Posts Tagged ‘florida’

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

Instant Scoring at Lake David Barefoot Tournament

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

Lake David

Today, we will be having a local qualifying tournament at Lake David, in Groveland, FL. We will trialing a new scoring update system, and be posting skiers directly after their run at this link:

Check it out to see everyone does today!

What to Expect When Visiting the World Barefoot Center

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

What can you expect when visiting the World Barefoot Center Ski School?

There is a good chance you will be greeted by smiling faces and a few licks from our furry, friendly dogs of course.  Boats, trailers, and cars will fill the driveway, no worries go ahead and park in the grass, everybody is doing it.

Wetsuits, padded shorts, heater shirts, and swimsuits will lined up hanging on the side of the carport.  Under the dripping we ski equipment are gas cans, lots of them.  Take a sharp right and you will see our Bunk house/laundry room.  Some students stay for a few nights and other months/years.  Continuing on into the screened in porch through the sliding glass door you have now arrived into the ski school house!

Go ahead and add your flip-flops to the massive pile.  If a boat crew isn’t out on the water, there is a good chance a group is in the living room watching video from that morning/evening/ day before critiquing the technique and talking about ways to perfect it.

If Swampy is around he will not be afraid to chime in and give his two cents.  Haha.  Swampy has been around this sport a long time; advice from him is nothing you want to ignore.

Moving along you can admire the humongous WBC logo that is painted on the wall.  A painting of Keith St. Onge and David Small barefooting fill up the rest of the wall.  Lining the ceiling is a band of flags from all over the world.  Skiers like to see their home county flag hanging at the ski school.  The best part of the house in my personal opinion is the signature wall.  Wowie it is getting full!  Over the last 3 years we have had every skier at WBC sign the wall.  We have young, old, first timers, professionals, and everything in-between.

Magazine covers, medals, photos and other memorabilia are spread out throughout the house, giving it a true ski school vibe. It is quite a sight to see.

Heading outside once again just a short walk across the lawn you will find the Pro Shop.  More medals and trophies glisten in the room.  The aroma of neoprene fills the air.  Circle racks filled with brand new barefoot suits, a variety of colors, styles, sizes.  T-shirts flourish in the display cubes, stickers, books, jewelry, ropes handles hats and anything else a barefooter wants is in the Pro Shop.

Step out into the sunlight and take a walk down the dock to see the beautiful Lake Conine.  The boat will be at the dock waiting to be used or buzzing down the shoreline with skiers learning new things.

Come and see for yourself! Take a ski or just visit us and say hello all are welcome at the World Barefoot Center.

Lauren St. Onge

Last Chance Fall Barefoot Tourneys

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Mike Holt is planning two more tournaments this year at Lake David in Florida.  Both tournaments are tentatively planned, depending on skiers and officials.  This will offer skiers a last chance to qualify for Barefoot Worlds 2014.

NovemberFoot: Saturday November 9th, 10 a.m to 4 p.m.
Last Change World Qualifier: Saturday January 11th, 2014, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The cost will be $70 for two events and $100 for three (if jump is set up).  If you score 100% on the skier quiz, you get $20 off! The highest non-official ranked skier quiz skies for free (right now that’s Ben Groen).

This tournament will have a limit of 20 skiers and it will be first come first served. If you are interested in ‘possibly’ participating, contact Mike Holt at 352.455.0794 to reserve your spot.

Mike’s site: Barefoot Water Ski

2013 Southern Barefoot Regionals

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Photo: The WBC Crew had a fantastic weekend at Southern Regionals with a couple of pending records and LOTS of PB's !!! Great skiing everyone and thank you to all that organised the event, it was a great weekend!!

Southern Regionals Group

When Jim Boyette arrived at Lake David in Groveland, Florida on Saturday morning he had a smile and one foot in history.  With his start in the tricks event, the 85-year-old namesake of the Southern Regionals became the oldest person to ski the tournament, beating “Banana” George Blair by three months.  And that was just the start of an amazing day on the water.

From old school to new,  Will and Lizzie Rhea traveled all the way from Tennessee to compete in their first barefoot tournament.  Will became the Boys 2 Regional Champion scoring 1500 in tricks, 8.5 in slalom and a 7.9 meter jump. Lizzie won tricks with a 610 and even pulled off some one-foot wake crosses in her second pass of slalom to score a 4.1, capturing the Girls 1 Regional Champion title.

Carol Jackson, the “Womens 5 Record Machine” set a pending  Womens 5 national record in slalom with a 6.4.  In the officials bonus round on Friday, Carol also set a a pending tricks record with a 1480.

