Posts Tagged ‘barefoot water skiing’

Johnathan Martines: Getting Out of the Comfort Zone

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Many people, especially those who are involved in sports, love staying in their comfort zone and not experimenting with new ideas and techniques. This past summer, one of these people was me. Every day, I would go out and work on multiple turns with the master coach himself, Swampy Bouchard.

“Bend your knees! Turn slowly! Stay on your foot!” were phrases I heard so often from the mouth of Swampy that I’m pretty sure I even began hearing them in my
sleep. No matter how many times I was told to do these seemingly simple tasks, I would still
stick to my old bad habits.

One morning before many of the ski school students came, Swampy took Ben, Ash, and
me out for a tricks set. After being told to bend my knees for the thousandth time and still not
executing, I jumped in the boat. Swampy simply said, “We will have a date at lunchtime.” I
knew this couldn’t be good.
Around lunchtime, Swampy took me out all by myself. For what seemed like forever, I
did turn after turn after turn in the summer heat. After about an hour on the water, breakthroughs
started being made. All of a sudden, I was nailing multiple sequences and trick runs I was never
able to previously do.
For the rest of that summer, I tried to make the changes needed for me to improve and
my skiing started improving rapidly. This simple event showed me how important it is to make
changes in order to improve. I realized that changing, without fearing the consequences, was the
key to improving in the sport, and if I stayed in my comfort zone, I would be a 4000-5000 point
tricker for the rest of my life.

Many people, especially those who are involved in sports, love staying in their comfort
zone and not experimenting with new ideas and techniques. This past summer, one of these
people was me. Every day, I would go out and work on multiple turns with the master coach
himself, Swampy Bouchard. “Bend your knees! Turn slowly! Stay on your foot!” were phrases I
heard so often from the mouth of Swampy that I’m pretty sure I even began hearing them in my
sleep. No matter how many times I was told to do these seemingly simple tasks, I would still
stick to my old bad habits.
One morning before many of the ski school students came, Swampy took Ben, Ash, and
me out for a tricks set. After being told to bend my knees for the thousandth time and still not
executing, I jumped in the boat. Swampy simply said, “We will have a date at lunchtime.” I
knew this couldn’t be good.


Around lunchtime, Swampy took me out all by myself. For what seemed like forever, I
did turn after turn after turn in the summer heat. After about an hour on the water, breakthroughs
started being made. All of a sudden, I was nailing multiple sequences and trick runs I was never
able to previously do.
For the rest of that summer, I tried to make the changes needed for me to improve and
my skiing started improving rapidly. This simple event showed me how important it is to make
changes in order to improve. I realized that changing, without fearing the consequences, was the
key to improving in the sport, and if I stayed in my comfort zone, I would be a 4000-5000 point
tricker for the rest of my life.

By: Johnathan Martines

Lizzie Rhea: Thanksgiving, Barefooting, Toe-holds, and Earrings

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

This Thanksgiving, I made a list of 105 things that I am thankful for in my life. God’s love for me, Jesus, family, friends, barefooting, and finally getting my ears pierced were all at the top of my list.

Let me tell you how barefooting helped me get my ears pierced! I had been begging my parents to let me pierce my ears for years, but they said I had to wait until I was 12. This past summer, however, my Daddy decided to use it as motivation to learn back toe-holds.

I had never tried back toe-holds and did not even want to try them. One day, my Daddy said, “If you get both back toe-holds on the boom, you can get your ears pierced.” He thought it would take me a long time, so he wasn’t worried about promising me something so big. Anyway, I jumped at the chance!

I was very determined that I was going to do it that same day and I did! I focused very hard and I believed I could do it. That helped me a lot. I fell so many times and it really hurt, but I finally got it on my good foot. My bad foot took much longer because it felt so different and it was harder to balance. I just kept thinking about those earrings though, and I worked even harder to get it.

I wanted those earrings so much that I learned both back toe-holds the same day my Daddy made the deal with me. He really did not want me to get my ears pierced so soon (at 10 years old), but he was so happy, excited, and proud of me that he didn’t care! I was very happy too!

