Posts Tagged ‘bare foot’

Ted Baber: Clinic in Sweden

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

At the end of June my friend Evert Aartsen Jr and I went to Sweden to run a barefoot clinic. We flew into Gothemberg and then drove 2 hours to a place called Bunn. The set up there was great! There was three boats, 2 were sangers and one was a flight craft. Also, the lake that the clinic was being held on was massive. It was split into three sections Bunn one, Bunn two and Bunn three, so we where able to find flat water all the time.

We had a total of 20 skiers at the clinic. 10 were young kids between the ages of 5 and 14 years old and the other 10 where adults. The clinic was held over three days. During our stay in Sweden we stayed in a little wooden cabin. Each cabin held three people. We were also provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We split the 20 skiers into two groups. Evert taught the kids as he could speak Swedish and I taught the adults because they spoke fluent english. Everybody that I taught improved massively over the three days and they all gave us really positive feedback. It went so well that the Swedish barefoot group invited Evert & I back next year to run another clinic. We can’t wait!

By: Ted Baber

Lauren St. Onge: Tournament Time!

Monday, October 21st, 2013

>Are you ready to enter a barefoot tournament? If you can do a deepwater start and stand up for a second, the answer is YES!!! There is no need to know how to do fancy tricks, surface turns, or backwards barefoot. Typically tournaments are fairly low key and are a test against ones self to do better than the last time. Beat that “PB” Personal Best!

The atmosphere at tournament is a fabulous experience. Not only do you meet and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow footers, you can learn from them too. Watch trick runs, discuss slalom techniques, and quiz each other on rules. Everyone is cheering for on another and is always ecstatic to have a new skier! When I say everyone I don’t only mean the people on shore, also the judges in the boat, drivers and videographers. We all want everyone to fall in love with the sport we all enjoy. It is time to forget those fancy tricks for the time being and get involved.

No one starts out as a professional. I encourage you to take a chance and go for it. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t like it and never do it again, no big deal. At least you tried. Right?

By: Lauren St. Onge

Alex Youngblood: My First Worlds

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

My first World Championships wasn’t what I expected. Not in a bad way, but in a good way. There was a lot of people that I didn’t know. But let’s remind ourselves that this was when I was 10 years old. However, this meant that I got to meet a lot of new people.

The Worlds was held at an awesome site with awesome water and my best friend was there too. Which made it really fun. The biggest difference was the age divisions, which meant I had to compete with girls that were up to 17 year olds! I thought that this was really weird at the time, but as I got older I saw why. Also, when I was on the start dock, some of the girls were starting off like a 10 foot platform. My dad explained to me that it was for extra points. It was still pretty strange though.

Before I knew it, it was my turn to ski. My PB at the time in tricks was 700 pts. My goal by the end of the ski year was to get 900 pts. Slalom wasn’t that big for me at the time.

I started with a front flyer to 2. I nailed that! Once I had gotten up, I did all my tricks. At the end of the first pass, I asked what was the last trick in time. He said “your reverse one foot”. That was my last trick, I was so happy! I then did my second run and at the end, I butt slid to the shore. I got up and hugged my dad. He said I got every trick in time. My trick run come out to 910 points! My dad and I were extremely happy. So that was my first worlds, it went really well!

– Alex Youngblood

The 2014 Greg Wilkinson Memorial Figure 8 Barefoot Tournament

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

The last two articles I wrote were about the person that taught me how to barefoot or the person that got into competing.  This article is about promoting an annual Figure 8 barefoot tournament.   This event was first called the Silver Sheep figure 8 barefoot tournament when Thor Thordarson was the organizer, but due to his busy personal schedule, he turned the organization duties over to Mark Donahue and me.  Mark and I originally called this tournament the Footapalooza Figure 8 barefoot tournament.  The tournament  is always held on the 1st weekend after Fathers Day.

A couple of years ago, the barefoot community lost a great person when Greg Wilkinson lost his battle to cancer.  Greg was a  great advocate for the sport of barefooting. He always had a smile on his face and was always very supportive.  With the permission of Greg’s wife, Penny, Mark and I changed the tournament name to the Greg Wilkinson Memorial.  We take a  portion of the entry money and any donations– and give them to Penny for a charity of her choice in Greg’s honor.

