Posts Tagged ‘davidsmall’

How Fast Should I Barefoot Water Ski?

Monday, March 28th, 2011

In the exciting and extreme sport of Barefoot Water skiing, there is a big misconception that one must travel across the water at excessive speeds in order to stand on the water.  This is not the case.  At the World Barefoot Center (WBC), David Small (Small’z) and Keith St Onge (KSO), work with a variety of skiers, from complete beginners all the way to the champions that are out on the water at international competitions.  There is usually a common denominator with all these skiers– which is that  too much speed is going to be detrimental to your skiing, especially when you combine it with inexperience!

In the learning stages of barefoot water skiing, there is a safe formula that will give you a guideline of how fast one might need to go to barefoot successfully:

Take your weight in pounds

Divide it by ten

Add 20 to this number

This formula will give you your estimated speed in MPH.  For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, then you would divide by ten, giving you 20, then add 20, and you get 40 mph as your barefooting speed.

It is important that your boat driver is clued up to how to drive when pulling a beginner barefooter, as too much or too little speed on the pull out of the water can make or break a deep water start.  Using the 200 lb guy in this example…. a slow, steady pull out of the water is better than a full throttle rip out– and once a speed of around 25 mph is reached the driver can throttle back slowly and hold it there until the skier has steadied themselves in their ‘butt ride’.  A KSO wet suit with padded shorts is a good idea to wear, as it will make the whole barefoot start easier as well as keeping you comfortable when you start progressing in the sport.  After the skier has become comfortable with the ‘butt ride’ they will maneuver in to the ‘3 point’ position.  When they look steady in this position, the driver can once again steadily accelerate to the skier’s final 2-foot standing position.  For the skier in this case, it would be 40 miles per hour.

By: David Small


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