Posts Tagged ‘bare foot’

My journey back to Kiwi-Land!!!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

As most of you know, this January I returned to my homeland, New Zealand, for a quick vacation to catch up with family and friends (and a little bit of skiing). After 14 months in the United States, I was shocked at how climatized I had become to the American (and by American I mean mainly “Southern”) culture, without even realizing it. Small things that had once seemed bizarre to me, things like tax not being included in the price displayed, the average vehicle being the size of a small elephant, Police with guns (Not allowed in NZ!!!), and 400lb people wedging themselves into little carts to buzz around Walmart, had become a usual sight for me, and the change when I got home was unreal!!

Walking through the shopping mall when I was home, I was suddenly immersed back into familiar slang, food, and fashion. I know it sounds silly but it really is that obvious! People walking past in Stubbies, a singlet, and jandals (Roughly translated, that would be short, thigh length shorts used for playing rugby, a beater/tank top, and flip flops), or all the cafes, wedged between every second or third shop, with folks sitting outside stopping for a quick coffee and “sammy” (Sandwich) on their lunch break.

Walking through Wellington city in the late afternoon/evening it was just nice to see people finishing their days at work or Uni (college) sitting down in parks, or big open areas of grass, just unwinding. A group of young guys throwing a rugby ball or Frisbee around, or a few stranglers with their noses in books, or some people just there to people watch, as everyone made their commute home, either by foot, or what seemed like the second most popular mode of transport – skateboard. I guess the only place I’ve really seen with a similar culture like this in my time in the States would be San Fran.

Anyway, that’s enough about culture. I was only home a matter of hours before I was reminded as to what made Florida so appealing. The infamous Wellington winds started gusting up, turning our lake into something similar to the ocean, with the temperature being cold enough for a Floridian local to dress in snow gear. In actual fact, it was still around 60-65 degrees – but that’s cold enough!!! Luckily the winds gave up and we were granted beautiful water, sadly the not-so-warmness hung around. One big thing about New Zealand that you have to be really careful about, apart from speed cameras, is the sun. There is a big hole in the ozone above New Zealand, and it makes a big difference!! In Florida you can happily sit out in the sun for 3 hours – unless your last name is Small or St. Onge -and you may get a little pink, but you won’t notice it too much. In New Zealand however, if you don’t slop that sunscreen on, those 3 hours will nuke you!! I made that mistake the second day I was back, falling asleep in the warm sun for only two hours in nothing but shorts, and after my entire body shedding a layer or so of skin, six weeks later, and I am still rocking distinctive tan lines halfway up my legs!!

As far as the quality of skiing goes in New Zealand, I will admit we are a little behind the times, with anyone who can do a Front to Back automatically advancing to being one of the best trickers in the country. And with fairness – that front to back is a sucker to learn!!! But these days, we’re starting to catch up with the rest of the world, with more kiwis travelling out to Florida to ski with us at the World Barefoot Center and taking what they learn home, modern coaching techniques have been introduced and its great to see a group of young kids coming up, learning the correct way. What was once just another ski school, the name barely memorable only a couple of years ago, has now become an icon for barefooting back in New Zealand, helped greatly with today’s social media, and more importantly, the results of the skiers that come back after weeks/months of training at the school!!!

So, even though there are some major differences dividing these two countries from one another, there is also one big similarity – the passion for barefoot water skiing, and the huge sense of family you get from anyone else involved in this great sport, no matter where you are on the planet. The greatest thing I think I noticed while in New Zealand was the general level of skiing, as us kiwis move into the modern era of footing, all thanks to what’s been going on here at the school. As far as myself goes, the journey I have taken personally here at the ski school has been a life changing one, with life-lasting friendships being formed, finding a second family, a second home, and a whole new platform for my skiing.

And as much as I have loved every minute of this trip….it’s always nice to go home :)

– Ben Groen, New Zealand

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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Ski With the Top Barefoot Champions

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

In two short years, the World Barefoot Center has grown to include the top barefoot champions from around the world.  We love what we do, and it shows in our passion for the sport.  Like Swampy always says, “Let your feet do the talking.”

INSANE SKIING from WorldBarefootCenter on Vimeo.

WBC Head to Head Tournament!!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

There will be a LIVE VIDEO FEED on WORLDBAREFOOTCENTER.COM of the WBC Head-to-Head tournament being held at Lake David, Groveland, Florida on October 7th & 8th. The tournament starts at 7am eastern time on the 7th so make sure you jump on our website and check it out.

WBC Invitational Teaser 2

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

4 weeks to go until the WBC Invitational!! Check out the latest video.

WBC INVITATIONAL OFFICIAL TEASER 2 – DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? from WorldBarefootCenter on Vimeo.

Whole Foods Market Fuels Champions!

Friday, August 26th, 2011

As many of you can imagine, being a professional athlete goes hand in hand with eating well and taking care of the body.  As a barefoot waterskier, I have to stay on top of my eating habits to preform to the absolute best of my abilities.  During a four month Anytime Fitness  National Barefoot Tour on the road, Whole Foods Market has kept me and my fiance, Lauren Lindeman, going strong.  As we go from town to town, we stop at Whole Foods along the way.  Health is always on our mind– we enjoy real foods and we applaud Whole Foods for providing so many wonderful products.  We live vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten free– this is the best lifestyle for us! 