The Greg Wilkinson Figure 8 tournament has a few different rules and regulations than maybe some of the other Figure 8 events out there.  First and foremost, we want everybody to have the opportunity to compete and barefoot.  Therefore, we really don’t care how you get to your feet during the start.  If you can’t deep water start and you need to drop a ski then bring a ski; if you can’t drop a ski and you can only deepwater start, then leave your skies at home.  Deepwater starts and drop ski footers can go side-by-side without any problem.  Our goal and motto has always been and will continue to be “No footer left on the beach.”

This is a double elimination event.  For next year, we are fortunate to have a couple monetary contributors.  Contributors have given this event 1,000 dollars each. Yup, that’s 2,000 dollars plus the entry fees.  Now, instead of having these Figure 8 junkies coming and fighting over the lump sum, Mark and I decided to make two divisions.  Those two divisions have been uniquely called Pros and Open.  If any footer has won or placed in the top 3 in the last 3 years in any Figure 8, you are considered in our book a “pro.”  If you haven’t done that, we are considering you an Open footer.  We are here to attract footers and not scare them off.  We want to give the open footer the opportunity to win money as well.  The monies will be divided between the two divisions.  Also we do pay down to the fourth and maybe the fifth spot in the open division.  The Pro division will only be paid down to the top three.

So, that being said on June 21st 2014, the Greg Wilkinson Memorial Figure 8 barefoot tournament will be held in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, behind the Sacred Heart Apostolic school located at 5901 N 500 E  Rolling Prairie, In.  The entry fee is $55.00, and if you register between now and May 1st, a tournament shirt will be included with the registration fee. Otherwise you will have to purchase shirts at the tournament.

This event is located approximately 20 miles from South Bend, Indiana.  If you’re flying, Chicago is the closest major airport, but there are small airports around the area that some airlines will fly into. This site is very nicely situated behind the school surround by trees and lily pads.  There is a great viewing area for spectators on a grassy knoll overlooking the lake.  The lake is just big enough for a Figure 8 tournament–it is real nice and decreases the chances for a blow out.

Between the lake and the school, there is a large area for camping–sorry, no hook ups, but we do have porta restrooms on site.  For you non-camping types there are hotels within 10-15 minutes of the site.  We will be cooking on site and we seek donations for the food and the cook.  Saturday night after the tournament is over we have a large bonfire with music and beverages.  Sunday morning we all like to get up and get a quick ski in before we pack upon a leave.

There is an opportunity for barefoot lessons on Thursday and Friday if there is enough interest.  The World barefoot Center with Keith St. Onge, David Small, or Ben Groen would be interested to put on a clinic.  Please contact either me or the World Barefoot Center if you are interested.  The sooner the better of course, the WBC schedule fills up rather quickly.   Mark and I will be advertising this event on social media, word of mouth and hopefully a ski magazine or two, so please help spread the word and come out and enjoy a great time, meet new people, or shoot the poop with old friends–and honor a great person and friend.

Thank you and foot safe,

Chris Mcwatters

Joey Tombers: My First Time Barefooting

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

​I have been skiing ever since I was about three years old. I could ski on one ski and slalom around by the time I was eight. The only thing keeping me from barefooting was the lack of knowledge; I didn’t even know that you could barefoot, and how to actually do it that was a big mystery to me.

​This all changed when I was twelve years old sitting on the dock and saw a neighbor sitting on a kneeboard saying “okay.” That is when the boat took off and before I knew it he was standing on his bare feet skiing. Wow! That’s awesome! I thought.

​Five minutes later I had my kneeboard begging my dad to pull me. He gave in. Next thing you know, I was up and footin’ and then I was down. I tried it a few times every time I could get out–skiing to the point where I could do a full circle around the lake. Barefooting around the lake– that’s all I knew was even possible.

I wish I had known barefooting was a competitve thing and all the possibilities in the sport at an even younger age.

