Posts Tagged ‘barefooting’

Will Rhea: Learning Barefoot Turns

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

The first time I went to the World Barefoot Center I was very anxious to learn turns. Swampy quickly put me in my place and told me that there was a strict progression to turns. I had to learn all four toeholds behind the boat, as well as the line step position. By the end of last summer, I was ready to learn, but it was October, so I did not have much time. My goal for this summer is to learn turns.

The first turn I tried back in October was with David Small, and he wanted me to try it on my feet. I fell on my first back to front, but landed my second one. He told me to try a front to back next, and I landed my first one. I did not realize at the time that it would not be as easy as it seemed on those first few turns!

The more I tried, the more I fell. After you take some falls, it starts to get in your head, and it causes you to be more defensive – which means more falls! Before turns, most things in barefooting came easy to me. I have come to the point now, however, that if I want to learn something new, I am going to have to take a lot of hard falls.

I also have to work a lot harder to keep a positive attitude. I have realized that without a positive attitude and mental toughness, you cannot succeed in barefooting. I know that I will have to stay confident and positive and be willing to learn from my mistakes and keep trying. Barefooting is not easy!

Will Rhea

Life at the World Barefoot Center

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Whether you’re brand new to barefoot water skiing or you’re an expert, we have a spot for you on the boat at the World Barefoot Center!

Here’s a peek inside a typical day at the WBC:

Workouts are optional.

Duane Godfrey: Dear Ben and Ash…

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Hey Ben and Ash…or Ash and Ben???

Thanks for your help last week. Not that I don’t know this, but it is always useful to highlight my weak link: the left leg. Hence it was a left leg weak/week.

As I recall, the reverse one foot turns were lousy and even after reverting back to two, they were crap as well…always coming off the turning foot. Don’t know if I pull myself off or just am springloaded to ruin the turn by jamming in the supposed free leg…or both. Would like to go through some video next time down.

So, to break it up I was dismayed to hear Ben inform me that I would be trying shoe reverse line fronts – to force myself on that foot. I knew this would not go well–hence my expectations were well illustrated in the first two or three comedy skits. However, I actually made it around on the 3rd or 4th try, but slammed in the right foot so hard that it felt literally like landing a jump without a cup. Lesson learned and actually started to come to the front balanced on my left foot. Never made 3 in a row, but felt great nonetheless. (Did a “three-zee” with Ashleigh – she’s’ better looking.)

Anyway, I feel pretty pumped about doing a turn I thought impossible…thank you!! And thanks Ash for pointing out that I looked as useless as Ben on the shoe reverse toe front…you will recall that I made one after that incentive…I have standards you know…

In the jump sets, I actually was in control for a couple. Once again thanks Ben for the help and taking the time to illustrate with video between jumps

On the final day with Ash, did a few more reverse line fronts, including a few longline. Thanks Ash for your pointers… “look back, push the handle down and keep it there, turn the hips and ensure a controlled touch down at the front.”

Back wake slalom was a disaster and it was again literally drilled home to STAY LOW – do NOT allow being pulled up; do this event on the tower. Ended up doing cutouts until the feet sizzled. Again, a drill I am in need of.

So, what did I learn:
Stay on the left foot and don’t pull myself up.
Push down on the turning foot
Fight to keep looking at the back
Force the handle down coming to the front
Practice the rev line front regularly and gain some coordination
Exaggerate knee bend in the back px
Keep after jump practice
Stay solid and low in slalom

Thanks again and hope to see you soon


Filippo Ribaldone: Back on the Water

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Photo by Timo Harju

Finally, after a long winter on the snow in the middle of April, I got back on the water. This winter was impossible for me to ski or even go to Florida because I did a course to become a snowboard teacher. It was a 1 season long course with no free time and 3 exams at the end.  The course was really helpful for me because it gave me knowledge not just about snowboard techniques but also athlete preparation theory, sport psychology, and motivation, safety and a lot of other interesting things.  Finally, I successfully passed the exam.

This year, I started with a different preparation on the water, thanks to the Italian Waterski Federation. We moved the boat in a very big lake called Viverone, this gave me te opportunity to start the season with some good bases i been doing set of 4 slalom passes, the good thing? every passes was soo long like 5 time a normal pass, and i was also skin in my lake the Waterski KLI in Ravenna, this combination for me was pretty good cos now i physically feels really good and gave me the opportunity to find out how to slide better on water and go back to the 2mt pole in stead of the high fly for back slalom which it make me goes faster.