I am thankful for my wonderful Daddy, barefooting, and my ears being pierced now! I even have some little silver footprint earrings! It was a fun experience, and a good lesson that you have to work hard for something you want.

By: Lizzie Rhea

Stefan Wimmer: Becoming a Barefoot Instructor

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

What you guys should know is that I study sport in Austria with the goal to be a Sport Instructor for all different sports.

So,when I was at the World Barefoot Center for the first time,  the team showed me how to instruct people and I got to know how to work with every individual skier. It was really interesting for me to learn which methods they use physically or mentally to train people and also to motivate them.

So after the first 3 weeks at the WBC, my goals changed. Now I want to be a great skier, but I also want to be a great instructor like the WBC Crew is.

This year I started to work as an instructor for barefoot water ski and I also helped out at the World Barefoot Center for one month in my summer holidays. It was a really cool experience to work with different skiers from all over the world. I worked with beginners and also with sponsored athletes.

It was interesting to see how the skiers learned and progressed and that makes me proud.  It is a good feeling to see that other people can learn from you step by step.

The biggest rule for me:

As an instructor is your goal and your function to put the skier on the right way that he can progress.

For me instructing is one of the greatest jobs, because everyone is individual and you can’t teach everyone the same way. It is a challenge to find the right way that the individal skier can understand you easily.

Keep on Footing!!

By: Stefan Wimmer

Kailey Koehler: Show Skiing

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Competitive barefooting is a very important part of my life and it has been for the past six years.  I truly enjoy traveling all around the world and competing against my friends from all over the world.  Barefooting is a very competitive sport and it consumes most of my summer, however, I am also involved with a show ski team called the Aquanut Water Shows which is out of Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.  Most people choose one sport of the other, however, I have chosen to do both show skiing and barefooting.  Doing both sports can be seen as a balancing act that comes with a lot of decisions, but  I enjoy both of them and there is no way I could choose one over the other.  

I have been on the Aquanuts since I was 6 years old.  They have become a second family to me.  I have worked very hard to become a versatile member of our team and I try to do a little bit of everything including the following: ballet line, swivel, pre-fabricated pyramids, doubles, swivel, barefooting, and final pyramid.  Every act is different which is why I love running from act to act.  It can be very tiring, but in the end the thrill of performing for friends and family is irresistible.  Although I absolutely hate the makeup that comes along with show skiing, it is worth it in the end and it usually comes off when I barefoot. 
Both barefooting and show skiing are very important to me and I plan on continuing to compete in both sports.  They are both very different types of skiing but they are equally fun and entertaining.  I have had the honor of competing on team USA for barefooting, and for the first time I will be competing on the team USA show ski team  next September in Janesville, Wisconsin.  I am privileged to be on both of these teams and I can not wait to see where the future of these sports bring me. 
By: Kailey Koehler

Jim Forster: Barefooting from the Driver’s Perspective

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

       

 When competing in a barefoot tournament, a lot of focus as a skier, is whether you are going to get the pull from the driver that you are expecting. We are all familiar when practicing at home with the start, speed and boat path as we usually train with the same skiers. All of a sudden, you are faced with an unfamiliar driver which can put added pressure on and cause yourself distraction. As I have stated in a previous article that I wrote, it’s a good training technique to train with different drivers as this will help you to adapt to different pulls that you are not accustomed to and remove the uncertainty.

         As a Level 2 Driver and a competitive barefooter, I have the unique perspective of how we as drivers think and what is expected of us. I really enjoy driving and can tell you that for me, I put a lot of pressure on myself as I want to give every skier exactly what they want. If a skier misses a back deepwater start, a toe up or a back tumble, to name a few, I feel personally responsible and will notify the Chief communicator if I have any doubt that the pull was not to specification. A lot is expected of us and we are tasked with performing with as few mistakes as possible. Experience plays a big role in becoming a solid driver and cannot be gained overnight. As a driver, I want to make the skier feel comfortable and gain their confidence, but at the same time, adhere to the rules. When pulling my friends in practice, I strive to give them exactly the pull they want and also to drive with the same precision as one would expect in a tournament.