Joey Tombers

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Footapalooza Figure 8 Barefoot Event and Greg Wilkinson Memorial

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Footapalooza Figure 8 and Greg Wilkinson Memorial

June 22-23rd

Rolling Prairie, Indiana

and clinic with Ben Groen

Every June, for the last four years, Mark Donahue, myself and a few others have organized a Figure 8 barefoot event the small town of Rolling Prairie, Indiana.  This cozy little town is situated between La Porte, In. and Notre Dame on a small lake behind a church.  This lake called Silver lake is surrounded by trees on 3/4ths and a grassy hill for the last 1/4.  Just big enough for a figure 8 and about 200 ft short for a 3 event lake.  The site offers plenty of area for camping on site and a port-a-potty.  Traditionally on the Friday before the event, Mark and I spend the morning clearing some of the lily pads and setting up the course followed with plenty of horse playing and figure 8 practicing.  We like to start the event between 0800 and 0900 on Saturday depending on the number of footers.

After the event is over we have a BBq and a bonfire with music.  Then on Sunday we like to enjoy a day of fun skiing and relaxing.  The tournament has always been called Footapalooza, but this year we have decided to change the name a little.  This year we are calling it Footapalooza figure 8 Barefoot Event and Greg Wilkinson memorial.  Greg Wilkinson was a fellow barefooter and good friend who lost his battle to cancer this year.  Greg was a great person who always had a smile on his face and loved to barefoot.  So, starting this year Mark and I decided to change the name of our tournament in memory of Greg.  In the years past we had cash payouts and trophies.  This year we will only have trophies.  After tournament expenses, we will be donating the money gathered from the entry fees to Greg’s wife Penny, for a charity of her choice.

This Figure 8 tournament is a very friendly and easy-going event.  For those that are unfamiliar with figure 8 barefooting, the boat tows 2 footers in a figure 8 pattern until one footer falls.  There are a few challenges throughout out the figure 8 pattern, but the most challenging obstacle is the set of rollers caused by the tow boat.  Mark and I believe everyone should get a chance to give it a go if they desire, so we believe in the phrase “no footer left on the dock.”  In other figure 8 events a footer would have to step off a ski, well here we allow either, step off or deep up.  We like everyone to have fun and be as comfortable as possible.  The entry fee is $40.00, for this double elimination event.  We are hoping for a big turnout to honor a friend and have a great time.

Clinic with Ben Groen:

Additionally, this year I am putting out feelers for any interested skiers that would like to host New Zealand’s national champ, #4 ranked barefooter in the world, and World Barefoot Center elite skier Ben Groen for a clinic on Friday the 21st and Sunday the 23rd of June.  Ben is an outstanding instructor and great person.

The possibility of having Ben Groen to the site depends on the interested parties.  I will need a firm commitment prior to flying him up to the area.  Ben teaches all levels of footers– from those who have never tried to surface turns, to beginners, and much more.  Take this opportunity to advance your skills or clean up the ones you have now.

Please RSVP Chris Mcwatters at barefooter71@me.com for any questions regarding the Figure 8 event and the clinic possibility.  The directions are very easy,  the address is 5901 north 500 east Rolling Prairie, Indiana– it is behind the Sacred Heart Apostolic school, but email me where you are coming from and I will send you the directions. Mark and I look forward to seeing everyone and enjoying each other’s company and having fun doing something we all like to do:

Barefoot.

By: Chris Mcwatters

WBC Helps Canadian Barefoot Team

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

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For our Canadian team, training at the World Barefoot Center helped our team to achieve some Canadian records and a podium finish at the World Championships in Waco Texas!!

We are looking forward to an exciting footin season for 2013.

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I am so thankful to be part of such a unique and admirable team! It is unreal how small the world has become at WBC… It’s often quite likely that when you’re in the boat, you will be accompanied by skiers from all corners of the globe!

Amazing people, OUTSTANDING coaches and an incredible sport. What a life at WBC! I had the time of my life when I made the move south of the border and trained there for the 2012. I was legitimately living the dream!

I cannot wait to get back on the water!

Caitlyn Rowland

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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 www.WorldBarefootCouncil.com 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

Georgia Groen, Featured Footer

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Georgia Groen was four-years-old when she set her feet on the water for the first time but she doesn’t remember it. “I got into barefooting because my whole family barefoots,” Georgia said.  When she says her whole family is into the sport, she means it. Ten members of the Groen family all walk on water and they’re quite passionate about the sport. So passionate that they built their own barefooting lake  in New Zealand.

