Posts Tagged ‘competition’

Lizzie Rhea: My Trip to Australia

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

I mentioned going to the 2014 Barefoot Worlds in my last blog about girls jumping. My experience in Australia was very fun. It was the best trip I have ever taken. Australia is an awesome country, and I can’t wait to go back again. The people, the food, the weather, and the skiing were all great.

I met people from all over the world during my trip to Australia, and I loved them all. We had different languages, accents, cultures, and traditions. It was very interesting to learn about what it is like in other countries. All of the Australians were so nice and friendly and welcoming.

I loved meeting the locals when we went to restaurants. Australian food was delicious and cool. I loved drinking the lemony Solos and snacking on Savoy crackers – they were my favorite. I also loved the meat pies and the prawns. I regret that I never tried the vegemite on my toast though! I will next time!

The weather in Australia was perfect while we were there. It was sunny and warm for most of the trip. It was so nice to escape from America’s cold winter, and go to Australia’s warm summer.

The water and the skiing were great too! I loved the Custom Ski Boats, which were used in the tournament. The water was very smooth each morning and afternoon. The Max Kirwan Ski park was a perfect spot in the middle of a beautiful countryside. We even saw wild kangaroos on the ride to the lakes. The Mulwala Ski Club was a really fun place to hang out, and Lake Mulwala was very beautiful.

The only part of the trip I did not like was the flight. When we arrived in Melbourne, I asked my Mom if we could just live there, because I did not want to have fly back! After such a great trip, I think the miserable flight is worth it to go to such a great place! I am looking forward to my next trip to Australia!

Lizzie Rhea

Jim Forster: The Challenge of Competing

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

As we start June, we find the 2014 Barefoot Tournament season underway. With the PGA Season Opener held on May 3 in Palm Beach Gardens, the season has begun. I also realize that the weather in most other regions of the U.S. has been pretty lousy this Spring, but we were lucky enough to have had a warm Winter this year in South Florida.

I often wonder why isn’t there more participation in barefoot tournaments? As a competitive barefooter, I can tell you that it takes time and commitment to ski in tournaments.  I would say that one of the biggest challenges facing most competitive barefoot skiers is, Time. But the commitment is very rewarding as not only do you improve your skiing, but as I have said before, you will meet skiers from other regions and countries and we all share the same passion for the sport.

I love to encourage the development of younger skiers coming up through the sport.  I realize that barefooting is technically, a hard sport to master, but to me, that’s the real challenge. Be willing to make the effort to improving your skiing. Trust me, I have been skiing a long time and it is WORTH IT! Barefooting may not appear to be as flashy and as hip as say, wakeboarding ( shoot me now ), but to me a barefooter is a more well-rounded skier. Be that one person who has the determination and grit to succeed…….barefooting is fun! What other sport allows you to glide over the water and perform toe holds…surface turns…..cross the wake backwards ( you can’t do that in 3 event! ) and jump, all on your bare feet? I’d bet you’d be the only kid in your class that can claim to be able to ski without a board or skis… cool is that??!!

So, I’m appealing to young and older skiers alike, make that effort to join a tournament, you’d be surprised how well you’ll do. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised how supportive other skiers will be….we are a tight knit group, but you have to be willing to let us help you. Hope to see you at a tournament soon!

Jim Forster

Evert Aartsen, Jr.: Under 23 and Dutch Cup Barefooting in Brielle, Holland

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
My last competition before the E&A championships in South Africa was the Under 23 and the Dutch Cup in Brielle, Holland on the 16th – 18th of August.
I flew in to Amsterdam the 15th and  Filippo Ribaldone was waiting for me at the airport.  He arrived earlier that day. So we took the train to Den Haag together where Rob Molenkamp picked us up and drove us to his place where we stayed for the night. Next morning we went to the ski site. We brought our bags to a youth hostel next to the lake where Stefan Wimmer was staying and where we were going to stay the next two days.
When we got everything set up for the competition and all the skiers had arrived from Germany we started to ski. We started with the Under 23 competition and all skied both slalom and tricks after each other. And in the afternoon we had a round of jump. In slalom I scored 13.5 and in tricks I got a PB which I am super happy with! it was 5700 points. Jump was not to good. my Jumps were around the 20 meters.
And when we started the Dutch Cup we skied one round of slalom first, then had a short break and then tricks, and after tricks we had a pretty long break so we could eat something and take it easy, so later in the afternoon we had the jumping!
My trick and jump score were not to good in the Dutch Cup but I did score a PB in slalom with a score of 15. But I had a lot of fun in Brielle when I got to meet all my friends again. and after the competition me and Filippo went back to Amsterdam and stayed at the airport for the night. We did not really like to sleep in the airport but our flight was early in the morning so we had to!
Evert Aartsen Jr.