Elite skiers also had a great day on the rope. Ben Groen and Ashley Stebbeings led a solid international squad from the World Barefoot Center.  Ben set a new New Zealand record in tricks with a score of 10,550 in tricks and Ashley astounded the crowd with her smooth jumping style and a jump of 20.5 meters.  Chandler Cargile and Johnathan Martines also landed big 20+ meter jumps. And Brooke Fitch won the Survivor Award for fighting off a huge black snake at one end of the lake and then landing a huge jump at the other.

Photo: Morning in Groveland, Florida
But when it comes to jumping, the legendary Peter Fleck is leading the class in the old school.  Peter, who is more than double the age of most of the jumpers, managed to land one of the biggest jumps of the day.  His 24.6 meter jump was his first jump since the World Championships last year.

Let’s not forget the people behind the scenes who ski and then work their butts off. They are the champions of arriving first, working hard and leaving late.  Mike Holt, Paul Lower, Dale Stevens, Steven Holt, Ronnie Meeks, Duane Godfrey, Jim Forster and Lauren St. Onge who made this year’s event the best ever!   Thanks!

Where are you from?  THE SOUTH!


By: Betsy Anderson Gilman

ABC Male and Female 2012 Athlete of the Year

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

​Early in the morning on January 24th, I boarded a flight to Winter Haven, Florida, where I would be attending the 2013 USA Waterski Awards Banquet with my parents and my younger sister. The banquet was to be held on Saturday, but since we were traveling all the way to Florida, we might as well make a vacation out of it. Upon my arrival in the Orlando airport, my family and I loaded up our rental car and went to our hotel in Disney. After checking in, we headed to the WBC where we met up with the crew to go to Hurricane’s for Ben Groen’s birthday. After dinner, I headed back to the hotel in order to get a good night’s sleep as I would be skiing for the first time in 3 months the following morning.

​The next morning, my father and I made the short commute from our hotel to the ski school. We went out to ski with Dave that morning. My dad and I basically just got out feet back on the water after our long break. I worked on turns, while my father did the basics (one foots, toe-holds, etc.). We headed in for a short lunch break. After lunch, we headed back out, this time with Ashleigh. I worked on slalom all afternoon. After my two sets, I had the privilege of watching Dave and Ben do some amazing multiple turn training.

The next day, Saturday, my father and I skied a half day with Keith. I did two sets of turns and a set of slalom, while my father worked his reverse toe-holds. After we finished skiing, we said our goodbyes to the WBC crew and headed back to our hotel to get cleaned up for the banquet.

​At the banquet, I received the ABC Male Athlete of the Year Award. I was excited to see some of three-event waterskiing’s top skiers. I was able to see skiers such as Nate Smith, Freddy Krueger, and Regina Jacquess receive various awards throughout the night. My family and I sat with fellow barefooter Teri Jones, who was receiving the ABC Female Athlete of the Year Award and the USA Waterski That’s Incredible Award. We were both called up on the stage to receive our awards. I really enjoyed being able to receive my award at such a nice venue with so many people there.

After the banquet, we packed up our belongings and went to sleep. The next morning my family and I boarded our plane back to Scranton, Pennsylvania. The trip was amazing, and it felt amazing to be back on the water after three months.

-Johnathan Martines

David Small barefoot clinic in Connecticut with the Piskuras

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

I got a  lift halfway from Boston to Connecticut where Charlie and I hung out at a Starbucks, people watching and attracting women (having a toy poodle has its perks ya know :) ), while we waited for Lorraine to get there and pick me up.  We went straight to the Piskuras house where Charlie had the pleasant welcome from their German Shepard as its tried to eat him…. luckily she has a muzzle on or Charlie would be no more….. They were friends at the end of the week….. kind of 😉

People watching at Starbucks

Charlie and the Shepherd trying to bond on a walk....

Johnathon Marines, who had been skiing down at the World Barefoot Center for the previous 5 weeks, was already there and waiting as he was skiing for 4 days. We had a little bit of time to kill so we loaded up the car with the 4 of us and two dogs and headed to the hills for a short hike.  It is beautiful there and was great way to loosen up after a long drive.

