Posts Tagged ‘Ashleigh Stebbeings’

World Barefoot Center Featured on Talizma

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

The World Barefoot Center crew is featured on Talizma, “Talent Worth Sharing”:

If You Love Water Sports Then This Video Will Thrill You to Core

More on WBC in the news:

WBC Featured in the News

Duane Godfrey: One Foot Turns, A Work in Progress

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

So, I had hoped to finish off the toe-up practice stuff with an accompanying video…but haven’t filmed a video…hence a different topic: Setting up one foot turns

I remember a number of years back at Gliding Soles, that Keith told me about a better way of executing one foot turns. He explained that Eugene Sam had come up with the idea of turning like a stork with the raised foot pinned to the calf of the pivot leg. Keith said it was sound advice and that he was changing his technique.

We had all previously learned the one foot turn as holding one foot BSP, foot straight out front, and then executing the turn by turning the free foot from toes up (front) to toes down (back). This way worked for me (basic only) and my own particular thought was to reach the back px thinking of pointing my heel at the boat – to aid in not flailing the leg. However, I tend to overturn and I am sold on the advice of WBC of pinning the free leg because it will solve important aspects of the turn. When you pin foot to your calf, it forces you to turn with the correct forces and it is harder to throw the turn. Therefore, it is not comfortable when you have previously used other body parts/actions to throw the turn. As recently explained by David Small, the position feels awkward but one eventually adjusts, and the turns become much better controlled. It is better controlled because it
A. forces the proper use of the hips and
B. eliminates a flailing free leg throwing off the C of G hence losing balance….a flailing free leg is a lot of weight/force/distraction to contend with. Watch Ashleigh Stebbeings turn – very little movement, totally compact.

When I see falls from just basic one foots, it is a rarity that the fall occurs while standing on one: it is when the free leg contacts the water; therefore it is imperative that the foot goes back down with as much caution/rhythm as when it is lifted…same thing for turns. Putting the foot down early aborts the turn and will likely cause a fall or if lucky, just downgrade the turn. I am finding by trial and error that the penalty/faceplant for putting down early is not worth the unnecessary caution. Hiking the free leg, especially in the b-f, provides less opportunity to drop down and increases commitment.

I think a lot about skiing at home and what I want to try when I get back to FL. My f-b’s are overthrown and causes the free leg to flail hence adding to an imbalance and a battle to get balance at the back, therefore it is wasted time and setting up for failure. So, I need to setup and keep the free foot glued…relax..don’t overturn…stick the “landing” at the back px by coming down/cushioning. (Another tip from Mr. Small) For b-f (the harder turn and should be higher point value), I need different thoughts for my particular weaknesses -ie being pulled out of position, dropping the free leg, slow to regrab the handle, dropping the “free” shoulder, and being a wimp. Therefore setup with knee hiked, hold the shin flex all the way, and visualize success and the perfect front px. When I let go, keep looking back, hold up free shoulder while hiking the raised knee even higher, maintain strong shoulder, KEEP EYES OPEN, when coming to the front keep that handle in, ensure good knee bend and get that handle……C’mon you can do this as long as you keep that free leg raised HIGH!!!!

The above are what I think of for training and visualization. Then I will have to come up with one or two execution thoughts based on how it’s going and what I need. Finally, when the time comes, I am fortunate to have on-the-scene advice from WBC. You will have your own issues and lists.

Meanwhile I am sold on the pinned free leg concept and will work hard at trying to make my mind and body adjust.

I love this sport!

By: Duane Godfrey

Visualizing one foot turns

Lizzie Rhea: Barefooting Needs More Girls

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014


I would like to encourage all girls who like water sports to try barefooting. Barefooting is an extreme sport that is sort of rare and not many girls do it. A few reasons for the lack of girls in the sport might be because the boat goes very fast, it requires a lot of upper body and core strength, and it can really sting when you fall.

