Posts Tagged ‘barefooting’

James Callahan: My WBC Experience

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Hello my name is James. I am 11 years old, and I live in Minneapolis, MN. I am writing this blog to tell you about my WBC (World Barefoot Center) experience. I have been down to the WBC twice now. The first time I went down was in June 2014 with my Grandma. When I went down to the ski school the first time, I had only just learnt how to short rope on the boom. After being at WBC for two days, I progressed to doing a long line deep water start.

I recently went down to the WBC for my second time in October 2014. I had the greatest time of my life. It was the first time that I flew by myself on an airplane to anywhere. At first I was a little scared but after the flight attendants helped me and gave me cookies, it was all good. When I got down to the Tampa Bay, FL airport my Grandpa was picking me up and I could tell he was nervous. He didn’t want to lose me or do something wrong. Then when I got to his place everything was ok. My Grandpa lives down in St. Petersburg, FL so it was very convenient that he lives really close to the WBC ski school.

The next morning we woke up at 6.00am to drive to Winter Haven. When we arrived at the ski school, I met the WBC crew. It was so much fun and everyone was funny and kind. I got to meet David Small, Ben Groen and Keith St. Onge! They are very nice and great teachers.

The second time I was down there for the week I learnt so much like tumble turns, toe holds and back deep starts. I look forward to practicing at home and down in Florida. I am hoping to keep progressing in the sport. Even though I love barefooting, I will also enjoy playing hockey this winter. I can’t wait to get back to WBC and hang out with the gang.

– James Callahan

Lizzie Rhea: the End of Barefooting Season

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

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This is the time of year that I trade in barefoot waterskiing for horseback riding and basketball. I love both of those things, but I am going to miss barefooting season more than ever this year. I am always sad to end the ski season when October rolls around. We closed down our house at the lake yesterday, and I have been down in the dumps thinking about it.

I think I will miss it more this year, because I am right in the middle of working harder to learn new things. It is sad to think that I have to postpone my goals for several months. I would love to keep pushing forward and be able to practice all year.

The only good thing about my sport being seasonal, is that I won’t get burned out. I guess it is a good thing that I love it, and don’t want to take such a long break! I have one more long weekend to look forward to at the WBC, and then I have to wait until next April to barefoot again! It is like thinking about Christmas in the summertime!

Lizzie Rhea

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Forster: My Travel Destinations

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

As the tournament season winds down, for most of us, our focus turns to work and/or school. We still continue to ski, but as Fall is upon us and Winter approaches, the weather and cooler temperatures reduce the opportunity to ski. I would like to share with you some of my recent travel experiences, since I’m not sure how many of you get the opportunity to travel to other countries. I am very fortunate that my chosen profession affords me to travel all over the world, as I just returned from a 15 day trip to South America and Africa. I left Brownsville, TX. the night of September 16 ( this was a technical stop for fuel and to swap crews, as the trip originated in Oakland, CA. ) and flew to Rio de Janiero, Brazil, a 9 1/2 hour flight, where we spent 2 nights. Then it was off to Windhoek, Namibia on the continent of Africa, a 7 hour flight and the weather over the South Atlantic was absolutely beautiful! Not many aircraft cross that far south, but it was a smooth flight. Namibia used to be called Southwest Africa and gained its independence from South Africa in 1990. It’s a progressive country and fairly modern, having been settled by the Germans and their influence was seen everywhere. My crew and I booked several game safaris and spent the next 6 days exploring the wildlife on some of the largest private game reserves in the world. All the big game animals of Africa were seen and the scenery was spectacular! I actually got within 2 feet of a female cheetah, as they are pretty calm compared to the other big cats.


Th
en it was on to Maun, in the northwest part of Botswana,  a short flight, only 50 minutes. but Botswana was a big change from Namibia. Here we were in the ‘bush’, as this was in the Okavango Delta, a part of Africa that all the animals come to water and feed themselves. It was very hot, about 100 degrees and there are several game parks that are protected from hunting and poaching. We spent 5 days there and took a safari in to the Moremi National Park and really saw the animals in the wild and up close. Elephants, giraffe, lions, hippos, water buffalo, zebras just to name a few. They truly are magnificent animals up close and in their natural habitat, no bars or fences to keep them in, it made me appreciate just how much that they need to be protected. We then took a boat tour through the delta, and it was very much like being in the Everglades. tall grass and water for miles. That’s were I came in close contact with a large group of elephants and at times, was as close as 20 feet! We probably saw about 200 elephants that day, pretty amazing. There were stretches of glass, calm water and all I could think of was how much that I’d love to ski on it. But there’s no skiing there as the water is full of hippos and crocodiles :-(. Oh well, I can still dream about it though.