The Nuffie trying to figure out what its supposed to do with Charlie

Lorraine (Senior World Ladies Champion) skied all week long and is training for this up coming Worlds in Texas.  We worked hard on her front and backwards wake crossings and by the end of the week was doing both her basic and reverse back one foot wakes which is a huge achievement!!! Congrats!  We also changed her jumping technique so that she can stay more on her feet up the ramp as well as cleaning up her back to front, back toes, step position, and tumbles to one foot.  Its always a pleasure to see Lorraine ski!

lorraine showing off her back toe hold skills

Jimmy P managed to fit in a fair few sets this year and unlike last year when he hits tree managed to ski till the end of the week uninjured.  His back one foots long line got a lot better as did his front one foot wakes and impressed everyone in the boat with his long line back tumble ups!!!

Jimmy P looking nervous as last year this was the same time of day and place on the river when he had a disagreement with a tree while footing.... the tree won last time ;)

Johnathon skied up a storm in the 4 days!!  His wakes came on leaps and bounds, turns got cleaner and he is getting along very nicely with his invert jumping!!  This kid last year was tricking 1300, didn’t jump and could hardly do front one foot wakes……. after training hard this winter with his dad and down at the WBC he is now doing multiple turns, front and back one foot wakes and invert jumping long line!!!!!! Unreal skiing and its great to see the progression in such a short amount of time!

Johnathon sleeping

Johnathon had a fight with a stick..... Johnathon won

More sleeping

More sleeping

Father and son taking a nap

Big John Martines did a lot of sleeping in the boat considering he was chafing Johnathon for his boat sleeping antics :)  He also skied well with doing his toe up long line, figuring out how to step over on his turns and generally cleaning up his skiing style.

Big John got a little tired

Pete, Emma and Jen Sylvester came out and skied.  Jen only came for the Friday but did great with getting up long line on her feet as well as getting up backwards!!  Pete had a full week skiing and learned that it doesn’t have to be painful and you don’t have to beat yourself up when learning new stuff.  He skied great with no hard falls and learned toe ups, how to slalom correctly with little effort and a lot more consistency, better back one foot and how to ski smart.  Emma did amazing.  She learned her reverse back toe hold, step position, was getting up backwards longline no probs, long line one foots on feet, and had some great tumble turns!!

Emma keeping an eye out for debris

Jenn perfecting her butt ride with the help of the head zone helmet

Chris, Pete, the Martines and Lorraine huddled at the back corner to stop the spray for 10 foot boom jumping

Pete brought his two nephews out for a couple days skiing.  They both did great with Lucas learning his but ride, one foots on his feet as well as coming along well with his backwards.  Im looking forward to seeing his progression and skiing with him this winter down at the ski school!! Jordan got up long line, worked backwards, and did some good one foots on the shoe skis.

Lucas and Johnathon enjoying a run in after a full day

Jordan getting ready

Chris came down to do some jumping and we were trying to get his landings more consistent.  We only managed a couple of jump sets due to wind and him having to leave early for work but he did also do great in correcting his turns!!

Chris sorting his back one foots

Andy came with the hope of getting a front to back on his feet by the end of his day on the water but we figured out that he was trying to do his reverse turn.  We cleaned all 4 turns up on the WBC shoe skis and then went to his feet.  His back to fronts were great and he got very close on both his basic and reverse FB.  Keep working on it buddy and you will have those in no time.

Don Stoppe flew his own plane to the clinic for a couple of days where we worked his jumping as well as cleaning up his turns, and basic positioning on his skiing.  Don always brings a high level of excitement in to the boat and its great to see someone so enthusiastic about the sport!!  Thanks for making the trip out Don and ill see you in a couple of weeks!

Don got hungry and fancied some sushi mid way through his set

We had some funny weather come in but mostly had some amazing ski conditions out there which made for an amazing week of skiing!!  On the friday we ended a little early and managed to get to ‘The Ranch Skydive Center” in NY where I did a sit fly skydive and Emma, Pete and Jen did there first tandem jumps…. was great to see them go up and they were all so pumped up on landing!!!  Good times!!!

Pete getting suited up for this first skydive

Emma, Jen and myself suited up for some fun in the skies :)))

Alex Straus also came on out and skied up a storm.  He hadn’t really had a lot of water time before but got very comfortable backwards as well as long line forwards!!  Great to see!

Alex Straus Sorting his back barefoot position out

Massive thanks to the Lorraine and Jimmy for organizing this week and being so hospitable!!

Written by David Small…. AKA Small’z

South Carolina Clinic with David Small

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

I have been going to Mr Meekes place for the last few years and this year was certainly no disappointment. We had glorious weather and glass water for the full 5 days and a lot of amazing skiing came from it. Ron is still working out in the gym like a mad man and is now competing in Iron Man competitions so he is in the best shape of his life which made him skiing 5 days straight a breeze. His slalom came on a lot, especially backwards as did his front and back toe holds along with a nice toe up and perfecting his turns. He had a little stretch in his hammy mid way through the week which slowed him down a little bit but he battled on and pushed through it so way to go with that Ron!!