Georgia was eight when she entered her first barefoot tournament.  “I was really excited standing on the dock and just being in a tournament situation,” Georgia recalled. “I think I took 130 points in tricks, and I don’t remember about slalom.”  Georgia remembers what came next: learning to barefoot backwards.  “It was very hard to learn–backwards is very different than forwards–it was hard for me for a while.

As hard as it was to learn to ski backwards, it was even more challenging to learn to jump. “Jumping was the hardest for me. I learned to jump when I was twelve,” said Georgia. “I was really nervous and scared, because my mom had a jump accident.”  Back in 2006, Georgia’s mom, Brenda, crashed head-first into the jump ramp. She spent three months in the hospital and has fully recovered.  Georgia has since learned to approach her jumps with complete confidence and a strong mind.  “If you’re scared, that will control you,” she said. “So forget about being scared and just concentrate. That will keep in you in control.”

During the summer, Georgia is out on the water nearly every day with  her three brothers, Ryan, Mitchell and Tyler.  During the winter months, they pull out the dry suits and continue to ski until they take a month or two off when the cold sets in.  The kids’ dad, Fred, is their coach and driver. “Without my family, I couldn’t be where I am today,” said Georgia.

Before heading out to the 2012 U.S. Nationals and the Worlds, Georgia spent some time at the World Barefoot Center learning how to bring her skills to the next level. Georgia’s cousin, Ben Groen, is one of the instructors at the center.  “Swampy taught me to jump better, I learned all my turns and he taught me some mental control stuff –like to stay humble and to keep trying to better myself,” said Georgia.  Her goal at the 2012 Worlds was to become the Overall Junior Champion and bring home at least one medal in the Open Division.  “The most challenging tournament was this year’s world championship,” she said.  “I competed in two divisions Girls and Womens–and  made it to all the Junior finals and two of the three for the Open.  I took all the gold for the Junior Division and that was awesome.  It was challenging for the Womens Division– I had to fight for that gold in tricks.  I couldn’t believe I did  it until it happened!”

Georgia has some big plans for the future. She wants to become a World Champion in the Womens Division and set a new Junior record in slalom.  “Right now I have one and half more to break it,” she said.  “My best is 14. 4, 16.1 is the record. A  few more to go,  but I will practice. For sure, that’s my goal.”

Georgia in the news:

One News, New Zealand

Otaki Barefooters Land Top Spots

New Girls World Trick Record

Sportswoman of the Year

Emerging Sportswoman Award

The Kapiti Observer: Sportswoman Award

Georgia Smashes Skiing Records

By: Karen Putz

New Qualifying Scores for the 2012 Barefoot Worlds

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The World Barefoot Council has released new qualifying scores for independent barefoot water skiers who plan to compete in the 2012 Barefoot Worlds.  The Worlds will be held at the Barefoot Ski Ranch in Waco, Texas from August 26 (Opening ceremony) to September 2, 2012.

From the IWWF website: Qualifying scores must be achieved in an IWWF / WBC Homologated Tournament (Rankings List or Record Capability) during the qualification period:    March 1, 2011 – July 30, 2012 Here are the new qualifying scores:

Qualifying Scores for Independent Entries – 2012 World Championships

The following minimum performances for each division and event are required for independent entries to the 2012 World Barefoot Championships.

*** NOTE: These scores were revised on March 27th, 2012 to reflect the standards set on the 2012 World Ranking List (lower)

MENS                                                                    WOMENS

SLALOM           15.5                                            SLALOM           10.4

TRICKS             4800                                           TRICKS             1750

JUMP               22.2                                              JUMP               9

BOYS                                                                     GIRLS

SLALOM            7.8                                              SLALOM           2.6

TRICKS             1330                                            TRICKS             410

JUMP               8                                                     JUMP               8

GENTLEMEN                                                     LADIES

SLALOM           14                                                   SLALOM             1.9

TRICKS             2400                                             TRICKS             130

JUMP               11.2                                                 JUMP               8

Written by: Karen Putz