I really enjoyed my time in Namibia and Botswana, but everything must come to and end and it was off to London, an 11 hour 48 minute flight. Here, we took on an extra pilot as we require 3 pilots for flights over 10 hours. We landed about 10 PM and spent 2 nights there. The weather was noticeably cooler, about 68 degrees and we stayed at the Parklane Hilton, right across the street from Hyde Park. I always enjoy the hustle and bustle of downtown London and my stay was too short. The next morning, we took off and flew the final leg home to Oakland, another long flight of 10 hours 30 minutes. Our route of flight took us far north to 78 degrees Latitude, which is above the center of Greenland, before turning back to the southwest over the Artic Control areas of Canada and into the Pacific Northwest, finally landing in Oakland. What a trip! It was for me, a trip of a lifetime and don’t know when I’ll go back again. So when you’re wondering what to do with your spare time or a vacation, remember, the possibilities are endless, don’t be afraid to go out there and see the World!

Jim Forster

Duane Godfrey: Boom Height for Barefooting

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

I have been fortunate to receive the ski school experience over the years. I watch the instructor like a hawk and notice their exceptional instruction, analysis and driving skills. The staff is also cognizant and adept at changing boom height. On a given day, I have seen the height adjusted up to 20X.

Having seen the light, it seems to me that when skiing recreationally, one should consider changing boom height for different skiers and the tasks at hand vs leaving the boom at a fixed height and suffering through the consequences. On a given set at WBC, I see for example the boom set for starts and one foots (medium height) then lowered for front and back toeholds. For the next skier it might be raised to above medium height for turns and then lowered to medium or lower for toeturns. It all makes sense – learning and practicing under optimal conditions.

Yet recreationally I see groups that NEVER change the height even though these skiers are trying very hard to accomplish their goals. I notice them trying to learn back toe holds where the strap is literally above their head height with the skier wondering why it is so hard to get into the strap when leaning way too far away with straight ski leg trying to get the free leg up to the elusive strap. Same thing for toeups: Contrary to some beliefs, it is harder to learn this trick on the boom with the strap too high. You are less stable on the water with your free leg jacked up, one has to lean a bit further back than desired and it is harder to slam that foot in and/or place it in and drive it down; the upper body should be at least vertical or slightly forward while powering it up. Granted it is slightly easier to toe up on the SFH vs tower because there is some upward assist, however the adjustment in body angle while riding the butt is negligible. It is really pushing down on the standup leg that does the trick. For the simple basic front toe hold, it makes a lot of sense to have the boom lower so it isn’t so much a stretch to get that foot up, out and in the strap. The final act in getting the foot forward and in the strap is a slight arm pull yet when the boom is too high it causes one to straighten the free leg and lean back to get those last few inches. I can’t even type this without holding a mighty ab flex when imagining the dreaded high boom toeup and/or toehold!

WBC also uses a rope extension – usually 5’ (therefore 10’ total) from the boom that helps making it more like the longline. This extension is a really good idea as it also dampens the force pulling the skier straight. I tend to overturn my basic f-b. On the SFH or extension, the error is dampened and I can get away with the error without falling. Whereas on the 5’, when I turn past center, I find the recovery very tough and don’t need a practice fall to remind me. The 5’ is just too artificial to me. The extension also dampens effects of a too high boom.

Next time you are at a ski school, notice the driver’s attention to changing boom height for different skiers and differing tricks. Just my opinion, but I think it a worthwhile investment to get an adjustable boom clamp and becoming “expert” at quickly adjusting height a/r.

Duane Godfrey

Don't let this happen--lower the boom!

David Baranowski: New to Competition

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

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My name is David Baranowski and I live in Philadelphia. I started barefooting in 2006 when I bought my first ski boat, my wife thought it was cool to watch but didn’t want anything to do with it except drive for me, she then sent me to Florida for some training and I was addicted to it even more.

I started to learn tumbles and then on to 1 foots, what a blast learning them, I went to a clinic with Keith St. Onge for a day and wow was it awesome, so this year I ran a clinic with Keith and worked on back ones that I’m having such a hard time with, but was determined to get them. I am going to do my first tournament at the eastern regionals in Pennsylvania and my goal is to do all four tumbles to one and to front toes. I cannot wait to get to the wbc and ski my butt off and work as hard as I can to make myself and the WBC proud.

David Baranowski

Sam Meredith, My Summer at the World Barefoot Center

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

This was my 2nd trip to the World Barefoot Center and certainly the warmest ski conditions I’ve experienced where there is no temperature difference between being in or out of the water. I had little ski time over the last year due to bad weather and logistics but managed to keep up a daily workout in the gym for strength endurance and fitness. Xmas 2012 at the World Barefoot Center got me from just about standing on the water to consistent front toe holds, tumbles and stand up to one foots and getting up backwards behind the boat. I was a little nervous it would take me a while to get back to where I was after a year with a small amount of ski practice.