        I would advise prospective drivers to learn all the different phases of acceleration and to smoothly achieve speed level off as this makes a big difference to the skier behind the boat. You want to learn to accelerate smoothly up to the called speed, but not overshoot it…..the throttle pull back can cause the skier to fall if it is severe enough. This takes a little practice and can actually be done even with Zero Off speed control devices. Also as equally important to prospective drivers, is to learn the rules as set forth by the World Barefoot Council (WBC). These can be found in the WBC Technical Rulebook. Chapter 15 Towboats, deals with some of the more important ones, but others can be found in the other chapters. You need to be knowledgeable on what is expected of you as an official and also gain confidence that you can perform any start and pull any speed.

       Probably the most difficult start to pull is the back tumble up to one……..there are only a handful of skiers that perform this start, but what really helps the driver successfully pull it, is for the skier to call an RPM rather than a MPH or KPH for the level off speed. This also applies for those skiers that aren’t really solid on their back deepwater starts……..the RPM reference I have found, enables the skier to achieve a nice, smooth plant. Something else I encounter is pressure on myself from the judges in the boat, as they are also watching my boat path and acceleration, they can be critical at times, but a good driver has to be able to listen to, and accept criticism. This is all part of becoming a better driver and at the same time, gives .skiers a good tournament experience.

         I hope that this has given you an insight to what drivers experience………the next time the boat pulls up to you at the starting dock, you can be confident the driver will be waiting to please!

Carol Jackson: Barefooting Can Inspire Others

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Barefooting can inspire others! I was training one of our horses one morning in an area which borders a road. Two ladies were walking past like they were out to get some exercise. They stopped to admire the horse and I stopped to say hello. The one lady said she had seen me out on the water getting up backwards and skiing quite often. She said that inspired her to get out and start exercising. She said if I could get out there and ski like that. then she should be able to make  a commitment  to  walk every day.

That was about 6months ago, she is still walking every morning. I am happy I was able to get her out of her sedentary lifestyle just by skiing past her house!

By: Carol Jackson

Instant Scoring for Barefoot Water Ski Tournaments

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

This year at the New Zealand tournaments we tried out an instant scoringsystem, and what a difference it made the tournaments. Coming from a skier’s point of view, the worst thing about tournaments is waiting around for hours for your score from your 30-second pass to be posted. I understand that it is quite the process for the judges and does take a lot of time however any way to make the scores come out faster is great.

My Uncle, Rob Groen who is also the President of the New Zealand Barefoot Waterski Club is always trying to progress the sport and make it better. In result of this he sorted out a very easy to use instant scoring system that can be viewed anywhere via the Internet. This is not only beneficial for the skiers but it also allows spectators to have a clue on what is going on.

How it works…

Firstly there are 2-3 judges in the boat that will judge the skier and at the end of each run they will also score the pass, if there is any confusion the videographer has the pass ready for the judges to watch again. Once the score is agreed on they then radio back to land where someone is on a computer. The person on the computer then just types the score into the spreadsheet looking page and within 10 seconds the score will appear on the big TV screen and any other device that is connected to the internet and on the website, whether they be all the way in France, America, Australia… Anyone can see it.

As a skier this was great because by the time I had finished my run and walked up to the TV screen my score was there ready for me to read. Also as a spectator it was good as well because even if you weren’t able to watch the skiers you could still see how they were doing.

I think that this was a huge step for barefoot waterskiing as a sport. I hope that this is only the beginning and that we can continue to try and progress the sport, the use of technology is a great way to start and I look forward for what is to come in the future.

By: Georgia Groen

The 2013 Canadian Barefoot Nationals

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The Canadian Nationals were held August 16-18 with site familiarization on the 15th. When I arrived Thurs afternoon, the wind was blowing around 30-45K (20-30 mph for the metrically challenged).  As the skiers trickled in, we were all amazed that the water was entirely skiable, in fact barely any roughness at all, so we all had the chance to practice slalom and trick runs.

Dwight Williams

The entire site was amazing. The hosts, Dwight and Michelle Williams, had a dream a few years back of having a ski lake. From start of digging (10 days) to skiing was 37 days as they created a world class venue. Becky Moynes (our new Canadian open women champion) got a hold of Dwight and Michelle in the spring of 2013 and they offered to host our Nationals. The preparation for our arrival was astonishing. Dwight even built a LARGE skier dock for the event.  As such, hands down, it is everyone’s opinion that this was the best venue and best ever event for Canadian barefoot skiing.

