics during the 3 days prior to the tournament, so I booked 2 days with KSO, whom I had never skied with. 


When I arrived, I drove up from the New Orleans airport to clinic site, which was at Richard Grant’s place, just south of where the tournament would be held. Being new to the tournament scene, I didn’t know a person there, but everybody was eager to answer my questions and show me around. I met Lee Stone, Pat Scippa, Blake Ehlers, Jimmy Taurus, Mike Hartman, Phil Gustafson, Andrea Eggert, Jan Cummings and the rest of the Austin Barefoot Club crew, by far, the largest group there. I also met a lot of skiers from Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida and slowly I started to understand how close knit the barefooting community was. They all provided me with tips and rule explanations, but always made me feel at ease. During my 2 days skiing with KSO in his clinic, I had a chance to practice calling starts and speeds and put together my trick run, as well as practice wake slalom. It was fun and I knew that I was going to enjoy the thrill of competing, but in a friendly atmosphere.


The night before the tournament, Richard Grant hosted a pre-tournament cookout and bon fire at his house there on the canal. There was plenty of shrimp, oysters, drink and fun for everybody. It was truly a great way to start the weekend. The morning of the tournament, I was up early and a little nervous, but once the skiing started, I watched other skiers and started to settle in. Soon it was my turn and I started with tricks and scored a 1300, including a toe up. In wakes I posted a 6.3 to give me first place in both events in the Novice Division. But most importantly, it was the whole experience of meeting and skiing with fellow skiers and all their hospitality that made it such a great experience.That evening, we all drove into New Orleans to celebrate and it was a fun time walking along Bourbon Street and taking in all the night life. On Sunday, there was a bonus round of skiing and later, we all packed up and went our separate ways, but not before a lot of hugs and handshakes were exchanged. On my airline flights home, I looked back and knew that I would be back again next year. I continued to ski in the Monster Mash for the next 4 years, and now it is no longer being held. Who knows, maybe with a little encouragement, it will be resurrected again. To this day, I continue to think fondly of my very first barefoot tournament experience and encourage all barefooters to take the challenge, compete in a tournament…….you will be surprised at how much fun you might have! 
IMG_0555

 

Braving the cold – Sam Meredith

June 1st, 2015

Sam cold skiingLiving in Britain, a big obstacle to overcome is the cold weather. In the winter months if you are diehard about the sport and want to progress, skiing in cold weather is necessary. Skiing during the winter months in Britain where the temperatures rarely break 40 degrees, preparation must be taken to keep warm. Quite often cooler weather is associated with rough water conditions but I find most winter mornings you can find flat water without too much of a struggle.

Warming up is very important ensuring you get good blood flow to your muscles prior to your ski set. I would recommend wearing your barefoot suit or padded shorts under a dry suit in low temperatures. Ensure the zip is completely sealed before getting in the water. Skiing in the dry suit is slightly restrictive compared to skiing in just a barefoot suit and can feel quite uncomfortable but you get used to it. The neck and under arms are the two main areas for heat loss. In icy conditions I usually wear a head band as the wind chill on your forehead creates a stinging pain. To avoid getting a chill before skiing put the dry/wetsuit on in a warm building or car, this will prevent the period of near nakedness in the cool breeze while putting the suit on at the dock. If there is a group of us skiing normally two of us ski back to back sets whilst the other skiers wait in the warm.

Whilst on the water you will find that the cooler weather makes you a little less flexible and more difficult to bend your knees, you must concentrate and make an extra effort to complete things correctly. You will also find your reactions are slower because of the stiffness in your muscles, considering this you must anticipate the slower reactions and avoid problems with increased concentration. When you come in from skiing ensure there are facilities for a hot shower or bath to warm your body up quickly and effectively ready for your next set, if you’re using a wet suit leave the wetsuit on there’s nothing worse than putting on a cold wetsuit.

Choosing The Right Coach

May 29th, 2015

 

 

Submitted by Joni Gerard
Concepts Written by Steven Coyle from The Little Book of Talents

TIP #12
FIVE WAYS TO PICK A HIGH-QUALITY TEACHER OR COACH

Great teachers, coaches, and mentors, like any rare species, can be identified by a few characteristic traits. The following rules are designed to help you sort through the candidates and make the best choice for yourself.