The first few days worked on my front toe holds, slalom and backwards getting more and more confident. After the 5 days training I worked on backwards one foots on the 10 foot line working up to a toe hold which I managed to nail once after some work, although my one foot position needed much work for consistency.

During the second week of my visit I worked on consistency doing back deeps which took some time to get the hang of again. Ashleigh helped me become more consistent with this by gliding for long passes then eventually getting up backwards and then back down to the glide at the end of the pass. From getting the hang of that I moved it to behind the boat and rarely missed a start and practised getting out of the wake then managing a wake crossing. I also worked on my front trick pass consisting of toe holds and tumbles to one foots. As I became stronger in my toe hold position I started to learn the toe up starting from a negative which after at least 30 attempts managed to complete on the 10 foot.

Also a big part of my stay included fitness training for the team Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. The training was mainly body weight circuits but involved sprints, swimming and some weighted exercises every workout involved almost every muscle group and lasted approx. 90 minutes. The fitness training was orientated around skiing and interval style sprints or swims this is similar to the way a ski set is achieved by doing a series of intense passes.

Barefooting with the Legends

Monday, August 25th, 2014

On October 25th, an amazing event called “Legends.” This unique USA Waterski Foundation fundraiser allows the everyday skier to rub shoulders with the greatest water skiers of all time – the skiers who have shaped the sport into what it is today.

“Legends” is in its fourth year, but due to its incredible success with raising money for the USA Waterski Foundation, it has expanded this year to include barefooting and LD jumping for the first time.

The barefoot legends who are attending the event so far are Ron Scarpa, Mike Seipel, Peter Fleck, and John Gillette (who literally wrote the book on barefooting!). I have invited several other legends as well, so I will update you with the legend attendees as the event draws closer.

Here is how the barefoot event will run: On Saturday, October 25th barefooters who purchase a skier package will meet at WBC at 7:00am for registration, and will be on the water at 8:00am. Ron Scarpa and Mike Seipel are the instructors for the day, and each skier will spend half the day with both of them. In other words, if you ski with Mike in the morning, you will ski with Ron in the afternoon, and vice versa. Your morning and afternoon sets will be broken up with a lunch that will be provided at the WBC. The lunch kicks off what we are calling the “WBC Beach Party” because it is here that the other legends and people who purchase a non-skier package will congregate for the afternoon. The lunch/beach party will be a fun reunion for the legends and a great opportunity for skiers to meet and hang out with some legendary barefooters! At the end of the day, the barefooters will come together with the slalom skiers and LD jumpers for an awards banquet and dinner at the Fantasy of Flight.

For the record, “Legends” is an entire weekend filled with fun activities you can attend. On Friday night and Sunday afternoon there are activities taking place at the USA Waterski Headquarters….but for simplicity I will not explain them here.

Contact Teri Larson at the World Barefoot Center at (863) 877-0039 or check out the USA Waterski Foundation website to register or for more details.

Anyone who is participating in the “Legends” event has a few options to choose from. You can choose a skier package, non-skier package, Saturday banquet only, or you can donate auction items. The skier package includes access to allwater and land events being held from October 24th to 26th, a goodie bag, a tour of the Hall of Fame, and of course…a day of skiing with Mike and Ron.

WE HAVE 10 SPOTS FOR SKIERS…so get on it quickly if you want to ski! A non-skier package can be just as much fun as the skier package. Non-skier packages include a tour of the Hall of Fame, entry into the WBC beach party on Saturday, and admission to the Saturday night banquet. Tickets for the Saturday night banquet are also available. The USA Waterski foundation is also looking for silent auction items that people can bid on at the Saturday night banquet.

The USA Waterski foundation a subsidiary of USA Waterski that is responsible for funding the Waterski Hall of Fame and all of the waterski scholarships that are awarded to athletes every year. All proceeds for this event are
donated to the USA Waterski foundation. Therefore, “Legends” is a great event for a great cause. You won’t want to miss it! Register online ASAP to secure your spot!

Click here to register your spot in the boat!

Teri Larson

Jerry Kanawyer: I Found the Cure for Elbow Pain

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

I have been competing for 28 years now. Wow, I can still remember my first tournament, but that’s not the issue that I’m here to address. From the many years of skiing and especially for me, tricks like the flip have taken a toll on my elbows. I have had tendonitis in my elbows for about 8 years now. It gets so bad at times that I can’t lift my arm. It really makes it tough to train, and it cuts into my time on the water. I have tried numerous ways of trying to get them healed. I have tried Aleve for a long period of time. It does help a little, but it never completely heals them. I have tried weights, working the muscles around the joints. I have tried rubber band work outs and stretches. What finally worked for me was I made my own elbow braces. My elbows don’t hurt while or after I ski any more. I do have to wear them every time I ski, but it’s worth it, having the satisfaction that I don’t have to worry about them anymore.