Right now we took the boat back to the Italian Waterski Federation center in Recetto where the condition are always good and monday I’m gonna start jumping and tricking. I never enjoyed slalom, but now that I learned more about it I start to like it soo much. It is technical, fast, powerful  and also you to kind of edge change, is kind of carving and I love it. (ok, not as much as jumping :)

This season is gonna be fun as always, we got Italian National 12/13 of july, Scandinavian open in Norway, E&A’s in Austria and a competition in Holland.

Now everything is getting ready and fun for the new season, and I’m glad to feel that finally summer is arrived!

Filippo Ribaldone

Watching Barefoot Water Skiing for the First Time with my Dad

Monday, June 16th, 2014

My first introduction to Barefoot water skiing was in the late 1960’s when my dad was teaching himself how to barefoot. He was wearing a life jacket and a swim suit. There was no protection for him like we have today. He had a low profile, 18-foot jet boat. He used a slalom ski that he had taken the bindings off of, so that he could step off of the ski easier. I can remember him taking some wicked falls trying to teach himself. This was back when there were very few barefooters and no one around to give pointers to him.

He was very determined to learn, after a good year of stepping out of a ski he was able to do it about 50% of the time. Of course, I know what his main problem was; it was that he skied in too high of a position, which caused him to catch a toe or two, LOL.  I could have told him that back then– if I knew what I know now.

My dad has been battling with cancer for the past 5 years. Now, as the doctors give him no hope or help, we scramble to find a doctor that will treat him and not just let him die with no help.

Jerry “Flipper” Kanawyer

Collin Barber: off the Water, and Back Again

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014


For the past year, I have had to restrict my skiing due to a knee injury that I got last spring. I ended up tearing a ligament in my knee doing surface turns. For the first half of the summer, I was unable to ski. It was extremely annoying and agonizing to wait to ski again. Eventually, I was cleared and continued to ski the rest of the remaining summer. The doctors had said my knee was fine but something still seemed off about it. It still hurt during some types of movement and ached every now and then. After summer was over, I got it checked out one more time just in case. The doctors came to the conclusion to scope my knee to just “clean stuff up”. After the quick operation, I would be all good for full physical ability in just a couple weeks.

So there I was in the hospital, waiting for the anesthesiologists, when the doctor finally told me, “Oh, by the way, there could be a possibility while we’re in there that your knee’s meniscus is torn too. And if it is, well we’re gonna fix it and you won’t be able to do anything for the next 5 months. But that’s a small possibility. So! Let’s go!”

And what do ya know, after I woke up from the operation, I got to find out that that small possibility had actually happened. What that meant was for the next month and a half I couldn’t walk or bend my leg. Then the next 3 and a half months I got to walk, but I still couldn’t run or do any physical activity.

So… besides this winter being completely immobilizing, I have finally rehabilitated completely. For the first time in two years, I finally get to compete again barefooting, and I am definitely looking forward to it. I have goals already set that I am determined to meet by the end of the summer.

Collin Barber

World Barefoot Center with DevinSuperTramp and Vooray

Monday, April 28th, 2014

YouTube star, Devin Graham, AKA Devin Super Tramp and his crew are at the World Barefoot Center capturing crazy footage of our extreme sport for their next project with Vooray apparel with Todd Nyman.  New to Devin and Vooray? Check this out:

Human Slingshot

Follow Devin at:

DevinSuperTramp Website

DevinSuperTramp on Facebook

DevinSuperTramp on Twitter

DevinSuperTramp on Instagram

Vooray on Twitter

Vooray on Facebook

Vooray on Instagram

For an inside look at Devin and his passion for film:

Teri Larson Jones: Coping with Age Anxiety

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Lately, I’ve been freaking out that my 45th birthday is on April 27th.  Yikes! How did I get here?? I typically ignore my age and simply live my life, but this year I’m struggling with my age and finding it hard to make the same old jokes about being 29 again. If having a mid-life crisis means you feel like life is flying by too quickly, or that I feel too young to be this old, then I’m definitely experiencing one.

So, how does my “age anxiety” relate to barefooting? For one thing it leads me to question whether I’m too old to compete in this sport.  The first time I felt really self-conscious about my age as a barefooter was at the 2013 U.S. Nationals. It was my first national championship as an open skier, and truth be told I felt a little silly on the dock because my oldest competitor was 16 years younger than me. I had to remind myself that the open division isn’t about age…it’s about ability. Other awkward moments are when I’m in the boat training with people whose parents are my age. I feel like I should be on shore with the parents instead of being on the water with their kids.

Behind my “age anxiety” is an underlying feeling that I should “grow up” or “act my age.” I know others think that way too because without fail after every world championship I’ve skied people ask me “are you going to quit now?” It’s as if they expect the worlds to be a point of closure, much like a graduation from high school or college. Granted, these people do not understand the sport because they don’t barefoot, but I get the impression that they expect me to be “done” with this sport after skiing a worlds so I can move on and do things that “grown ups” do.