1) Avoid Someone Who Reminds You of a Courteous Waiter
This species of teacher/coach/mentor is increasingly abundant in our world: one who focuses his efforts on keeping you comfortable and happy, on making things go smoothly, with a minimum of effort. This is the kind of person who covers a lot of material in a short time, smiles a lot, and says things like, “Don’t worry, no problem, we can take care of that later.” This is a good person to have as your waiter in a restaurant, but a terrible person to have as your teacher, coach, or mentor.


2) Seek Someone Who Scares You a Little
In contrast to encounters with courteous waiters, encounters with great teachers/coaches/mentors tend to be filled with unfamiliar emotion: feelings of respect, admiration, and, often, a shiver of fear. This is a good sign. Look for someone who:
Watches you closely: He is interested in figuring you out—what you want, where you’re coming from, what motivates you.
Is action-oriented: She often won’t want to spend a lot of time chatting—instead, she’ll want to jump into a few activities immediately, so she
can get a feel for you and vice versa.
Is honest, sometimes unnervingly so: He will tell you the truth about your performance in clear language. This stings at first. But you’ll come to see that it’s not personal—it’s the information you can use to get better.
It’s worth noting that the word “coach” originally came from kocsi, the Hungarian word for “carriage.” You’re not looking for a buddy or a parent figure. You’re looking for someone solid, someone you trust, someone with whom you take a journey.


3) Seek Someone Who Gives Short, Clear Directions
Most great teachers/coaches/mentors do not give long-winded speeches. They do not give sermons or long lectures. Instead, they give short, unmistakably clear directions; they guide you to a target.
John Wooden, the UCLA basketball coach who is widely considered one of the greatest teachers of all time, was once the subject of a yearlong study that captured everything he said to his team. Wooden didn’t give long speeches; in fact, his average utterance lasted only four seconds. This underlines a large truth: Teaching is not an eloquence contest; it is about creating a connection and delivering useful information.


4) Seek Someone Who Loves Teaching Fundamentals
Great teachers will often spend entire practice sessions on one seemingly small fundamental—for example, the way you grip a golf club, or the way you pluck a single note on a guitar. This might seem strange, but it reflects their understanding of a vital reality: These fundamentals are the core of your skills (see Tip #10). The more advanced you are, the more crucial they become.


5) Other Things Being Equal, Pick the Older Person
Teaching is like any other talent: It takes time to grow. This is why so many hotbeds are led by people in their sixties and seventies. Great teachers are first and foremost learners, who improve their skills with each passing year. That’s not to say there aren’t any good teachers under thirty—there are. Nor is it to say that every coach with gray hair is a genius—they’re not. But other things being equal, go with someone older.

 

by Joni Gerard

 

 

 

Brice Storman – The First Time

April 10th, 2015

My first day at WBC was pretty awkward. I knew I was around the best barefooters you could meet and I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself.  We go out on the boat and I’m the last one to ski. When I’m up to ski my heart starts racing as I plop in the water. Ben Groen, my instructor for the time spent over at WBC, is one of the coolest and nicest people you could meet. He put me out on the seahorse first, which I thought was for sissies; I thanked him in my head for taking me off. Then the thanking reversed. The boom was so hard but I didn’t complain. I took so many falls it felt like forever but it really wasn’t. Fall after fall, my confidence depletes. The third day Ben has the idea of putting me back on the seahorse and I feel so embarrassed. But it works: first try, I stood up on the boom. A couple tries later, I’m on the short line and it’s awesome.

Thank goodness Ben never gave up on me and I never gave up on him!

unnamed

Brice Storman – Summer 2013

March 30th, 2015

2I had just learned how to slalom ski and I thought it was the time of my life, just weaving back and forth through the water. Amazing, I thought. As summer neared its end, my dad told me about this insane water sport called BAREFOOTING. At first that sounded like some lame sport that nobody’s ever heard of. Then my dad showed me a video of it and it was the coolest thing ever. My dad asked me if I wanted to try it next summer and I said yes as enthusiastic as my worried mind would let me.