Italian Barefoot Nationals 2013

Friday, November 15th, 2013

During the second week end of July 2013 in the beautiful lake of the waterski KLI in Ravenna, Italy there was the Italian Barefoot Water Ski Nationals.
For me was a great competition as I won my first Open Overall title and my second Jump title in a row. The jump competition was really tough, thanks to my friend Giulio Stagi.  After the first round, we had the same distance: 20.4. We had to move in the second round to decide everything–finally 21.3 for Giulio and 21.4 for me. Yeah!

But the best thing was the eight Juniors, 9 to 16 year old, entering the competition, all of them having at the end a result on board in slalom and trick. I was really happy for them, more than my result cos i think kids are the future of pure sport and having little skier comping up the rankings will also help the sport and the older (i hate to say older to me) skier to keep on going and keep skiing their best.
Well done little guys!

Stefan Wimmer: Barefoot Training in Italy

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

At the beginning of September, Filippo texted me that his federation wants to organize a training competition in Recetto, Italy from 12. to 15. September.

For me it was great to ski a small training competition before the European Championship in October.

My decision was clear because in that time of the season the weather conditions in Austria start to get naff.  So I planned a short trip to Italy that I can train with Filippo for 3 days. My girlfriend Karin and Madeleine, a good friend of mine, came with me to support me at my competition.

On the way to Italy:

We arrived in Recetto on Friday morning and put the ramp into the water.

It took us about 2 hours to fix everything and than we started with our training.

We did two sets of slalom and tricks and in the afternoon we did a jump set.

On Saturday we planned to do a small traininig competiton of 2 rounds (slalom, tricks and jump).  The weather was good all the time but when we started to jump the conditions got bad. So we decided to jump 2 rounds on Sunday.

On Sunday morning we started at about 8:30 in the morning with another round of slalom and tricks and after that we jumped.

It was a really nice training weekend for me in Recetto and it was nice to meet a lot of waterskiers from Italy.

I will come back for sure next year  to ski a competition in Recetto.

By: Stefan Wimmer

Jim Forster: Barefooting from the Driver’s Perspective

Sunday, October 13th, 2013


 When competing in a barefoot tournament, a lot of focus as a skier, is whether you are going to get the pull from the driver that you are expecting. We are all familiar when practicing at home with the start, speed and boat path as we usually train with the same skiers. All of a sudden, you are faced with an unfamiliar driver which can put added pressure on and cause yourself distraction. As I have stated in a previous article that I wrote, it’s a good training technique to train with different drivers as this will help you to adapt to different pulls that you are not accustomed to and remove the uncertainty.

         As a Level 2 Driver and a competitive barefooter, I have the unique perspective of how we as drivers think and what is expected of us. I really enjoy driving and can tell you that for me, I put a lot of pressure on myself as I want to give every skier exactly what they want. If a skier misses a back deepwater start, a toe up or a back tumble, to name a few, I feel personally responsible and will notify the Chief communicator if I have any doubt that the pull was not to specification. A lot is expected of us and we are tasked with performing with as few mistakes as possible. Experience plays a big role in becoming a solid driver and cannot be gained overnight. As a driver, I want to make the skier feel comfortable and gain their confidence, but at the same time, adhere to the rules. When pulling my friends in practice, I strive to give them exactly the pull they want and also to drive with the same precision as one would expect in a tournament.

        I would advise prospective drivers to learn all the different phases of acceleration and to smoothly achieve speed level off as this makes a big difference to the skier behind the boat. You want to learn to accelerate smoothly up to the called speed, but not overshoot it…..the throttle pull back can cause the skier to fall if it is severe enough. This takes a little practice and can actually be done even with Zero Off speed control devices. Also as equally important to prospective drivers, is to learn the rules as set forth by the World Barefoot Council (WBC). These can be found in the WBC Technical Rulebook. Chapter 15 Towboats, deals with some of the more important ones, but others can be found in the other chapters. You need to be knowledgeable on what is expected of you as an official and also gain confidence that you can perform any start and pull any speed.