I learned to barefoot on the boom when I was 5 ½ years old. The only reason I did it was because my brother, who was 7, was learning at the time. I have always pushed myself to do whatever my brother does, except for football! I guess having a big brother has made me tough, but I think that any girl who likes water sports can learn to barefoot for fun.


I love it when Coach / Mr. Swampy puts me in an all-girl boat at the World Barefoot Center. It is so much fun to be around other girls who love the sport. I have really enjoyed meeting and skiing with Ariana and Kailey Koehler, and also my hero in the sport, Ashleigh Stebbeings . She is my favorite instructor ever!


At our home lake, I have always loved to barefoot with my friend Haley. Haley made a video of us barefooting when we were little (8 years old), and sent it to a website. I have only one other friend, Emmie, who likes to barefoot. I am desperately trying to get my cousin Caroline to learn. I want her to learn so much that I bought her that barefoot suit in the picture! I think the speed and the hard falls have discouraged her, but I told her about the new Seahorse invention. I really think that she will be able to do it this summer because she can already wakeboard and slalom. I can’t wait to barefoot with her!

My advice for all girls, especially Caroline, is to try barefooting. You will probably end up loving it! Also, don’t worry about the speed. The speed is actually fun, especially when you feel the water gliding beneath your feet! One last thing, if you fall, get up and try it again! Be strong, you can do it! Girls can do anything that boys can do, especially barefooting!

Lizzie Rhea


Reflections of Women’s Barefoot Week 2013

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

The 4th Annual Women’s Barefoot Week has come and gone but the memories will remain forever.   This year we had near-perfect, hot, sunny weather almost every day and of course, the World Barefoot Center crew always finds calm water.   David Small, Ben Groen, Ashleigh Stebbeings, Keith St. Onge, and Swampy Bouchard provided some awesome coaching and instruction. Every single gal experienced success on the water that week!

The guys gamely donned pink Tommie Copper shirts in honor of the gals and the Breast Cancer Campaign at Tommie Copper.  Yes, it takes real men to pull off pink so well!

A special thank you goes out to our sponsors who donated some awesome products for our gals:  Badger Balm, Tommie Copper, Vibram Five Fingers, Barefoot Wine, Hpnotiq, and Crispers.

And anytime you can get a guy to cook, it’s always a good thing.  In the case of Chris Mcwatters, it’s a GREAT thing. Chris put together a wonderful Mexican dinner for all of us.  One thing to note: what Chris labels “mild” is actually HOT.

Judy Myers did a great job once again of organizing and executing Women’s Barefoot Week.  If you’d like to be on the email list for next year’s event, email Judy at  Sorry, guys, it’s for gals only.  Donning a pink shirt will not get you admission to that week.

USA Water Ski Newsletter featuring Women’s Week

By: Karen Putz

Ashleigh Stebbeings New Trick Record

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

It’s official, Ashleigh Stebbeings now has another Open Women’s World Trick Record to her name:

8,800 points.

Congrats, Ashleigh!

Ashleigh Stebbeings: Barefoot Waterskiing Clinic at Bedford Weir, QLD AUST!!

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Each year I travel back to Australia to attend the Australian National Championships and spend some time catching up with family and friends. This year I have been fortunate enough to be doing a few clinics around the region while I am back to promote not only myself but the World Barefoot Center. My goal is to build up the sport of barefoot waterskiing throughout QLD and Australia and would love to see people progress in the sport they love as much as I do. It’s also great to see new faces throughout the region getting involved and so enthusiastic.

My first clinic was a 2 day one at the Blackwater Ski Club located on the Bedford Weir. It is about a 4 hour drive inland from where I live in Mackay, QLD.

Getting ready to leave!!

I drove there accompanied by Milly Grech, another skier from Mackay. We left the afternoon of the 19th of April and arrived just on dark in Emerald, the place we would be staying the next 2 nights. We got up bright and early the next morning to make the hour trek to the river where we would be spending the next 2 days. The weather was a little overcast Saturday morning but as the day went on it got hotter and the water was glass.