Boat crew one day

Saun Sheeley is also a trooper. He ended up cutting his foot open so the decision was made to make a redneck solution for the problem….. lol. Shaun did great with everything backwards once he figured out how to ski with his knees bent and together….. we could drive a truck between his legs sometimes even when his feet were together 😉 His turns were looking very stable as well by the end of the week.

Shawn Sheely with his foot protector in place

As always we ate like kings with everyone getting treated to Rons cooking skills for lunch however this year we didn’t get to sample Rons Famous Cheesecake…. Fingers crossed next year we can see one again.

Wade Masters sporting a new hair doo

Wade Masters payed us a visit and skied up a storm for the day he was there where we worked a lot on his surface turns.
We had a new chick come to the clinic (Ashley) which was nice to see and although she was only there briefly she listened very well, learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Hopefully Ashley will come back next year and have a couple of days booked so we can really push on with her skiing.

Jim Miller peeing in his suit again ;)

Jim Miller also had some ski time with us and is progressing well. Great to see you Jim!

On the way back to the lake after getting picked up we drove past a Drop Zone so Ron was kind enough to stop and I managed to get a jump in :)

SC skydive. Kitted up and ready to go

About a week after I left Rons place I received an email from Ron saying that he liked Charlie so much he had gone out and bought himself a little black toy poodle…… I cannot wait to see the little guy!!

Rons new little toy poodle

I had a great week there again and I will look forward to seeing everyone again next year!!!

Written by ; David Small …. AKA Small’z

New and innovating teaching techniques used by the WBC…. HeadZone Helmets!!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Teaching how to stand on feet using the HeadZone Helmet and the swing

We all know that Barefoot Waterskiing is one of the most exciting and adrenaline filled sports out there but this also has its difficulties when learning.  When we get a lot of beginners skiing at the World Barefoot Center and a lot of the time they find it difficult to concentrate on what they have to do out on the water as they are so excited to stand up or have a sensory overload with being pulled across the surface of the water at speed :)

HeadZone Helmet allowing the student to relax in the butt ride position

What we used to have to do was to pick our battles and only give students one or two things to think about when they are out there…. this leaves a lot gaps which takes a lot of time to fill.  This problem was then solved when we started using HeadZone helmets. These are comfortable helmets with speakers in so that we, as instructors, can talk the skiers through every step when they come to it.

69 year old Judy Myers being taught how to get in to the backwards step position using the head zone helmet and WBC shoe skis

We can now talk to the student in the water before their next ski pass about what they are doing wrong and how they need to correct it in detail and then walk them through each step with the use of the HeadZone helmet.  This new and innovating teaching technique is allowing our students to relax on the water due to not having to worry about remembering what the instructor was talking about and learn at an accelerated rate with reduced falls.

We have been getting amazing results in the past couple of years from using these helmets and if you haven’t tried one yet then come on down to the school and see how fast you can progress with the help of the WBC and HeadZones.

Written by

David Small


David Small California Barefoot Water- ski clinic

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I arrived in to San Fransico on the Saturday where Mr Jerry Kanawyer himself picked me up .  What I had forgotten was that it was his birthday so he didn’t get a happy bday straight away from me so I apologize for that Jerry.  Jerry has been on the US barefoot Water ski team for years and has always been a great US team player!!  His nickname is Flipper which for those of you that don’t know where it came from….  He is one of only a few people in the World that do all 3 flips in their trick runs….. the wake to wake, wake, and regular flip!!  Rather him than me.

Jerry Kanawyer flipping

Jerry lives in Brentwood on one of the best ski lakes I have been to (it could be a couple hundred feet longer if you wanted to be REALLY picky).  It is died blue to stop the weeds growing in there which also makes the lake look like a swimming pool and with it been located in California it’s as warm as a bloody swimming pool as well…… perfect!!

Diablo Shores

Jerry got in to a car crash a few years ago and if he take a good hit he gets a head ache so he was skiing with a helmet on but when looking on the net we found something better…….. HAHAHAHA! You crack me up Jerry bird!!!

Jerry sporting his head gear

While I was there Jerry made great headway on his front and backwards one foot slalom as well as figuring out the line step position one foots and hops as well as working on breaking his old school bad habit of stepping through on his surface turns. Jerry is also in the process of learning invert jumping which he is doing great on and is always good fun to teach.

