Posts Tagged ‘ben groen’

Brice Storman – The First Time

Friday, April 10th, 2015

My first day at WBC was pretty awkward. I knew I was around the best barefooters you could meet and I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself.  We go out on the boat and I’m the last one to ski. When I’m up to ski my heart starts racing as I plop in the water. Ben Groen, my instructor for the time spent over at WBC, is one of the coolest and nicest people you could meet. He put me out on the seahorse first, which I thought was for sissies; I thanked him in my head for taking me off. Then the thanking reversed. The boom was so hard but I didn’t complain. I took so many falls it felt like forever but it really wasn’t. Fall after fall, my confidence depletes. The third day Ben has the idea of putting me back on the seahorse and I feel so embarrassed. But it works: first try, I stood up on the boom. A couple tries later, I’m on the short line and it’s awesome.

Thank goodness Ben never gave up on me and I never gave up on him!

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Keith St. Onge’s World Championship History

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

1996 World Championship:

At the age of 18 Keith skied in his first World Championship held in Fergus Falls, MN in 1996.  Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.  He qualified to ski in the second round in all three events (slalom, trick and jump) and took 7th Overall.

Keith St. Onge competing in his 1st World Championships in 1996

1998 World Championship:

In 1998 Keith moved to Florida for the winter and trained for the World Championship in Sydney, Australia.  He won his 1st gold medal in Slalom and took 3rd Overall.  Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2000 World Championship:

In 2000 the World Championships went back to Fergus Falls, MN.  Keith did not place in the top three in the individual events but took Silver Overall.  Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2002 World Championship:

In 2002 the Worlds were held in Wallsee, Austria.  Keith was favored to win the Overall.  He took Gold in Slalom, Silver in Tricks and Silver Overall.  He came up short to the young David Small from England that surprised everyone with his talented skiing.  Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2004 World Championship:

In 2004 the Worlds were in Mulwala, Australia.  Keith won the Bronze in the Slalom and Trick events.  Keith was favored to win the Overall title once again but came up short to David Small.  For the third time in a row Keith won the Silver in the Overall title.  Frustrated and depressed on coming up short for the Gold Overall medal St. Onge changed his life habits and set out on a quest to win an Overall Title before it was too late. Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2006 World Championship:

Keith trained harder than he ever had one year prior to this tournament and suffered a back injury that almost changed the outcome and stopped him from competing.  This event was held in Adna, Washington.  Favored to win once again the pressure was immense.  After the first round of the jump event Ketih’s back injury resurfaced.  The team masseuse (Charlene Portman) kept Keith’s back function-able to carry him through the tournament.  Keith went on to win the Gold in the Slalom event, Gold in the Trick event and his first Overall Title earning him the Gold.  This was by far Keith’s best performance setting World Records in every (3 rounds) round in the tricks event.   Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2008/2009 World Championship:

Coming off his first Overall Title in 2006 Keith teamed up with past coach Gary “Swampy” Bouchard to train for the Word Championship in Otaki, New Zealand.  With an incredible trick routine put together by coach Swampy, Keith was the first skier to trick over 12,000 points in history.  Keith won Gold in Slalom and Bronze in the trick finals.  Keith won his first medal (Silver) in the jump event and won the Overall Title for the second time.

Keith St. Onge winning his 2nd Overall World Title with L-R, Team Coach Lee Stone, KSO with close friends Adin Daneker & Ryan Boyd

2010 World Championship:

Brandenbourg, Germany was the location of the 2010 Worlds.  Keith and David Small merged their barefoot water ski schools to create the World Barefoot Center.  They trained with each other under the wing of Coach Swampy and began skiing as friends but still harsh competitors at the tournaments.  Keith took Gold in Slalom and Tricks while David Small took Gold in Jump and Overall.  It was a clean sweep for the new business partners and a big win for the business.  Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2012 World Championship:

Waco, Texas hosted the 2012 World tournament and it was another show down.  Keith won the Gold in Slalom and Tricks while David Small won the Gold in Jump and Overall.   Keith also won the Silver medal in the Overall title.  Keith was a member of the USA World Team that earned a Silver in the Team Overall.  This was the first time in twenty six years team USA did not win the Gold Team Overall.

2014 World Championship:

The worlds were held in Mulwala, Australia for a second time.  David Small put a personal best slalom score of 19.8 on the board in the 1st round.  Keith skied next and also put a personal best score on the board of 21.1.  The next event was jumping while Keith put a 25.4m jump up his first round David Small came back with a 26.5m jump putting them dead even for the Overall going into the tricks event.  David put a near perfect run together matching his world record of 12,150 points.  Keith bobbled on his first trick while the rest of his run quickly disintegrated.  He fell early in his second pass and posted low score up.  It was to low to make the semi-final round, which meant he would no longer be able to fight for an Overall medal.  The only thing he could do was focus on winning the gold in slalom and try to medal in the jump event.  Jump is Keith’s weak event but he had put many training hours into this event over the past few years.