I happen to know some grown ups who are incredibly awesome barefooters. For example, look at two of my U.S. teammates: Willy Farrell and Peter Fleck. Both of these guys are older than I am yet they still compete as elite skiers. Other grown up skiers such as Chris Mcwatters, Duane Godfrey, Judy Myers, Karen Putz, and Joann O’Connor also inspire me.  Actually, anyone (especially skiers over age 40) who is trying to improve their skiing and is working on new things inspire me to keep pushing myself. For all of us, barefooting should serve as a source of personal growth in our lives-a process that I hope continues until the day I die. If being “grown up” or “acting my age” means the process of personal growth is over, then I want nothing to do with it!

Of course, another other source of my “age anxiety” is the fear that my body won’t be able to withstand the learning curve I have ahead of me to achieve my personal goals in this sport.  I know I’ve set some lofty goals for myself, so it’s important that I take good care of my body so I can achieve them. Even though I see the things that Willy and Peter can do at their age, I remind myself that when they were 45 years old they were already doing the things I see them doing now.  They learned their stuff WAY before age 45. The biggest challenge I face at age 45 is actually doing the things I want to learn for the first time because my sights are set on difficult goals.

One of the things I love the most about skiing at WBC is that they don’t accept my age as an excuse to avoid pushing myself to the next level. My age simply isn’t a factor when I train with them. Even if I pull the “age card” as an excuse for anything they see right through it and call me out on it. It’s awesome to ski with instructors who recognize my abilities and know how to maximize my potential.

I’ve heard it said that stating something out loud (or on a medium such as this blog) makes you accountable for your words.  So, instead of allowing my “age anxiety” to make me feel insecure or too old to progress, I’ve decided to view it from a different perspective. After all, “anxiety” has positive and negative connotations. It can be a feeling of fear or uneasiness, but it can also be a feeling of eagerness or intense desire. Therefore, from this point forward I’ll redirect my “age anxiety” toward celebrating what I can do on the water DESPITE my age, and to eagerly anticipate the process of reaching my goals. Happy 45th birthday to me!

Teri Larson Jones

Johnathan Martines: The Importance of Confidence

Monday, April 21st, 2014

​When I was 14, I realized that I had a chance at making the US Junior Barefoot Waterski Team. Even though my scores were very low compared to the other people being considered for team selection, I knew it would be possible for me to bring up my scores. The following fall, spring, and beginning of summer were spent busting my butt trying to learn most of the basics and turns.

​By the time the first tournament of the season came around in the 2012 season, I knew all of the fundamentals, I was doing all 4 turns behind the boat consistently, my slalom was twice as good as the previous year, and I was on the cusp of landing my first inverted jump behind the boat. So when I ventured to the Southern Glass tournament with Team WBC, my skiing was in check but one thing wasn’t… my confidence. Because this was the biggest tournament of my life up to that point, I was stressed out beyond belief. I couldn’t sleep the night before because all that I could think about was all that could go wrong, rather than what could go right.

​When I skied the tournament, my skiing showed just how stressed out I was. I fell in tricks and fell on my first slalom crossing. The only positive of the tournament was that I landed my first jump in a tournament. These scores would not earn me a spot on the junior team. I was devastated.
​The next day, I had a serious inner talk with myself. I realized that I needed to start having 100% confidence in my skiing. Each day in training, I worked my butt off so I would be confident in my abilities when I arrived at the next tournament in two weeks. My skiing shot like a rocket in the following two weeks. I started working on multiple turns. My slalom was cleaner, faster, and more consistent. I also landed my first inverted jumps behind the boat.

​When I arrived at the next tournament, I was ready to ski. I was eager to be first on the water so I could show that I was good enough to earn a spot on the junior team. I started off the day by tricking 3650, nearly 2000 points more than my previous personal best. I slalomed over 12, 4 more crosses than my old PB. I also landed my first inverted jump in a tournament!

​My strategy of believing in myself worked. I smashed all of my old PBs and finally had a really good chance at making the junior team. Long story short…I made the team. So why did I tell you this long personal account? The reason is to demonstrate how far self confidence can go. Having a good mindset and believing you can do something will increase your chances of accomplishing what you want much more than if you have low confidence. Whether it be in barefoot waterskiing or in life, believe you are better than you are, but act like you are worse than you are. This positive way of thinking and humble way of acting will help you accomplish things you never thought possible.

World Barefoot Center Featured on Talizma

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

The World Barefoot Center crew is featured on Talizma, “Talent Worth Sharing”:

If You Love Water Sports Then This Video Will Thrill You to Core

More on WBC in the news:

WBC Featured in the News