Posts Tagged ‘backwards’

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.

1.  PLANING ON YOUR BELLY AND RIDING THE PLANT

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.

2. TRANSITIONING INTO A STANDING POSITION

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.

3. BACKWARDS BAREFOOTING POSITION

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

Breaking

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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David Small Barefoot Clinic in Washington State with Big A and his goats :)

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Adin Danneker put this clinic on on his private lake in Olympia, Washington.

Adins perfect water ski lake


On Adins lake there are two decent sized turn islands which were getting a little over grown so on one of the days where it was a little windy we took some time out, took an hour drive and bought a couple of goats. The kids at the lake named them Jerry and Dude.

The transportation of the goats to the turn island on the lake


Once back to the house we transported them across to the islands where they proceeded to eat non-stop and get visits everyday from the kids that live on the lake.
Adin built his house and has an amazing set up with his boat slip leading straight from his garage to the lake and the boats already set up and hooked up to his tractor in the garage so its as easy as opening a door and backing it in!! Also in the garage is a big flat screen and a Audi R8 to take out on the few days a year there its not raining in Washington 😉

Adins toy for when its dry out :)

We had a tournament the weekend after the clinic so Adin and I were working on trick runs and trying to clean up slalom so as not to get cut. Adins multiple turns at the end of the week were great and he skied up a storm in the comp with a high 5000 point trick run, nearly equaling his PB in slalom and landing most of his inverted jumps!!
Jerry Kanawyer came to the clinic and we continued on from what we were working on while I was at Jerries place. He got better and better at his surface turns as well as figuring out some new slalom techniques. We jumped a bit while at Adins and Jerry is getting a good inversion on a 10 foot line which is very similar to a long line jump.

Jerry Kanawyer getting ready for battle ;)


The best way to learn the inverted style is directly on a Barefoot International boom (lifted very high) until the technique is perfected and there is no fear in the skier coming in to the ramp. If it doesn’t go as planned go to the WBC shoe skis and start on these. Then a it is best to have a slow progression from the boom by going on just the V of the handle. After this you just inch the line out until on a 10 or 15 foot line off the boom.
Jerry also skied great at the tournament in all 3 events, and did great which was nice to see.
Doug Jorden also came over and did a lot of Barefoot jumping as he is also learning the new inverted jump technique. Doug jumps a good distance on the long line but in a traditional style and when trying to invert long line he has a small mental block and pushes the handle down. What was done to try to overcome this was to keep him on the boom but extend the line further and further out until he was jumping on a 45 foot line! Impressive!

Doug on a 45 foot line on the WBC shoe skis invert jumping.... nearly on the long line!!!


I was there for 4th of July where we went to Lake Silverado in Adna for some skiing and fireworks which was better than anything public we could have traveled to!!!

Had to get a patio heater going as the sun set on Lake Silverado while we waited for the fireworks for the 4th of July celebrations.


Val Shinn came and had a day in sunny Washington where she worked her backwards position as well as sorting out her slalom. Judy Myers who is 68 came and skied with us for a few days. Even after a recent injury and a couple of months out came back and was working on her front one foots and her backwards position as well get getting her edging out of the wake sorted on the long line.

John Macdonald, Judy Myers, Claudia and Dave Landon and myself (David Small)


Claudia and Dave Landon came with 82 year old John Macdonald for a day. Claudia worked on her front one foot and toe hold position as well as getting her first backwards one foot on her feet (which Dave was jealous of). Dave was also working on his front position as well as his backwards one foots which looked good on the WBC shoe skies but he was a little slower than Claudia on transferring it to his feet.

Dave Landon sporting the head zone helmet


Im sure Claudia did he one foot at the end of the day so that Dave didn’t have a chance to get back out there to try to equal her… great marriage rivalry. John Macdonald is going strong and at 82 years young is an amazing skier!! He skies no problem skiing on the boom or long line and was working on butt riding out of the wake so he could stand in calmer water.

82 year old John Macdonald doing his flyer at Lake Silverados competition


With the help of the head zone (turned all the way up..lol) he figured out how to get out of the wake and nearly did a full wake crossing which would give him a US record for his age division!! GOOOOO JOHN!!

82 year old John, myself (David Small) and 68 year old Judy Myers on the start dock

Jay Leuek had a day skiing with us where he learned his back toe holds and step position as well as sorting out his front position… he found that byb not plowing it made his life a lot easier to progress.

Jerry Kannesky doing some dry land practice


Jerry Kannesky came over for a day and a half and its great to have him around. He is extremely passionate about barefooting and brings a lot of energy to the boat! In just a day Jerry got his back to fronts feet to feet on the long line, all 4 turns on the boom on his feet in one pass and the step ones and hop on the boom!! He hadn’t jumped much before and got out there on the boom and in a couple of jumps was doing some great inverted jumps and landing pretty much feet to feet. Amazing!

Jay showing us great form on a back toe hold on the WBC shoe skis


Cheers Adin for having me back out to your pad dude!! I always have a great time over there and Ill be looking forward to seeing you over at Nationals!!

Adins dog, Maggie is finding it hard to see so she borrows Adins glasses from time to time.

David Small California Barefoot Water- ski clinic

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I arrived in to San Fransico on the Saturday where Mr Jerry Kanawyer himself picked me up .  What I had forgotten was that it was his birthday so he didn’t get a happy bday straight away from me so I apologize for that Jerry.  Jerry has been on the US barefoot Water ski team for years and has always been a great US team player!!  His nickname is Flipper which for those of you that don’t know where it came from….  He is one of only a few people in the World that do all 3 flips in their trick runs….. the wake to wake, wake, and regular flip!!  Rather him than me.