       Probably the most difficult start to pull is the back tumble up to one……..there are only a handful of skiers that perform this start, but what really helps the driver successfully pull it, is for the skier to call an RPM rather than a MPH or KPH for the level off speed. This also applies for those skiers that aren’t really solid on their back deepwater starts……..the RPM reference I have found, enables the skier to achieve a nice, smooth plant. Something else I encounter is pressure on myself from the judges in the boat, as they are also watching my boat path and acceleration, they can be critical at times, but a good driver has to be able to listen to, and accept criticism. This is all part of becoming a better driver and at the same time, gives .skiers a good tournament experience.

         I hope that this has given you an insight to what drivers experience………the next time the boat pulls up to you at the starting dock, you can be confident the driver will be waiting to please!

Instant Scoring for Barefoot Water Ski Tournaments

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

This year at the New Zealand tournaments we tried out an instant scoringsystem, and what a difference it made the tournaments. Coming from a skier’s point of view, the worst thing about tournaments is waiting around for hours for your score from your 30-second pass to be posted. I understand that it is quite the process for the judges and does take a lot of time however any way to make the scores come out faster is great.

My Uncle, Rob Groen who is also the President of the New Zealand Barefoot Waterski Club is always trying to progress the sport and make it better. In result of this he sorted out a very easy to use instant scoring system that can be viewed anywhere via the Internet. This is not only beneficial for the skiers but it also allows spectators to have a clue on what is going on.

How it works…

Firstly there are 2-3 judges in the boat that will judge the skier and at the end of each run they will also score the pass, if there is any confusion the videographer has the pass ready for the judges to watch again. Once the score is agreed on they then radio back to land where someone is on a computer. The person on the computer then just types the score into the spreadsheet looking page and within 10 seconds the score will appear on the big TV screen and any other device that is connected to the internet and on the website, whether they be all the way in France, America, Australia… Anyone can see it.

As a skier this was great because by the time I had finished my run and walked up to the TV screen my score was there ready for me to read. Also as a spectator it was good as well because even if you weren’t able to watch the skiers you could still see how they were doing.

I think that this was a huge step for barefoot waterskiing as a sport. I hope that this is only the beginning and that we can continue to try and progress the sport, the use of technology is a great way to start and I look forward for what is to come in the future.

By: Georgia Groen

Thinking About Entering Your First Barefoot Tournament?

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

You’re thinking about it. You’re tempted. You’re curious.

You’d like to try a barefoot tournament but you have no idea where to start or what to do.

Here’s a book to help you get started:

Barefoot Water Skiing, From Weekend Warrior to Competitor

From Juan Carlos Cardoso Riveroll:

This book gave us the additional push we needed to participate in the 2012 Worlds. We had always been weekend warriors and weren’t at all confident to participate in such a big event!.. After reading through beautifully written experiences illustrated in this book we went for it and had a fantastic time competing, networking and becoming part of the international barefooting family.

In a nutshell the book will illustrate the rules & dynamics needed to participate competitively, it will give you clarity on what it takes (and what it doesn’t). It’s a must read for all skiers that want to take the next step in their footing career (or even if they want to keep it a simple hobby). You’ll be surprised on how accessible tournaments are for any ski level and how supportive the community is.

After the worlds I can say that our skiing level, our focus and our understanding of the sport are at a whole different level. This book gave us the insight we needed. We went for it and thanks to it had the experience of skiing with the best. Karen is a fantastic writer, I have reached out to her via Facebook and had all my questions answered – furthermore she put us in contact with all the right people to keep us on track moving ahead! thank you for such a great book.

The book is available at the World Barefoot Center Pro Shop along with Keith St. Onge’s book, Gliding Soles:

World Barefoot Center Books

Marc Donohue, The Guy Who Introduced Me to Barefoot Competitions

Sunday, March 24th, 2013
Late in September, 2007, my buddies and I were on our annual boathouse trip to Dale Hollow, Tennessee.  All loaded up and ready for a great 4 days in the warm, smooth southern water in the mountains of Tennessee.  It was always a trip that I looked forward to for one never had to deal with rough water and I could practice the slalom course, airchair, wakesurf and of course barefoot.  At this point in my life barefooting was great fun but I really wasn’t that good.  I could barely do a basic toe hold on the boom, and I could go backwards, but with really crappy position and no consistency.

Every year, my buddies and I would always come up with some crazy idea or another to try.  Well, this particular year, we were going to try and pull five barefooters up deep water behind a 2001 1996 Ski Nautique.   I had two booms rigged up, one on either side.

