Posts Tagged ‘barefoot dreams’

Is Barefooting on Your Bucket List?

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

barefooting bucket list

Skydiving. Mountain climbing.  Scuba diving. White water rafting. Barefoot water skiing.

More and more, I’m seeing barefooting as a “bucket list item” among new customers  whenever I’m down at the World Barefoot Center. No matter the age, they want to learn how to walk on water–and it’s right up there with skydiving, mountain climbing, and more. Today’s equipment and teaching methods make it easier than ever to try this extreme sport.

Four years ago, I took up barefoot water skiing again at the age of 44.   I had not barefoot water skied in over 20 years.  At that age, I pretty much thought I’d never barefoot again until I saw 66-year-old Judy Myers barefooting on the TODAY Show.  Judy took up the sport at the age of 53 and today, she’s the world oldest female competitive barefooter at 70. Just watching her on the show inspired me and I started feeling the old passion sparking up within me.  Judy invited me to the World Barefoot Center in March, 2010 and my life did a 180.

The first time I got into the boat at the World Barefoot Center, I was a nervous wreck and pretty intimidated by all the fancy moves everyone else was doing on the water.  If you told me then that I’d be doing some of those things four years later, I would have laughed you out of the boat.  But that day, I was embarrassed to get into a wetsuit and scared that I would make a fool of myself on the water with a boat full of people watching.  I got over that pretty quickly the moment I put my feet on the water and felt the old passion for the sport return.

karen putz back toe

I’ve been taught by every instructor at the World Barefoot Center and I’ve enjoyed learning from all of them (even the one who makes me cry, who shall not be named. <Insert grin.>)  I was once asked to rank each instructor, and I found it impossible to do so.  Keith St. Onge, David Small,  Ben Groen, Ashleigh Stebbeings, and Swampy Bouchard all have a professional attitude and the knowledge to instruct in every aspect of the sport.  They all know when to push, and when to pull back and rebuild your skills.  In fact, when Ben suggested a back toe hold during my last set of Women’s Week in 2013, I thought he had lost his mind. But by the end of the set, I had let go of the handle a few times and accomplished my first back toe on my feet.  Not bad for a 48-year-old!

I’m also seeing more and more “mature” folks taking up the extreme sport after several years off the water.  In 2012, Jill Broderick from Vermont came to the Women’s Barefoot Week for the first time.  The last time Jill barefoot water skied was 40 years ago.  In one short week, she learned the deep-water start, tumble turns, and longline. In 2013, she moved up to one foots and continued to build a solid foundation to her barefooting skills.  Oh yeah, Jill is over 60 years old.

Jill Broderick

The most famous barefooter of all, Banana George, took up barefooting at the age of 46, took up competition at 65, and barefooted behind a seaplane when he was 81. The last time he set his feet on the water, he was 93.  Even then, he managed to do a one-foot!

So if you have “Barefoot water skiing” on your bucket list, don’t wait for some day to make it happen.  Last I checked, there is no “Someday” to be found on any calendar anywhere.

By: Karen Putz