The boat crew change dock. A large screen TV was setup in the shade for spectators to watch the live feed.

Dwight set up bleachers in front of the jump. This location was also a great vantage point for watching the trick and slalom runs.

The Williams Family--I'm hoping they'll adopt me

The Canadian Nationals are held over 3 days: the Canadian Challenge RC (Fri), the Canadian championships (Sat) and the Canadian Open (Sun). The organizing committee went one further, make that three further, by having extended familiarization on Thursday, an extra “round” on Friday, AND allowed everyone to ski Sunday rather than just the usual top 8. Hence, Trick Jump Slalom on Fri, Sat and Sun for all who entered. On Fri, the extra round was basically familiarization for any skiers wanting extra practice and receive instruction. Steve Keating made his longline back deep, having never fully attempted this start prior to the tourney, while all the other skiers benefited from practicing  and being coached through the steps.

Travelling from afar, Lake Havasu AZ, was Gord Croteau, back for his umteenth Canadian National. Gord placed 2nd in jump, slalom and overall. There was a large contingent of Team Gordie fans (wearing team Gordie shirts) cheering him on as Gord performed somersaults in his slalom runs. We had only one American guest, Matt Michaelski who drove from Michigan and picked up Don Schwartz (2012 worlds Sr gold medalist) at Pearson Airport. Matt was back for his 2nd Canadians and participated as skier and driver. We will all be glad to see the return of our friend from Michigan.

Matt Michaelski ruining a perfectly good shot

Ruth and moi…enhancing this shot of the lake

Ruth and moi -- enhancing the shot of the lake

The weather on all 3 days of competition was perfect, hence perfect water conditions. Turn around times were minimal as the lake washed out immediately. The organization was flawless as Terry Jones, the entire Mike Spence family, Tim Weekes, Al, Barb and Becky Moynes and skier volunteers executed great driving, judging, scoring, boat changes, postings and venue adaptions.  When a slight washback was noticed from the jump on Thurs famil, Terry Jones took the initiative to turn the jump 90 degrees during trick/slalom and voila: no washback; perfect ski conditions hence only one reride, for rollback. The length of the lake was more than adequate and I can’t remember anyone running out of lake. As such many PB’s and records were posted.

Terry Jones working on the jump

Ski jump perpendicular to the lake for trick and slalom…and that might very well be my handle flying by!

The Weekes’ Sanger. Al Moynes, seen handling the rope while I slack off, judged all events hence was in the boat all day, every day. Al is a well respected Level 1 judge with three World championships experience.  George Weekes is driving, Becky is judging, Ross Holden (Mens 8 champ) is recording, and I am trying to figure out why I always miss one of two waves.

The dreaded visit with Paul Roberts on the pickup vessel. Paul is president of the OWSA – Ontario Waterski Association who travelled to Napanee and volunteered to counsel disheartened skiers. Here Ross Holden is in session with the Pres.

Enroute to a visit with Paul

One intangible that sets the tone for Canadian Nationals is the attitude of the skiers and officials toward each other. Our Nationals are low stress, friendly competitions where the skiers know each other well, volunteer and go out of their way to welcome newcomers. We had three skiers competing for the first time that did very well and showed great potential; all commented that their reticence to compete in a national competition was alleviated due to the friendly attitudes of the regulars and the officials….Mission accomplished and lessons learned.

Don Schwart,z having a laugh with newcomer Mason Timmerman and his dad Rob. The Spence girls, Michelle and Melissa, having just finished their trick runs. Marcel Brunet and Morgan Allen set to walk onto the start dock for their trick runs. We used Marcels Sanger for the slalom event and 2nd jump boat. Morgan Allen is Bram Alllen’s dad…Bram took 3rd place in Open trick

Steve and Shelley Keating took a free elevator ride to watch Terry in action.