Jerry Kanawyer flipping

Jerry lives in Brentwood on one of the best ski lakes I have been to (it could be a couple hundred feet longer if you wanted to be REALLY picky).  It is died blue to stop the weeds growing in there which also makes the lake look like a swimming pool and with it been located in California it’s as warm as a bloody swimming pool as well…… perfect!!

Diablo Shores

Jerry got in to a car crash a few years ago and if he take a good hit he gets a head ache so he was skiing with a helmet on but when looking on the net we found something better…….. HAHAHAHA! You crack me up Jerry bird!!!

Jerry sporting his head gear

While I was there Jerry made great headway on his front and backwards one foot slalom as well as figuring out the line step position one foots and hops as well as working on breaking his old school bad habit of stepping through on his surface turns. Jerry is also in the process of learning invert jumping which he is doing great on and is always good fun to teach.

Jerry bringing the landing gear down after an inverted jump

Andy Conway was there for 4 days and work a lot of slalom and line step position one foots as well as trying to sort out his surface turns.

7 year old Jackson showing us all how its done

Early in the week we had a 7 year old boy called Jackson that had beaten leukemia and was out there barefooting on the short handle off the boom!! Talk about inspiring, this kid was amazing!!!

On the Wednesday we took a trip out to the Delta where we were met by Willy Farrel (aka, ‘One way Willy’) and his crew of Roy, Pepper Benz and his son…..   , Mark Hobsen, and Dave Naddy.

The Sacramento crew

We took Willys Malibu Response LX out on the 1000 miles of glass calm water (Delta) and hit it hard.  It was in the upper 90s that day and we stayed out on the glass from 830 in the morning until 7 at night without a brake as it was so good out there.  Roy, Mark and Dave worked on similar things with correcting their backwards barefooting position, back one foots and toe holds as well as getting in and out of the step position (the head zone helmets are a life saver when I comes to all of these things and makes it 100% easier for both the skier and instructor!).  Pepper worked on cleaning up his back to front and had never made a front to back so we concentrated on that and by the end of the day he was making a great front to back on the WBC shoe skis.

Dave Naddy showing us a great back toe hold

Loving the zinc action :)

Peppers son, Brady, who had never barefooted before or shown much interest, rocked it out and got out there on the handle and was showing the guys how easy it was to do some one foots.  He also got the award for the most improved skier of the way and went away with a new best hobby….. Way to go dude!!

Brady setting the bar for his elder brother

Adin Danneker, a WBC team member, rolled on up on the Thursday (he can travel around a lot as he only works a couple days a month and then sleeps a lot ….. hes a fire fighter).

It was all too much for Adin

Adin has been competing at a high level for a number of years and won medals at the last World Barefoot Championships as well as other top International events in the past.  It was a pleasure having him there with us for a few days and see his multiple turns get progressively better as well as making some huge progress in his slalom!

Roy Cotterill in a back one foot stance on the WBC shoes skis

Gregg Myer came and took a quick rip after a 6 year break from skiing and still went and did some back slalom.  He was up there on a magazine shoot for his one of a kind million dollar race car that was going up for auction the following month.

Meal time after a long day on the Delta

I took a few days and headed up to Sacramento to ski on another private lake (Twin Cities) and I got to see some more impressive skiing up there.  Mark Hodsen organized these few days and put on a great show.

Mark Hobsen looks just like Pitbull ;)

If it was a little chippy on the lake we headed to the infamous ‘lost slew’ on the Delta which was just behind the lake. Here we were greeted with a few straight glass stretches of around 3 miles a pop!!!! Mark made great progress with his backwards position as well as back one foots and figures out one foot slalom on his feet.  His wife also gave it a go and was a natural and got up first time on the boom and loved it!!  Mark also had his 11 year old niece, Mackenzie, give it a go and she got up on the 5 foot and was showing us some one foots.

11 year old Mackenzie after her ski

She went away loving barefooting and since getting the barefoot bug has been pestering Mark to get her back out on the water!! Great to see young kids, especially girls getting in to the sport! Joe Jacinto showed his face for a couple of days and learned some new slalom techniques as well as finding out that you don’t have to throw yourself in to a turn to make it around 😉 His wife, Dine, also gave barefooting a go and managed to get up on the handle on the shoe skis for the first time.

Pepper came back while I was up there with his older son, carter, as he had heard that his younger brother, who didn’t like barefooting before, was now footing and loving it.  He came to step up his game… nothing like sibling rivalry aye.  He had a great forwards position on his feet, great one foots and even started to try backwards.

Carter and I taking a ski on the Delta after a very productive day

I went and skied with the kids for a little rip at the end of the days they were there and it brought back great memories from when I was a kid learning to barefoot!  Any kid that tries this sport correctly with the right instruction and equipment and doesn’t love it must have something wired incorrectly 😉

Andy had to wear goggles due to his allergies which made it amusing to watch him ski and it was great to watch an ‘old school’ footer go out there and have fun doing some freestyle!!  We worked on some turns and slalom and then some side slides and general goofing around stuff… good fun.

Andy and his goggles ;)

I had a great couple of weeks in Cali and I am looking forward to going back out there later on this Summer!!

Huge thanks for everyone that skied and to Jerry Kanawyer who brought me out there and put me up as well as Willy for the day skiing and Mark for bringing me up to Sac for those fun few days!!!

By David Small AKA Small’z. lol