As we arrive  to this one specific cove where one of the slalom courses were, we see a Mastercraft has beaten us to the site.  We pull up and asked these guys if they mind my buddies and I try a few things before they hit the slalom ourse.  They didn’t mind, so off we went.  Unfortunately, after several attempts we were unable to get all five up.

As we were thanking these guys in the Mastercraft, I noticed they were getting into their barefoot suits.  One of the guys in the boat asked if they could give it a go with us.  We were definitely game to try again.  This time we get four up for a pretty good distance,  long enough for photos and a brief video.

After we got done one of the guys, Marc, asks if I wanted to do another run. Not skipping a beat we give it a go.  We make a pretty long run in some nasty water.  As we’re floating in the water after the run, Marc asks me, “Where do you foot?” I mention that I live in Michigan and ski on a small lake up there. “Why are you not competing?” he asks.

“I’m not any good and that I can’t compete with you guys,” I explain. At this point the only thing I had seen was Keith St. Onge and his videos and knew there was no way to compete against people like that.  Marc had said that I would be able to compete.  We exchanged phone numbers and he said he would get in touch with me in the spring for the next tournament.  I really didn’t pay much mind to it and I thought maybe this guy Marc was drunk– or had taken too many head plants.

Well sure enough, in April, this Marc guy gives me a call and says there’s a Figure 8 tournament in Stout, Wisconsin in the beginning of May and he wanted me to go.  I had no idea what a Figure 8 event was and I was still very hesitant.  This guy called a few more times and I finally said “Okay!”

Marc came to my house in Michigan a day before we had to leave so we could practice.  Marc forgot to mention that at this event– you have to step off a ski.  I had never stepped off a ski and had no idea how to do it.  Well that day we practiced several times and I was very unsuccessful.  Marc and I nevertheless head to the event.  Now, if no knows where Stout Wisconsin is you’re not alone– neither did I.  I came to find out it is in northern Wisconsin and remember, it’s in the beginning of May.  You got it– COLD! We get up there just in time for the skiers’ meeting.  Get this, the name of the event was called “Frostbite.” Go figure!  After meeting a few of the other footers, we all retired to a local hotel.

Morning rise and shine–the outside air temp 35 degrees and it was spitting snow. The water temp a freezing 41 degrees.  Oh let me not forget–the winds were blowing 25 mph coming across the lake.  Yes, that means whitecaps.  Well, to say the least, I never got off my ski. I tried to step off twice and had two major yard sales.  In fact not a single person make a ½ 8 due to the conditions.  After the event we all got together and had “adult pops” and food.

I have to say even though I didn’t do very well, I had a great time.  These footers were a lot of fun and they all had a good time.  Everyone was supportive and interested in you and your footing adventures. Well, after the day was over Marc and I headed home. Eight hours back to Michigan gave us more time to plan our next barefooting tournament adventure.

If it was not for Marc “The Pornstar” Donahue I would probably never would have began barefooting in tournaments.  Marc and I continue to barefoot together–we put on a Figure 8 tournament every year in Marc’s home state of Indiana.  While our interest in barefooting has changed slightly we still both love getting on the water together and doing the thing we all love, barefooting.

Thank you, Marc Donahue.

By: Chris Mcwatters

Editor’s note: Chris “Two-Step” Mcwatters eventually learned how to step off a ski, but the nickname still remains.

Win a Barefoot Book–We Have a Winner!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

“If you call yourself a barefoot waterskier, this book needs to be in your library. Karen has hit all the bases with all the big shots of the sport.”

Barefoot Water Skiing, From Weekend Warrior to Competitor written by Karen Putz covers the basics of barefoot water ski tournaments.  The book features “My First Tournament” memories from current as well as past competitors, including Keith St. Onge, David Small, Mike Seipel, Ron Scarpa, William Farrell, Paul Stokes, Ben Groen, Ashleigh Stebbeings, A.J. Porreca and more.

If you’ve always been curious about barefoot tournaments but never thought you were good enough to enter one, this book will dispel the fears and equip you with the knowledge you need to enter your first tournament.

To enter the drawing for a free copy of the book, leave a comment below telling us about your most memorable faceplant.  What’s the footin’ tumble into the water you’ll never forget?

The comments will remain open until Friday, September 28, 2012 and the winner will be chosen by

And the results are:

List Randomizer

There were 9 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. James Melter
  2. Carlos Barreto
  3. Chandler Cargile
  4. Warren Hubert
  5. Johnathan Martines
  6. Dan Tanis
  7. Randal Meikle
  8. Shellie Blum
  9. Paul Stokes