The banquet was superb with great food, short speeches, some good laughs, competition videos played in the background and awards kept short. The overall medals were awarded at the ski site where in attendance were hundreds of friends of the Williams, followed by a great band and dance, fireworks and ski video being played off the side of the workshop with hundreds taking in the barefooting spectacle. Did I mention helicopter rides in the afternoon?

George Weekes was crowned Canadian champion, winning all 3 events and Becky Moynes took her rightful place at the top. This is a very proud moment for Mike Spence, VP Barefoot skiing Ontario, and the Weekes and Moynes families whose contributions have enhanced barefoot skiing in Ontario and Canada.

The dance following the awards…you can see on the right, tourney barefoot runs projected on the workshop.

Mike Spence, Becky Moynes and George Weekes

The Moynes Family

One final note about Becky Moynes and the hosts, Michelle and Dwight Williams. What a wonderful time had by all! Becky got the ball rolling, handled all the organization, skied, worked as an official and tourney director, and won in all aspects. Dwight is living large and created a spectacle unmatched. Thanks again for making this happen.

By: Duane Godfrey

Johnathan Martines: The Hardest Thing to Learn

Friday, August 30th, 2013

As you all know, barefooting is not an easy sport. In barefooting, almost nothing comes easy. No matter what you are learning, whether it’s a toe-hold, a back deep, or a line turn, you are bound to take your fair share of falls and encounter some hardships. Throughout my barefooting career, I’ve had my fair share of struggles, but my most difficult and frustrating challenge to date was learning how to jump inverted.

In April of 2012, I went down to the WBC for a week of training. Having learnt all of the basics, it was now time for me to start learning surface turns and jumping. I started jumping about my third day in. Once I learned how to jump traditional style, I started to work on inverted.

Everything went well in the days that followed, and by the end of the week, I was jumping inverted and landing on the ten foot extension on the boom. After spending a few months home training and not jumping, I came back at the beginning of June for a month. One of my priorities for this trip was to learn inverted jumping behind the boat before the 2012 Worlds.

My first set back was terrible. I would lunge, come forward on the ramp, and be early every single time. For some reason, I was afraid of jumping. This fear hurt my skiing for weeks and weeks. Some days I would go out on the ten foot and look great. Other days, I would go on the five foot and not even be able to land a jump. One thing was the same, though; I could not land an inverted jump behind the boat to save my life.

Finally after a month of jumping every day, something clicked. I went out one afternoon in early July and landed my first inverted jump behind the boat! I was ecstatic! One thing I had dreamed of doing all my life finally came true! The struggle didn’t stop from there. Even though I could land jumps now, they were still very small.

Even today, I still struggle a bit with my jumping. The struggles, however, are on a higher level. Moral of the story, push through your hardships in life and in barefooting and it will be very rewarding.

By: Johnathan Martines

Wade Masters: A Footer Looks at Forty “Plus”

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

It’s remarkable to look back over the last twenty years of my life and see what an impact barefooting has had on me. It has made me a better person, not only to others, but to myself. It has given me the desire and discipline to eat right and exercise. It has been with me through good times and bad times. It has even at points in my life been the only thing I was any good at. Through out the ups and downs of life, bare footing has been a constant. It has been somewhat of a definition of who I am.

Even though I have had other successes in my life, I have found myself meeting  someone new and when the asked what I do, I would answer “ I’m a barefooter”.  I know that is not what they were asking, nor was it the answer they were expecting.  Most people have no idea what I am even talking about or they say, “You snow ski– barefooted?” to which I reply, “Yeah, it’s a Tennessee thing.”

Some people identify with large groups of like-minded people, and one group that comes to mind is the football fans. They brave some harsh weather sometimes and have good and bad days at the field, all the while enjoying the sport they are so passionate about. But for me it has always been barefooting that has made me feel the best about who I am and the choices I have made. Also it’s a pretty small group overall. Being a barefoot skier says quite a bit about a person and what they are made of. We come from all areas of the world and all walks of life which makes tournaments interesting. You could wind up skiing against someone who’s first language is not the same as yours. There are cultural differences that are overlooked because of the common denominator of barefooting.

In conclusion, I would like to encourage everyone reading this to find something that you are passionate about, that makes you feel good and just go do it. Your life will be enhanced by it.

By: Wade Masters (whose birthday is today!)