Glass Water

Saturday Crew

The river is a beautiful place to barefoot, with long straights and trees to keep it protected from the wind. It was good to see the girls taking control of the boat with the boys being out numbered for once. With the Nationals been and gone the skiers wanted to start learning new tricks and clean up old ones.

12 year old Nik Bray from Emerald worked on his back toe holds and made both his basic and reverse long line. He also had his first go at the line step position and after 2 days was comfortably getting in and out as well as doing both one foots. To finish up he worked turns on shoe skis, he made 3/4 and all were step overs.

Nik's first time trying back toe holds long line

Nik rocking the back line step one foots on his feet!!

Nik working on turns!!

Milly Grech worked on front and back tricks both on the extension and behind the boat. She also did some slalom, impressing the new beginner Casey.

Milly doing a front toe hold!!

Jody Haylock from Emerald did her first full slalom crossing and also got up backwards for the first time. She was all smiles during the pictures below and was cheering with happiness at the feeling of riding backwards!!

Jody working on toe holds

Jody got up backwards for the first time :)

Leanne Cross of Blackwater went back to the basics and worked on her one foot and also one foot one hands. She tried one foot stand ups on the bar for the first time as well as starting to learn backwards where she dipped her feet (or shoe skies) in a couple of times.

Leanne working on one foots

Leanne learning to place her feet in for backwards

David Bray (Brazy or funky pants) tried to keep up with his son Nik and did both back toe holds on his feet on the extension and did his first line step one foots on shoe skis. Brazy said he will have to do some secret training to catch up to Nik!!

Brazy getting into line step for the first time

Brazy doing back one foot, one hands

Casey from Blackwater has tried to step off a ski before but never tried a deep water start. He got his first taste of it on Sunday.

Casey's first attempt on the bar

I would just like to say thanks to the Haylock Family for having us at their house, Jody for organising it and Brazy for allowing us the use of his boat. You guys and girls all did a fantastic job. We shared lots of laughs over the 2 days, it was a great clinic and we couldn’t have gotten better weather if we tried! I look forward to going back in a couple of weeks to do it all over again… but this time for 6 days. Next I am heading up to Cairns, QLD for a 6 day clinic from the 7th May – 12th May.

Nik, Jody & I enjoying the ride back.

Nik & I in our WBC attire :)

Ashleigh Stebbeings

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Best Barefoot Ski School, Biggest Barefoot Ski School & Most Affordable Barefoot Ski School

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Saying we are the Best Barefoot Ski School may be a little biased, but here are a few reasons we could be considered to be the best:

The best Barefoot Water Skiers in the World own and work at the WBC: David Small and Keith St.Onge have won the last six world titles, Ashleigh Stebbeings is the #1 female barefoot water skier in the world and Ben Groen is ranked #4 in the world.  There are some athletes that should only be athletes and not coaches or instructors but these four individuals have the common sense to be both.  Our instructors will not only provide a great service but they are safety conscious and provide a fun atmosphere in the boat while learning.

We have the best equipment and boats.  We use all Barefoot International products (Boom, Tower, Tower Extension), provide shoe skis and ropes & handles by US Gear.  Our boats are a little older, but that is entirely due to the wear and tear these boats go through on a daily basis.  The Sanger outboards have a flat wake, no chin spray off the side and are powered by brand new Evinrude engines.

The World Barefoot Center is the Largest Barefoot Ski School in the history of the sport.  This is a fact because:

We have four boats, fully equipped.
We have five top-level instructors that have titles as professionals, top four on the ranking list, hold world records, and years of experience.
We have four lakes which we use and can accommodate any wind direction.
We have a fully-stocked pro shop.
Our instructors are available seven days a week.
We pulled 22 skiers in one day, which is a record as far as we have ever heard.

Most Affordable prices:
Our clients can simply do their homework and Google our competitors prices.  The World Barefoot Center prices are the most reasonable, affordable, and fair-priced compared to any other barefoot ski school.