Keith won the slalom event and jumped a personal best distance of 26.6m/87.3ft to put the pressure on world jump record holder David Small.  David fell short on his last jump giving Keith his first World Championship Jump Title and 13th career World Championship Gold Medal.  David Small won the trick and overall while Keith won Slalom and Jump.  This meant a clean sweep for business partners David Small and Keith St. Onge as well as for the World Barefoot Center Ski School.

Winning this jump title made Keith St.Onge 1 of 4 men to have ever won all three events at a World Championship. Others being, Brett Wing, Mike Seipel & Ron Scarpa.

2014 Jump Finals: 1st Keith St. Onge, 2nd David Small, 3rd Ben Groen. A World Barefoot Center sweep

2016 World Championship:

The Blue Moo in Alma Center, Wisconsin will host the 2016 Worlds.

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

World Barefoot Center no longer an Eagle Dealer

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

As of January 2, 2014

WBC NEWS – Company growth outpaces supplier’s production ability!

Every successful company reaches thresholds of increased demand, of elevated customer expectations and of heightened responsibility to their industry. The WBC has just been informed by Chuck Gleason of Eagle Sports that he will no longer be able to meet the barefoot wetsuit production demands of WBC.

In a letter to the WBC Chuck states “You guys have ordered a lot of product, and I know our product fits well within your business…….It’s with regret that I have to inform you that Eagle Sports will be unable to fulfill your wetsuit production needs for this coming season……..we don’t feel we can deliver product to WBC in a timely enough manner for you to adequately support your clients………. ”

The WBC is grateful for the relationship we have had with Eagle Sports during our growth. This was an expected phase, to outpace some of our suppliers, however we did not forecast being at this point with our wetsuit demand at this time.

Ben Groen – WBC Manager Product Development & Manufacturing is excited about this new step “I look at it as an opportunity to learn from our growth and ultimately enhance delivery with higher quality products. By partnering with a more established manufacturer that has closer ties to global markets we will position our company with the leaders within the industry”

The WBC wishes Eagle Sports continued success.

The World Barefoot Center would like to apologize to our customers as we go through this transitional period. We are excited to say we have been working with a respected company and well known wetsuit manufacturer to bring a new line of custom WBC wetsuits soon. We will follow up with an announcement shortly.

Team WBC

Getting to Know Ben Groen

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The name, Ben Groen, is starting to get pretty big around the World Barefoot Center. You see his name on all of our video’s, You see him in the boat, coaching and instructing skiers of all ages and abilities. You see him on the phone taking care of customers and all over the school taking care of business.

Ben is 22 years old and he is from New Zealand. The Groen name is famous in the barefooting circles, as his Dad Rob and uncle Fred have been involved in the sport for over 30 years and are still deeply involved to this day.  Ben first came to the school when he was 18 for what was suppose to be a one week stay, which ended up being being a six week stay. In those first six weeks with us at the World Barefoot Center his trick scores went from the mid 2000’s to around 5000 points.  We were so impressed with him as a young man that we decided to sponsor him. He came back to the school a few months later but this time he stayed for three months. To make a long story short, we all continued to be so impressed with this young man that we started working on making him a full time fixture at the school.  We started working on getting him a three-year sports visa, with the support of his parents Rob and Wendy Groen. And as you now see, the rest is history.

On a personal level, I love this kid and am very proud to be like a second father to him with the support of his wonderful parents.

On the water, he has a great attitude and works as hard anyone else who I have ever coached. He loves the sport, and when he is not on the water, you will see him watching his videos and doing his dry land practice. He is a true student of the sport and it has all paid off as he is one of only a handful of skiers who has ever tricked over 10500 points in the history of the sport.  In the last two years, he has been bouncing between being ranked the 3rd and 4th best overall skier in the world–with only the two greatest skiers ever, David Small and Keith St. Onge, being ahead of him.

In the boat, he has also become one of the most respected coaches and instructors in the sport. The feedback from all of our students at the ski school from first timers to top competitors is just amazing–everyone just loves skiing with Ben and they all learn so much from him. He has truly become one of the worlds best instructors.

Ben is a very unique and gifted person, big hearted, and very friendly.  He has some of the best people skills that I have ever seen. He is very unselfish and always goes out of his way to take care of people and our furry family members around the school. (Yes, he is a big animal lover.)