Jerry bringing the landing gear down after an inverted jump

Andy Conway was there for 4 days and work a lot of slalom and line step position one foots as well as trying to sort out his surface turns.

7 year old Jackson showing us all how its done

Early in the week we had a 7 year old boy called Jackson that had beaten leukemia and was out there barefooting on the short handle off the boom!! Talk about inspiring, this kid was amazing!!!

On the Wednesday we took a trip out to the Delta where we were met by Willy Farrel (aka, ‘One way Willy’) and his crew of Roy, Pepper Benz and his son…..   , Mark Hobsen, and Dave Naddy.

The Sacramento crew

We took Willys Malibu Response LX out on the 1000 miles of glass calm water (Delta) and hit it hard.  It was in the upper 90s that day and we stayed out on the glass from 830 in the morning until 7 at night without a brake as it was so good out there.  Roy, Mark and Dave worked on similar things with correcting their backwards barefooting position, back one foots and toe holds as well as getting in and out of the step position (the head zone helmets are a life saver when I comes to all of these things and makes it 100% easier for both the skier and instructor!).  Pepper worked on cleaning up his back to front and had never made a front to back so we concentrated on that and by the end of the day he was making a great front to back on the WBC shoe skis.

Dave Naddy showing us a great back toe hold

Loving the zinc action :)

Peppers son, Brady, who had never barefooted before or shown much interest, rocked it out and got out there on the handle and was showing the guys how easy it was to do some one foots.  He also got the award for the most improved skier of the way and went away with a new best hobby….. Way to go dude!!

Brady setting the bar for his elder brother

Adin Danneker, a WBC team member, rolled on up on the Thursday (he can travel around a lot as he only works a couple days a month and then sleeps a lot ….. hes a fire fighter).

It was all too much for Adin

Adin has been competing at a high level for a number of years and won medals at the last World Barefoot Championships as well as other top International events in the past.  It was a pleasure having him there with us for a few days and see his multiple turns get progressively better as well as making some huge progress in his slalom!

Roy Cotterill in a back one foot stance on the WBC shoes skis

Gregg Myer came and took a quick rip after a 6 year break from skiing and still went and did some back slalom.  He was up there on a magazine shoot for his one of a kind million dollar race car that was going up for auction the following month.

Meal time after a long day on the Delta

I took a few days and headed up to Sacramento to ski on another private lake (Twin Cities) and I got to see some more impressive skiing up there.  Mark Hodsen organized these few days and put on a great show.

Mark Hobsen looks just like Pitbull ;)

If it was a little chippy on the lake we headed to the infamous ‘lost slew’ on the Delta which was just behind the lake. Here we were greeted with a few straight glass stretches of around 3 miles a pop!!!! Mark made great progress with his backwards position as well as back one foots and figures out one foot slalom on his feet.  His wife also gave it a go and was a natural and got up first time on the boom and loved it!!  Mark also had his 11 year old niece, Mackenzie, give it a go and she got up on the 5 foot and was showing us some one foots.

11 year old Mackenzie after her ski

She went away loving barefooting and since getting the barefoot bug has been pestering Mark to get her back out on the water!! Great to see young kids, especially girls getting in to the sport! Joe Jacinto showed his face for a couple of days and learned some new slalom techniques as well as finding out that you don’t have to throw yourself in to a turn to make it around 😉 His wife, Dine, also gave barefooting a go and managed to get up on the handle on the shoe skis for the first time.

Pepper came back while I was up there with his older son, carter, as he had heard that his younger brother, who didn’t like barefooting before, was now footing and loving it.  He came to step up his game… nothing like sibling rivalry aye.  He had a great forwards position on his feet, great one foots and even started to try backwards.

Carter and I taking a ski on the Delta after a very productive day

I went and skied with the kids for a little rip at the end of the days they were there and it brought back great memories from when I was a kid learning to barefoot!  Any kid that tries this sport correctly with the right instruction and equipment and doesn’t love it must have something wired incorrectly 😉

Andy had to wear goggles due to his allergies which made it amusing to watch him ski and it was great to watch an ‘old school’ footer go out there and have fun doing some freestyle!!  We worked on some turns and slalom and then some side slides and general goofing around stuff… good fun.

Andy and his goggles ;)

I had a great couple of weeks in Cali and I am looking forward to going back out there later on this Summer!!

Huge thanks for everyone that skied and to Jerry Kanawyer who brought me out there and put me up as well as Willy for the day skiing and Mark for bringing me up to Sac for those fun few days!!!

By David Small AKA Small’z. lol