Posts Tagged ‘figure 8 barefooting’

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.