Whole Foods Market

 Thank you, Whole Foods, for making healthy foodies like us happy! 

Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman

Footin’ on a Piece of Heaven- St. Louis

Monday, August 8th, 2011

The wind was howling, leaves were blowing and yet and the quiver off the Mississippi River was GLASS calm all day long!  The water was a little high so we had to watch out for debris, other than that it was great skiing conditions. The day prior to the clinic the Anytime Fitness Tour Bus had some issues and needed a little bit of work done on it, so Lauren was not around to take pictures the first day:(  Here is our crew for the second day!

Mark got up for the first time backwards on shoe skis!  How sweet is that!  Then he took it one step further and easily did a backwards one foot. Great work!

Great backwards barefoot position

Back One Foot

 Mark’s son Nathan came out and did some footin’ too!  Before barefoot lessons with Keith St. Onge Nathan was tumbling up directly on the boom.  After a few goes look at Nathan go on the shortline! Way to go buddy!

Ready for a tumble up!

Nathan on the Shortline!

Kristin Smith learns a step off with ease! First on the boom then shortline and next step behind the boat on the longline.  Keep working it Kristin, we hope to see your name in the brackets on the WBC Figure Eight Championships in Winter Haven, FL.  Remember future Figure 8’ers…learn your one foots on the boom before you attempt kicking a ski!

One Foot!

Stepping OffOne Foot!

Caitlynn Smith is a natural barefooter.  Everything Caitlynn attempted she accomplished the first time!  Deepwater starts on the boom, shortline, and then longline.  Every time it was perfect and smooth.  Check her out on her first time behind the boat.  Three point to a great stand up!  

Front Deepwater Start

Barefooting Longline

 

Abby’s dad had his work cut out for him and learned a lot in one day!

 

Getting ready to stand up and Barefoot

Barefooting Longline

Abby learned how to barefoot water ski behind the boat in one day. 

Footing Longline

Barefooting behind the boat! Wooo Hoo!

 By Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman

Visiting Anytime Fitness Corporate Office

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Visiting Anytime Fitness Corporate Office

Anytime Fitness Tour Bus!

On our way through Minnesota we stopped by Anytime Fitness Corporate and met up with Mark Daly and our sponsor and club owner Natalie Betts. When arrived to Hastings, MN and we were greeted with smiles of amazement. Everyone was so curious why there was a thirty five by ten foot Anytime Fitness moving billboard parked in the visitor parking area. “We did not know we had an Anytime Fitness bus” many employers said.  Mike and Natalie  Betts helped us create a nationwide promotion of Anytime Fitness brand awareness wrapped in a tour bus.  The tour is linked with 2x World Champion Keith St. Onge’s Barefoot Tour, which also promotes my barefoot ski school in Winter Haven, FL  The World Barefoot Center.  Traveling the country spreading the word about health, eating right, and getting active has been a blast!  Follow the tour via  at Anytime Fitness National Barefoot Tour.

Keith St. Onge

The corporate offices of Anytime Fitness have the most phenomenal atmosphere!  Everyone was  upbeat, relaxed, an all around good vibe for happiness and health.  With bright colored walls and workout equipment made the offices feel like a true gym.  A special hallway is filled with news paper articles focusing on amazing Anytime Fitness gym goers with success stories.  The most memorable success story is when Jay Leno makes a big mistake on his show!  This success story is the major one that will hit home. Click here for story. It’s important to remember that no matter how much or how little you succeed at least you are doing something!  We applaud Susan Bock, keep it going girl!

We had to hit the road once again.  Anytime through us some personal swag and other gifts to hand out on the road.  We said our thank you’s and goodbyes and hit the pavement!

By Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman

Our Second Home- Chetek Wisconsin

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Chetek, Wisconsin with the Chetek Hydroflites Water Ski Show Team

Barefooting Boys of Chetek. Let's take this same picture in five years time. That would be funny!

The Chetek Hydroflites take the cake when it comes to consistently booking in a clinic with me for the past 7 years in a row.  Working with the Hydroflites skiers and the clinic organizer Ryan Hayes has been easy which makes my life on the road smooth.  This week we had three days and the boats were full!  The interesting thing is that 95% of the skiers were under 12 years old.

Over the past few years the Hydroflite ski show has altered it’s ski show acts more towards barefoot tricks.  Oh and we aren’t talking about the old men, but young kids with talent and drive!  Barefooting is the Hydroflites strength and they use it well for tournaments.

We have some exciting news!  At the Wisconsin State Show Ski Tournament 2011 three young boys scored the highest points compared to any other act in the Chetek Hydroflite show!  Congratulations to Brody Meskers with the back toe hold, back to front, Derek Buchman and Brandon Books for double front toe holds!  Boys, you have worked for it and done well!  It has been a pleasure training all of you!

By Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman

KSO Barefooting with Blouw & Friends

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Ron Blouw a Footstock Figure Eight Champion, hired Keith St. Onge to give  some barefoot lessons on Lake Payne in Michigan. Two wonderful days  full of skiing and tons of fun! Check out the video that Ron Blouw put together:

Ron and Cheryl were great hosts! Thank you for all of your support!

Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman