Posts Tagged ‘Collin Barber’

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

Collin Barber: Barefooting Screw Ups

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Barefooting can be a very complex sport to understand, especially when you are completely new at it. First off, there’s the mere concept of skiing on your bare feet. Then, there’s the different kinds of tricks that require different handles and then the different kinds of events and the way you can get scored in each event and the different speeds to go and what to do in tournaments and why the heck you would want to hit a piece of fiberglass to fly through the air at 40 mph… So yeah, it gets pretty confusing quite quickly. It takes time for newbies to get used to all the terms and concepts of the sport. I know it took me quite a while to understand everything that was necessary for the sport, and I’m sure it was just as confusing for anyone else who has been introduced to the sport.

It was three years ago when I first started competing in tournaments. I was really new to the sport and I was still trying to comprehend everything that went along with the sport. After a couple weeks of staying at the WBC, I went back home and began skiing there again. My tricks seemed to be going well, but something felt odd about slaloming behind my boat. I thought maybe it was the wake. It seemed a lot wider than it was at WBC. I kept on screwing up, but I just shrugged it off thinking that I was just being mental about it. Then a couple weeks later, Kailey Koehler came over and skiied with us. She noticed something odd about skiing behind my boat too… The boat seemed, well, smaller from where she was skiing. So she ended up measuring my rope, and what do you know, I was using a 100 foot rope to ski behind. This long of a rope wasn’t even used in tournaments. As you could imagine, this indeed made the wake wider and my slalom practice significantly worse.

So no matter the status of how good a skiier someone is, they all had their own unique beginnings. They all had their screw-ups, and their lessons, and in this case… the use of a ridiculously long rope.

Collin Barber

Collin Barber: Barefooting with a Positive Mental Attitude

Saturday, January 11th, 2014
Displaying 20140111_122029.jpg

WBC Shoe Skis

You just finished a run on the shoe skis as the boat is on its way back to pick you up. Whether you were doing one foots, toe-holds, or turns, you managed to do the trick on the shoe skis without a problem. As the boat gets nearer and nearer, you hear the instructor tell you to take the shoe skis off and to do the exact same run but on your feet. As you start taking them off, the instructor looks at you and asks the inevitable question:

“What changes?”

Well… You could give the obvious answer of the fact that you are now skiing on your bare feet, which have less surface area than the shoe skis making the task harder and that you are now going to be skiing at a faster speed than before.

But you don’t give that answer. Instead, you respond with:

“Nothing changes.”

Why? Because it’s a mental game. If you gave the first answer, that shows you have uncertainty in yourself. If you have uncertainty in yourself, you’ll second guess your abilities. In turn, this will probably end up in struggling with the trick on your bare feet.

But if you answer with the mentality that absolutely nothing changes, you will probably struggle much less. You are telling yourself that if you can do it on shoe skis, you can do it on your bare feet too. You have confidence in yourself and with that confidence you are more likely to succeed with the task at hand.

So, am I telling you not to be scared of taking off those shoe skis? Well, in a sense, yes. But in reality, what I’m really trying to say is this:

PMA! Positive Mental Attitude!

By: Collin Barber

Collin Barber: Christmas Break at the World Barefoot Center

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

The first time I went down to  the World Barefoot Center was over the Christmas Holiday Break in 2011. Every year my family and I would go to Florida for our Christmas Break and usually on one day of the trip, my dad, my little brother, and I would go to a ski school to barefoot. Well during this trip, we were getting ready to plan our annual trip when the ski school told us they would be closed on the only day we could go. My brother and I were relieved because let’s be honest… Vacation time was to relax and have fun. And barefooting was work. I liked barefooting at the time, but not enough to do it on vacation every year!

Of course, my dad called around and eventually got on the phone with the WBC. When my dad asked if they would be open, it was Swampy I’m sure who answered, “Yes sir, we’re open 365 days a year”. And despite the groans from me and my little brother, we were off to the World Barefoot Center.

That day was absolutely FREEZING for Florida. I remember I couldn’t believe how cold the water was. Despite the cold, we skied throughout the day. My goal was to work on getting up backwards. My dad wanted to clean up his front position. And my little brother’s goal was to get up backwards too. My dad ended up skiing only in the morning. My little brother ended up skiing one set because it was so cold. I ended up skiing the whole day though and I managed to accomplish much more than backwards. I learned how to do front toe-holds too. I didn’t even know what that was until that day. And I couldn’t believe I learned how to do it!
Even though I was dreading going to a ski school over Christmas Break, I learned a lot in that one day and started a passion that will continue. If it wasn’t for that one day, I would’ve never gone back multiple weeks to ski, improve, and become a sponsored skier. That one day showed me a whole new world of waterskiing and shaped my life so much in the long run. I definitely wouldn’t change any of it.

Collin Barber

Collin Barber: A Barefooting Setback

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Back in the beginning of April, I was spending my Spring Break at the World Barefoot Center.  It was my second or third day skiing when I started to work on turns once again.  I nailed all four 180’s right off the bat and I was excited.  It was the first time I had done that since December.  I did a couple more runs of them and I was feeling comfortable.  Then, I kinda messed up my whole summer…  I ended up falling on my basic front-to-back and my left knee twisted a way that it was not supposed to go.  I knew I messed it up bad as soon as I felt it.  It felt like giant cramp on the inside of my knee.  I got in the boat and tried feeling it out, but it just felt… weird.  It felt weak and unstable.  The rest of that day I sat in the boat, not saying a word, worried about what could really be wrong with my knee.  The longer I sat, the more the adrenaline wore off and the worse I could feel the injury.

Eventually, when I got back home, I got it checked out by the doctor.  I found out my MCL tore in my knee.  It meant about 2 months of therapy for my knee before doing any kind of skiing.  So, I decided to focus on getting it better and that’s what I did.  Then at the end of May I went back to WBC to train once more.  And just my luck, I ended up hurting my knee again doing turns.  Again, the doctor checked it out and told me I just re-injured the MCL.  He suggested taking a longer time to recover this time.  He suggested to take the whole summer off from turns to lower the risk of putting my knee in that awkward position.
To make a long story short, I’ve basically been off competitive barefooting this whole summer.  I made sure to strengthen my leg muscles and I still kept up with barefooting at home.  I had to limit what I did barefooting at home, of course.  I still managed to make the most of my summer, though, by skiing what I could in the Aquanut Water Ski Shows, including a double barefoot pyramid.  I just had to take it easy the whole summer.  Although, I look forward to getting right back into the heat of things next summer.

By: Collin Barber

Barefooting: What’s Your Reason?

Monday, July 1st, 2013


A while ago, Swampy gave me a question to answer. The question was, “Why do you love barefoot waterskiing?”. It seems like it would be such a simple question to answer, until you actually start thinking about it. At first you just think, “Well, heck, it’s just plain fun”. But I knew that wasn’t the answer Swampy would be looking for… since it really wasn’t an answer. So I had to think WHY do I think it’s fun, WHY do I keep on trying to improve? I felt like I should have been able to answer it right then and there, but I actually had to sit down and think about it. It’s hard to say why you love doing something, because you never really HAVE to explain why you love doing it. You just do it. You just get that gut feeling and passion for it. It’s difficult to explain those kinds of things. Honestly, I felt a bit ashamed that I couldn’t answer it right away.

But eventually, I did think of the answer. And it was a true answer that I now understand and feel strongly about. I didn’t want to just come up with some nonsense answer for Swampy just to get out of the spotlight. I wanted to come up with a real answer from the heart so I could truly know WHY I love barefoot waterskiing. I wanted to find the answer for myself.

So, besides the fact that you ski on your bare feet, my answer for why I love barefoot waterskiing:

It’s an individual sport.

I don’t have to worry about anybody else but me. If I fall and fail, well, that’s my fault. I can’t blame my coaches or parents even though they’ve helped me along the way. I’m the one doing the skiing and showing what I have learned through them. If I do well, then I get to celebrate along with my coaches and parents. It’s up to me to show what I can really do on the water.

Also, there’s no one I am competing against except for myself. I am trying to improve and to get better PB’s. I’m not looking to beat my trick scores by thousands of points in one day. But if I improve just the smallest bit, then that means I am getting better. And I’m happy with that!

That’s why I love barefoot waterskiing. What’s your reason?

Collin Barber


The Mission Which Drives the World Barefoot Center

Monday, March 4th, 2013

The World Barefoot Center has plenty of inspirational quotes that show up on their shirts, advertisements, and videos. The most important quote or statement, though, is the mission statement. The World Barefoot Center’s mission statement is:

“To build champions on and off the water, show commitment to the improvement of our students beginner to advanced, and utilize our business as a catalyst to ignite passion and growth within the sport”. About everyone that has been involved with the WBC has seen or heard this statement before. But that’s probably it. They’ve just seen or heard the words of the statement. How many people have actually sat down and thought about what it means? As a sponsored skiier, I found myself realizing that I should especially know what this statement is actually saying. Yet, it may not be an easy task for anybody to understand what it is truly saying. It’s a lengthy, confusing sentence if it’s looked at as a whole. Although, the statement can be broken down into three different parts to make it much easier for anyone to understand.

Part I: Build Champions

The first part of the statement is “To build champions on and off the water”. This is probably the easiest part of the statement to understand. The World Barefoot Center wants to obviously help create some of the best barefooters out there, which they have already accomplished through several skiers. Well that explains the “build champions on the water” part. Now, what about the other half of this section of the statement, the part stating their mission is to “build champions off the water”? How could one be a champion off the water? Well there’s several ways, including having good sportsmanship, having a good attitude, and being humble. But what I think is most important in being a champion off the water is basically having a likable character. This means the person should be first, and foremost, comfortable with his or herself. They need to have a high self-esteem, and then the rest should come much easier. With that confidence, they will be able to talk to others easily, making others feel more comfortable around that person. And second, to have a likable character, the person needs to be willing to help others. I mean, it’s simple… People like People who help People–with anything–such as carrying something, learning a new trick, or trying to learn how to get more involved in the sport. A champion off the water needs to be a person that people feel comfortable going to.

So, to sum things up on the first part of the mission statement: The WBC looks to make outstanding skiers and outstanding people.

Part II: Show Commitment

The second part of the mission statement is to “show commitment to the improvement of our students beginner to advanced”. This part of the statement is showing how much the WBC is willing to help people become better skiiers. Whether it be someone who has never stood up behind the boat before, or someone who is trying to score over 10,000 points for the first time, the WBC is willing to help that skiier as much as possible. But this also depends on the skiier’s motivation and passion to get to a goal. As long as the skiier is serious about working hard, the WBC will help in return and show they want that skier to succeed.

The WBC wants to see their skiers succeed.

Part III: Ignite Growth

The third and final part of the mission statement is to “utilize our business as a catalyst to ignite passion and growth within the sport”. With all its confusing, fancy-shmancy wording, this is probably the most difficult part of the statement to understand. First off, to make this easier to understand, what is a catalyst? Well, a catalyst is something that causes or speeds up activity with something else. In this case, the WBC looks to use their business as a catalyst to create more popularity within the sport. They want to see more and more people not only joining the sport, but also caring about the sport. Think about it… Wouldn’t it be pretty amazing to get the sport of barefooting so popular, that the tournaments are aired on TV someday?

The WBC wants to use their business to make barefooting more popular.

Now that the whole statement has been broken down into smaller parts, it should be much easier to understand. This statement defines the whole purpose of the World Barefoot Center and what they stand for, so the people that are involved with the WBC should understand what the statement means. Not only will they be able to understand the WBC’s purpose, but they will also be able to explain it to newcomers.

By: Collin Barber

Barefooting Accomplishments Never Come without Struggle

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
The amazing accomplishments of any barefooter never come without struggle.  This accomplishment could be a new trick, a new medal, or a new Personal Best (PB).  Along the way to that goal, there will be failure.  And failure means falling, pain, and just plain painful falls.  No one in the sport can progress without taking a fall here or there.
I have taken plenty of brutal falls just like every other individual in the sport.  I’ve had marks to prove these falls and I still have scars to this day.  These scars have come from trying to succeed and trying to learn new tricks.  The best example was when I was trying to learn Back Toe-Holds.  I started out on barefoot shoe skis trying to learn the trick.  Time after time again, I fell and fell and fell–with my head getting whipped into the water.  I kept losing my balance, straightening my leg too much, or just spazzing out while trying to get my foot to the strap.

Eventually when I got it on shoe skis, I moved on to my bare feet.  I thought I knew the trick by now, but boy was I wrong.  There I was again, taking fall after fall after fall, waking up with the sore neck and headache.  To top that off, I started to get wounds on the top of my feet from falling.  Whenever I fell, the strap would rip off the top of my foot.  My feet started to bleed and to this day I have scars from those falls still.  Even worse than that, I popped blood vessels in my eyes from getting whipped back on the falls so many times.  I ended up with red eyes for the next month and a half.

Even after all of that, I managed to master the trick.  I have no idea how many falls I took trying to learn that trick, but they were definitely the most painful.  All those falls of course meant failure, yet that was the only way to learn how to do the trick right.  It’s just like Thomas Edison said about inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.  Every great barefooter has failed doing a trick.  As long as they take something from these failures, they will become a great skiier.  As long as they learn from their mistakes, they can become even better.  Giving up is when true failure shows.  There is no greater failure than giving up.
No matter how painful the falls are, no matter what marks they leave, it’s best to get back up and try to understand what went wrong.  Of course when I look at those scars on my feet, I think, “Dang, those falls were not fun”.  Then I think again about how they show what I got through, the struggles I went through.  I know I can get through any obstacle now.  I know there will be even worse struggles to get past, and it may take time.
This is the same with every skier.  It all just depends on their mind frame.  Just keep getting back up, even if you’re discouraged, learn from the falls, and of course, Toes Up!
Collin Scott Barber