Jim Forster: My Barefooting Friend Duane Godfrey

Friday, August 8th, 2014

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As we find ourselves right in the middle of the ski season, some of us are engaged in intense barefoot training, trying to improve our tricks, slalom and jump. But you can’t do it alone, you have to ski with other individuals that have similar goals. I have one such friend and ski partner in Duane Godfrey. For those of you not familiar with Duane, he’s one of the most dedicated, focused skiers I have ever met. His nickname ‘Captain Intensity’ can give you an idea of how dedicated he is to improving his skiing, and let me tell you, this guy can ski! I’m a ripe old 53 years old and can barely perform all four 180 surface turns consistently, but Duane who is 5 years older, can perform 180s, 360s and even 540s, including 1 foot turns! When I watch him ski, it gives me inspiration ( and hope ) to improve my skiing and maybe one day I’ll be able to do what he has. He serves as an example to young and old skiers alike that you’re never to old to learn.

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But I have to tell you a story about Duane’s latest accomplishment. There he and I were, this past Sunday, skiing at my favorite place and behind my 2004 Sanger. We had perfect conditions, glass calm water and it’s Duane’s turn to ski. He starts with his usual back deep to 44 mph, position turn to the front and then a series of maybe 14 turns in variious combinations ( 360s, 180s, 540s ) and then he ends up in forward BSP. As he rides along, I’m thinking he”ll soon throw the handle to end the pass, but wait, he’s still skiing! He loads ino a front toe hold, waits a few seconds and then does a beautiful toe back. Now I’m thinking, OK, he’s done and he’ll kick out of it and on to the next pass……but wait, he pauses, sets up and does his very first toe front! And let me tell you, it was textbook perfect, no faltering or near butt outs, just a clean feet to feet toe front long line. His arms were raised above his head and he was all smiles, I think I heard his yell over the droning of the boat engine! I was truly amazed at what I just witnessed and now the bar has been raised.

But on top of his skiing, Duane is also a kind, caring person and will go out of his way to help anybody. I first met Duane at the 2010 Worlds in Brandenburg, Germany where we both competed for our countries ( he for Canada, and I for the USA ). We struck up a conversation on the starting dock and the rest is history. Duane comes to Florida to ski when he’s not flying as an Airbus A319/320/321 captain and we train together either at the WBC or in West Palm Beach. Being a pilot myself, the conversation naturally turns to flying when we’re not talking about skiing so there’s no lack of conversation between the 2 of us. As Duane heads off to the Canadian Nationals this weekend and I to the US Nationals next week, I just want to say ‘Good Luck Duane’ and look forward to catching up the next time we meet again!

Jim Forster

Sam Meredith: Summer at the World Barefoot Center

Monday, July 21st, 2014

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This was my 2nd trip to the World Barefoot Center and certainly the warmest ski conditions I’ve experienced where there is no temperature difference between being in or out of the water. I had little ski time over the last year due to bad weather and logistics, but managed to keep up a daily workout in the gym for strength endurance and fitness. Christmas 2012 at the World Barefoot Center got me from just about standing on the water to consistent front toe holds, tumbles and stand up to one foots and getting up backwards behind the boat. I was a little nervous it would take me a while to get back to where I was after a year with a small amount of ski practice.

The first few days worked on my front toe holds, slalom and backwards getting more and more confident. After the 5 days training, I worked on backwards one foots on the 10 foot line working up to a toe hold which I managed to nail once after some work, although my one foot position needed much work for consistency.

During the second week of my visit I worked on consistency doing back deeps which took some time to get the hang of again. Ashleigh helped me become more consistent with this by gliding for long passes then eventually getting up backwards and then back down to the glide at the end of the pass. From getting the hang of that, I moved it to behind the boat and rarely missed a start and practised getting out of the wake then managing a wake crossing. I also worked on my front trick pass consisting of toe holds and tumbles to one foots. As I became stronger in my toe hold position I started to learn the toe up starting from a negative which after at least 30 attempts managed to complete on the 10 foot.

Also a big part of my stay included fitness training for the team Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. The training was mainly body weight circuits but involved sprints, swimming and some weighted exercises every workout involved almost every muscle group and lasted approx. 90 minutes. The fitness training was orientated around skiing and interval style sprints or swims this is similar to the way a ski set is achieved by doing a series of intense passes.

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