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Ashleigh Stebbeings and Peter O’Neill are Athletes of the Year

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation has selected Ashleigh Stebbeings and Peter O’Neill as Barefoot Athletes of the Year for 2012.

2012 Male and Female IWWF Barefoot Athletes of the Year!

Dec 19, 2012
Ashleigh Stebbeings and Peter O’Neill, both members of the 2012 Gold Medal Australian Team, have been selected by the World Barefoot Council as the Atheltes of the year for 2012.

Both of these individuals contributed team points in all three events to ensure the Australian Team of the Gold Medal at the 2012 World Barefoot Championships. Not since 1985 have the Australians held the Gold Medal position.

Please take a moment to check out thier 2012 accomplishments and nominations at Just click on the Awards link on the left and follow to Athelte of the Year. By Clicking their photos you can view the Bio for each of these amazing atheltes.

All the best to everyone in our community for a wonderful Holiday Season. More exciting news to follow!

Richard Gray
Chairman, World Barefoot Council

Daily Mercury, Stebbeings Named Athlete of the Year

Ashleigh Stebbeings sets a NEW WORLD RECORD in the Open Womens Trick Event of 5,050 pts!!!

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Ashleigh Stebbeings (AUS) made history on June 23, 2012 at the Southern Glass 2012 Barefoot Waterski Tournament held in Port St. Lucie, FL. Ashleigh set a new Women’s Barefoot Trick Record of 5050 Pts. and became the first women in history to push the World Record over the 5000 point mark.” – World Barefoot Council

The Trick Pass was as follows:

First Pass: Toe Up, 180 Front to Back, 180 Back to Front, 180 Front to Back Reverse, 180 Back to Front Reverse, 180 1 Foot Front to Back, 180 1 Foot Back to Front, 180 1 Foot Front to Back Reverse, 180 1 Foot Back to Front Reverse (downgraded 100 pts) then fall on a toe back! The first pass came out to 2600 pts.

Second Pass: Back Deep Water Start, Line Step Hop (not credit due to the video footage), Line Step 1 Foot, Line Step 1 Foot Reverse, 360 Back to Back, 360 Back to Back Reverse, 540 Back to Front, Toe Back (not credit as time has expired)! The second pass was 2450 pts.

I would like to say a special thanks to my Dad and Swampy for everything they have done for my skiing. My skiing wouldn’t be where it is today without them both. They have put their heart and soul into my skiing and I really hope they know how much I appreciate it. I would also like to thank everyone at the World Barefoot Center, my family and all the barefooters in Australia and around the world for their constant support. It means the world to me and it was such an amazing feeling to FINALLY break the 11 year old record! I hope to continue to move forward and that the girls can continue to raise the bar higher.

Ashleigh Stebbeings, AUS

How to Barefoot Backwards (Back Deep Water Start)

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Glen Plake, Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

Hook Ankle Under Rope

So you’re ready to start learning how to barefoot backwards?   Before you start, here a quick few pointers that will make things go a little smoother and keep the “nasal water logging” to a minimum. (And there’s always nose tape for that!)

To get up backwards we are going to stick to three simple steps:

-Planing on your belly and riding the plant.

-Transitioning from the plant to backwards barefooting position.

-Position while skiing backwards.


Roll Over Onto Belly

Float on your back, place the handle between legs and reach behind and grab it with both hands, hook one of your ankles under the rope

Time to take a deep breath and roll over, making sure you keep your body, arms, and legs straight. You will only be unable to breathe for maybe a second.  The driver should now pull you out of the water at a nice SLOW speed (too fast and you begin to porpoise and bounce). The water line should be breaking right around your knees.  10-12 mph will be your speed.

Now in this position you should easily be able to plane on your belly – making sure you are pushing your chest towards the water (this will create an air pocket and you will be able to breathe), and staying stiff like a board. This will not only allow you to breathe but it will also keep you from

Stay Stiff As A Board

bouncing and you will be in much more control. Once you are comfortable with this position, very slowly take your feet off the rope, and before being able to plant you will need to make sure you flex your feet.