He is so mature for his age that I always tell people that he is 22 going on 40. Off the water he is involved in every aspect of the business and I would trust this kid with anything. A hard worker and a quick learner and with people skills second to none and then throw in loyalty and a true love for what he does you then have someone who is worth a ton to the business, a person that can not be replaced with ease. So we at the world barefoot center realizing this have made Ben a partner in the business and Ben has now applied for a green card to be a long term part of this great business that we are building.
So there you have it.

Ben Groen is from a great family with great parents
Is one of the top skiers and instructors in the world
Is one of the friendliest and caring persons that you’ll ever meet
And at 22 is also a part owner of the largest barefoot water sking schools in the world
We are so lucky to have him and I am so proud to be coaching and to be involved in the life of one of the finest young men that you’ll ever meet.
Swampy Bouchard

Reflections of Women’s Barefoot Week 2013

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

The 4th Annual Women’s Barefoot Week has come and gone but the memories will remain forever.   This year we had near-perfect, hot, sunny weather almost every day and of course, the World Barefoot Center crew always finds calm water.   David Small, Ben Groen, Ashleigh Stebbeings, Keith St. Onge, and Swampy Bouchard provided some awesome coaching and instruction. Every single gal experienced success on the water that week!

The guys gamely donned pink Tommie Copper shirts in honor of the gals and the Breast Cancer Campaign at Tommie Copper.  Yes, it takes real men to pull off pink so well!

A special thank you goes out to our sponsors who donated some awesome products for our gals:  Badger Balm, Tommie Copper, Vibram Five Fingers, Barefoot Wine, Hpnotiq, and Crispers.

And anytime you can get a guy to cook, it’s always a good thing.  In the case of Chris Mcwatters, it’s a GREAT thing. Chris put together a wonderful Mexican dinner for all of us.  One thing to note: what Chris labels “mild” is actually HOT.

Judy Myers did a great job once again of organizing and executing Women’s Barefoot Week.  If you’d like to be on the email list for next year’s event, email Judy at oldbarefooter@me.com.  Sorry, guys, it’s for gals only.  Donning a pink shirt will not get you admission to that week.

USA Water Ski Newsletter featuring Women’s Week

By: Karen Putz

Alex Youngblood: My Coaches

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

 

A lot of different coaches have taught me a lot of different stuff. Let’s start with Keith St. Onge, Ben Groen, and David Small. Keith, Ben, and David are my main coaches. They taught me my front toeholds and my back deep long line. They worked me really hard and it all paid off. I usually go to their ski school every spring now for about 2 weeks.

Another one of my coaches was Lane Bowers. He taught me my first back deep on the boom. One thing he told me to do, which I still do it to this day is to growl when you are in the motion of getting up. That helped me a lot. So, that back deep had a huge impact on my skiing.

Last but not least, Kenny Kaestner. He was the one who taught me my first front deep. We made a special deal. If I got the front deep with his help by October 1st, he said he would give me, my very own junior handle for free. I told him, it was a deal! After that I practiced and practiced and practiced. Finally the day came to do it. I tried and tried and tried, I wasn’t going to give up. I tried it one last time and on that that attempt, I did all the mechanics right…AND I GOT IT!!! I was extremely happy and flabbergasted! And I thank him for that.

So those are all my coaches who have gotten me to this point. They rock!

– Alex Youngblood

Ben Groen – Featured in the Australian Waterski Magazine

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Ben Groen made the cover of the July/August 2013 Australian Waterski Magazine and he was also featured inside with a 6 page article. This article is a must read! It gives you a little insight into the World Barefoot Center, some of his biggest achievements and what he is aspiring to achieve in the future. (Click on each individual page to read).  To see more magazines Ben has been featured in, go to our website and click on the Pros Page.

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

Evert Aartsen, Jr.: A Month of Barefoot Training at the WBC

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

I will be spending the whole month of May at the World Barefoot Center. I will be cleaning up my turns during this month and hopefully starting to work on some more multiple turns, one foot turns, and toe turns. I hope to get my trick score up a lot this season, and of course slalom and jump too.  Tricks is my weakest event of the three, so I will be working most of my time here on tricks.

I will be spending two times a day in the garage doing dry land practicing on turns to build that muscle memory.  I also plan to spend time in the boat when Swampy is coaching Keith St. Onge, David Small, and Ben Groen–this helps a lot for my skiing, just to listen what Swampy has to tell them, that makes me think about that too.

I want to learn a lot during this month so I can become a better skier. Swampy, KSO, Dave, and Ben are just the right people to learn from!

Evert Aartsen Jr.

Evert Aarsten Jr.: My First Tournament