A year passed and the barefooting thing had slipped from my mind but it hadn’t slipped from my dad’s. He reminded me mid-summer and I tried to make the excuse that we didn’t have anywhere to go to barefoot. But he already found a place to go. He said WBC. So we went and checked it out. 6 or 7 months later, I’m now a sponsored skier and skiing every weekend, having the time of my life with some of the coolest people you could meet.

main

 

2015 WBC Suits Now Available for PreOrder ONLINE!!

March 24th, 2015

Our 2015 WBC Barefoot Suits will be arriving shortly. Don’t miss out on your favorite and pre order one online now. Our Adult Range includes the “Wired” in various colors and a new designed “Graffiti”. We also are coming out with our first Junior Suit Range which includes the “Wired” in various colors. http://store.worldbarefootcenter.com/wetsuits/

50+ Senior Barefooter Weekend!!

March 18th, 2015

ATTENTION 50+ BAREFOOTERS!!

Ted Eisenstat and Judy Myers are organizing a 3 day Senior Barefooters Events to be held at the World Barefoot Center in Winter Haven, FL. This event will include 3 days of instruction from the World Class Instructors of the WBC.

The dates are May 15th, 16th & 17th, 2015. The event is for 50+ age barefooters.

The cost are as follows:

  • 1 day @ $195.00
  • 2 days @ $390.00
  • 3 days @ $550.00

For more information you can contact Judy Myers at her email oldbarefooter@mac.com.

Highest Scoring Barefoot Act Award at the D2 Show Ski Nationals Tournament

January 2nd, 2015

The World Barefoot Center likes to support Show Skiing and had the honor to sponsored the Highest Scoring Barefoot Act  at the Division 2 Show Ski National Tournament.

Highest Scoring Barefoot Act Award at the Division 2 Show Ski National Tournament goes to the Lake City Skiers

Team WBC would like to Congratulate the Lake City Skiers for their achievement.

Highest Scoring Barefoot Act Award at the D1 Show Ski Nationals Tournament

January 2nd, 2015

The World Barefoot Center likes to support Show Skiing and had the honor to sponsored the Highest Scoring Barefoot Act  at the Division 1 Show Ski National Tournament.

Highest Scoring Act at the D1 Show Ski National Tournament Awarded by the World Barefoot Center

Congratulations to the Rock Aqua Jays on their huge barefoot line from Team WBC!!

Lizzie Rhea: Jumping Inverted for a Dog

December 6th, 2014

 

IMG_5223.JPG

One of my most exciting experiences was at the WBC during fall break this year. My Dad really wanted me to start trying to jump inverted, so he made a deal with me that if I jumped inverted on the 5 foot rope, he would get allergy shots, so that I could get a dog. I have always wanted a dog, but my Dad is really allergic to them. My Dad wanted video evidence of the jump. We shook on it and made the deal official.

I was not even close to jumping inverted, and Ben Groen did not think I could do it after that first day. I tried a million times. I thought I could not do it, and I gave up. I was so sad that I could not even eat supper that night. I could not stop thinking about it, and it was driving me nuts!

The next day, I went back to the WBC thinking that I would not even try it anymore. (I kept thinking that it was not very smart to hit a piece of fiberglass on my bare feet going 40 mph anyway!) However, David Small was determined that I could and would do it, and get my dog! I had to trust him because he is the best jumper in the world. I knew if I listened to him, I would have a chance. He is always good at motivating me and making me believe in myself. I decided to put my game face on and try again.

The first 3 jumps on the boom were awesome, so David let me move to the rope, which wasn’t so awesome! He kept telling me to raise early, but my body just wouldn’t do it for some reason! I was getting really frustrated because my set was almost over. I had to keep telling myself that I could do it.

David told me he would let me try the 5 foot rope if I promised to raise early. Of course I didn’t do it the first couple of times, but all of the sudden I did it on my 3rd attempt. Mrs. Karen Putz got a video of it and sent it to my Dad.

My Dad went to an allergy doctor and has just started taking weekly shots. It will take at least 6 more months, but I am going to get a chocolate toy poodle just like Charlie, David Small’s dog. I am going to name him Dave, in honor of David Small, because I am so thankful that he didn’t give up on me. I can’t wait until I get it!

Lizzie Rhea