This means pulling your toes back towards your ankles (it is very important not to point your toes otherwise they will go straight through). Turn outwards to a 45 degree angle and slowly place them onto the water, a little wider then hips width (an exercise to do to practice gliding on your feet would be to do one foot at a time with one foot staying hooked on the line and getting the feeling of the water coming off your feet – once you have them in the right position the water should flex the feet automatically for you, you shouldn’t push against the water or curl your toes down Once you are comfortable with one foot, put it back on the rope and repeat with the other.)

Take Feet Off Of The Rope

While doing this, the rest of your body should be fairly relaxed.  Once you are comfortable enough to plant with both feet you should be able to ride this position comfortably for 30 seconds. If you can’t do this because you are out of control, it can mean you’re not allowing the water to flex your feet, which means you will be gas pedaling (pointing toes or gripping). Remember-at no POINT should you ever pull in on your arms. You should still be remained with your chest pushed into the water.

Once you can glide with your feet on the water you are ready for the next step.


Now that you can ride, on your chest, with your feet planted in the water,

Planting Feet

you will need to, what we call BREAK, which means pushing your chest and chin down while allowing your hips (butt) to push up towards the sky. This is very important factor. Imagine sticking your head between your legs so that you’re folding in half. While you break and you feel your upper body starting to lift you will need to make sure that you start to pull your legs closer so it makes it easier to stand (about shoulder width). Keep rotating your feet and knees inwards.

A key factor in the breaking point is to WAIT as long as you can and to allow the boat to do the work. AT NO POINT DURING THIS STAGE should you try to lift your upper body and/or head to try and stand. You MUST wait, wait, wait and then when you think you have waited long enough, wait some more. This is the part most people have trouble with.

Pushing Chin Down And Hips Up

Keep pushing your hips upwards as you rotate your feet inward (feet should be parallel to one another) until you feel the water on your chin. You will need to maintain bent knees and make sure you don’t come up too tall.


Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far, you’re now barefooting backwards!!! Now that you’re up and skiing however, you need to keep focused and make sure you are in a solid position. You want to be broken away at the hips, but still arching your back, and keeping your head up, your knees should be bent into athlete position, with your arms straight, and glued to your butt. (If the handle is away from your butt, you will be pulled out over the back much easier). If you are sliding around a lot, get off those toes and ski flat on your feet!! Using the whole surface of you


foot (Water line should be up around your instep) will allow you to glide easily on the water, instead of sliding around or pushing water.  The driver should not exceed speeds over 28-32 mph depending on the size of the skier.   If the skier is having difficulty at this speed they do not have the correct position.  Any faster can result in a hard fall.

Driver Notes:

Boom height.

Higher booms will make it harder for the skier to slowly put their feet in the water and they might end up dumping them into the water, whereas if the boom isn’t high enough it will make it harder for the skier to get up. The boom should really sit around the skiers shoulder height when in

Backwards Position

the back barefoot position. (About 4-5 feet off the water)

Boat speeds.

– Planing stage: A nice SLOW (10-12 mph) speed-if bouncing occurs, you’re going too fast.

– Planting: Once you can see that the skier has got a firm even plant then it is time to bring the boat up to speed (this is a smooth, consistent, and gradual movement on the throttle.)

– Standing speed: This depends on the weight of the skier, but most people up to 200lbs will be able to backwards barefoot happily at no more than 32 mph.  More speed will only be applied after several miles have been occurred on their feet.  This means several sets and 20 days or more of skiing backwards.   Do not be in a hurry to do back one foots as this should be done on shoe skis first!

-Ending the pass: Unlike when your skier is going forwards, he/she can’t see when the end of the run is coming up!!! While this seems pretty straight forward, you’ll save a lot of last minute head smashers if you just ease off very gradually, letting the skier know the end is coming and giving them time to let go and lean away, instead of suddenly losing speed and going head over heels!!

–       Ashleigh Stebbeings, Australia

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