Posts Tagged ‘first time’

Sam Merideth – First Barefooting Experience

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Me and my pals had just passed our driving tests at 17 and wanted to do a lads holiday abroad for a couple of weeks and make it a road trip. My pal Alex had a speed boat and we thought it would be a good idea to take it with us and try and get a camp site situated near a lake. We booked into a Euro camp with a complimentary lake membership and quite a lively place. The lake was huge 3 miles across and long we messed about the first few days on the ringo’s and kneeboarding trying to impress anyone else on the lake but failing in most cases.


On the second week we had spent a whole day skiing and were just about to come back in and I had seen Dave Small skiing on a video barefoot someone from chasewater had recorded and I really wanted to have a go. With just my board shorts on I stuffed some foam padding  down them and was ready to go. Alex said as soon as I sit on the water to keep my feet on the line until he brings the speed up. The first few times I tried I took my feet off the line way too soon and was getting so frustrated it felt a lot faster than I was actually going, when he told me he was only going 30mph I was in shock. We were just about to head in and I thought id give it one last go but I was determined to hold on and wait for the speed.


My last attempt I sat on the water and waited it seemed to take forever for the boat to get up to speed but we finally got there. I was in the wake Alex put his arm up when we hit about 40mph and I took my feet of the line I put my feet on the rough wake and pressed down slowly and stood for about all of 2 seconds, then face planted infront of a fishing boat. I was in such a buzz after standing on the water even if it was such a small amount of time, I have huge respect for Dave Small and his ability at that age. When we returned to the UK we spent that winter skiing and very occasionally having a go on the short line and give barefoot skiing a go but never managed to stand for more than 30 seconds it seemed to be pure luck to stand for longer than a minute.


Brice Storman – Summer 2013

Monday, March 30th, 2015

2I had just learned how to slalom ski and I thought it was the time of my life, just weaving back and forth through the water. Amazing, I thought. As summer neared its end, my dad told me about this insane water sport called BAREFOOTING. At first that sounded like some lame sport that nobody’s ever heard of. Then my dad showed me a video of it and it was the coolest thing ever. My dad asked me if I wanted to try it next summer and I said yes as enthusiastic as my worried mind would let me.

A year passed and the barefooting thing had slipped from my mind but it hadn’t slipped from my dad’s. He reminded me mid-summer and I tried to make the excuse that we didn’t have anywhere to go to barefoot. But he already found a place to go. He said WBC. So we went and checked it out. 6 or 7 months later, I’m now a sponsored skier and skiing every weekend, having the time of my life with some of the coolest people you could meet.



Lauren St. Onge: Tournament Time!

Monday, October 21st, 2013

>Are you ready to enter a barefoot tournament? If you can do a deepwater start and stand up for a second, the answer is YES!!! There is no need to know how to do fancy tricks, surface turns, or backwards barefoot. Typically tournaments are fairly low key and are a test against ones self to do better than the last time. Beat that “PB” Personal Best!

The atmosphere at tournament is a fabulous experience. Not only do you meet and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow footers, you can learn from them too. Watch trick runs, discuss slalom techniques, and quiz each other on rules. Everyone is cheering for on another and is always ecstatic to have a new skier! When I say everyone I don’t only mean the people on shore, also the judges in the boat, drivers and videographers. We all want everyone to fall in love with the sport we all enjoy. It is time to forget those fancy tricks for the time being and get involved.

No one starts out as a professional. I encourage you to take a chance and go for it. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t like it and never do it again, no big deal. At least you tried. Right?

By: Lauren St. Onge

Chris Mcwatters: The Beginning

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

​Believe it or not barefooting has always been something I have always wanted to try to accomplish.  Many years ago, my Uncle Mike showed me a beta tape of him barefooting.  That’s right a beta tape.  For those of you that don’t know what a beta tape is, it was the way to watch video tapes prior to VHS.  Oh, and the machine that played those tapes was about the same size as a inboard Sanger.  So there I was, a little influential kid watching a beta tape of my uncle barefooting in a orange life vest and cut-off jean shorts, sitting on the shag carpet.  Oh the memories.  It was at this point that I said to myself, I have to try this out.

Unfortunately, I never got the chance then.  It wasn’t until my Navy days in the mid 90’s while living on the beach, did I ever give it a shot.  I was sitting on the beach on Sail Bay (Pacific Beach, CA), when these guys come up onto the beach with their boat and asked Gloria (my soon to be wife) and me if we would like to go skiing.  Uhhh yeah, please!   Now the bay was calm, and it was my turn.  So I put on a slalom ski and off I go, not very good, but just happy to be on the water.  After a few cuts back and forth, I went down.  While I was in the water, I was thinking back to that damn video of my uncle, you can set off the ski and BAREFOOT.  Well I was hell bent to try, beside I was a military guy, nothing can hurt us right?

Oh boy, was I wrong, but in my ingenious thinking, “I can do this and impress the gal and be real cool….”  NOT.  So, I get up skiing and the boat begins to increase speed– there were problems right from the start.  I had difficulty getting my balance and getting  my foot out of the binding, but I do– barely.  The boat is what I think “screaming down the bay,” I have one foot on the water, now all I have to do is kick this stick off my other foot right.  Right…   What a show.  A complete yard sale.  I wasn’t sure I was ever going to stop hurting.

Fast forward seven years later, I moved to Michigan, graduated from college and like all graduates I bought a Ski Nautique.  I didn’t have a cottage, river, or place to stow it, but dammit I had a boat!  I live up to one on my promises to myself., own a competition ski boat.  So I bought a slalom ski, vest, wet suit and rope.  A true walley, only I did not then and do not now own a TUBE.  I did  have access to a lake: my grandma owned a cottage on a lake not too far from me so I was able to take it there.

One morning, I had gone over to the slalom course on my grandma’s lake and was watching these guys ski.  I had made my introductions to the crew and they told me to get in line and they would pull me through the course.  I told them that I wasn’t any good and could only get up on the ski and that that was a struggle.  They weren’t concerned with that they said, they only were happy to have skiers on the lake.  Well, about the time it was my turn, another boat pulled up and started talking to the crew.  They all knew each other it seemed.  The small talk came around to me and they asked me, “What do you do?”  Not sure what to say, I replied,  “Just ski I guess.”

I continued to say that I was interested in barefooting though.  It  just happened that the guy that had pulled up was the guy to talk to.  Well I was introduced to Gary Zimmerman and he told me to anchor my boat and jump in his boat.  He assembled this pole off the side of his boat (yup didn’t even know what a boom was in 2001).  He gave me a few simple instructions: sit on the kneeboard, hold the boom shoulder-width apart,  bend my knees and put my heels in the water–then let the boat do the rest.

Simple enough.

I do exactly what he says and there I was, BAREFOOTING.  Only one thing that was not explained to me, the letting go part.  Well, we make a pretty good run, and Gary says “let go,” so I do, but I don’t sit on my butt.  No way– I just have boardshorts on, so as I lose speed I fall forward and I don’t tuck and roll, no I hold my head high and I experience the patented “scorpion fall,” but I didn’t care, I was barefooting!

It was at this point I should have punched Gary in the face, because the addiction he caused me was horrible.  Sometimes I wonder if drugs were not cheaper.

​So that is the person that “broke” me into barefooting, Gary Zimmerman.  Now I still ski with him to this day.  I took several years off barefooting a tried airchairing, and slalom skiing, but came back to barefooting.  I would like to thank Gary for giving me first experience barefooting and continuing to barefoot with me at Round Lake in Manitou Beach, Michigan.

– Chris McWatters