Posts Tagged ‘footin’’

Barefooting in Backwater

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

We met Carlos Barreto on Facebook and once he found out about us doing the tour he was interested in doing a clinic.  Carlos joined the Backwater Gamblers Show Ski Team this spring.  Their site sits on the Rock River in Moline, IL other wise known as the Quad cities.  Carlos is a very animated man and you can see his enthusiasm when he talks about barefoot water skiing.

Barefooting Crew!

The first morning was sweet and Carlos Barreto started it off.  Pure glass water the length of the river.  He did his tumble turns and a few one foots.  I then put him on WBC shoe skis and we worked one foot one hands in preparation for toe holds.

Emily Buckwalter is a nineteen year old that skis on the Gamblers.  Her goal was to learn how to barefoot for the first time.  Well, she said she did it before but we made her do a deep water start, which may be a little more difficult at first but it is a stepping stone for the five foot.  She accomplished a deep start on shoe skis and later achieved her goal on standing on her feet.  Great job Emily!

Emily on ShoesEmily on her BARE FEET!

Jason Kauzlarich supplied the boat and he had been foot’n for many years.  In the afternoon the wind blew up so hard we had to go to the backwaters of the Mississippi.  Before going there Jason learned tumble turns for the first time and they were flawless.

Tumble Turn!

That afternoon we headed out to the Mississippi, which was a treat for Lauren and I.  We got the full tour and was able to see the casinos in the backwaters of the Mississippi and Arsenal Island where they make armored doors for tanks and humvees.  We were only able to find a small strip of somewhat smooth water so we did what we could.

Pat Baret got up backwards for the first time on shoes skis.  Oh, did I mention he got the boat driver completely soaked!  Haha  It was funny seeing everyone scurry for shelter when the down pour came!  Seeing people get wet in the boat is funny because they have nowhere to go!  Including the driver…ME!

We got a little damp this run!

Much Better!

James Melter came out strong from the beginning.  He is a fantastic skier with perfect form!  He went through all his basics and once he proved to me he could do what was necessary to turn he executed a perfect back to front and front to back on his feet.  We continued working his reverse turns.  His ultimate goal is to do all four turns consistently although he has done them all before.  We pounded his reverse turn and figured out a few things that would make all the difference.

Surface Turns- James

CJ Barreto, Carlos’s son came out to try barefoot water skiing for the first time.  He never wanted to go out with his father, which might have been a blessing.  Sometimes son’s have a difficult time taking instruction from their father.  I was one of them and for me it was tough because while I was trying to have fun my father was telling me what to do.  My dad told me what to do all the time, “Take out the garbage, make our bed, clean your room, etc…”  I did not want to take instruction from my father when having fun on the water.  So dad’s…be careful and try to butt out of your son’s business at the right time and place.  I went over all the steps with CJ before we took to the water.  With the help of the HeadZone helmet I was able to guide him to barefooting on his feet for the first time.  Congrats CJ!!!!

Cj barefooting!

Jason’s brother Jake  Kauzlarich came out and he has the same story as CJ.  Never footed before! We were able to get him on the five-foot extension after one set on the boom.  Hats off to you brother!

Yay! Sweet Jake!

The only guy we know that Smiles while falling!

Last but not least was my buddy Matthew Becker.  He is the social butterfly on the Backwater Gamblers ski team and is always smiling!  He came out to have a little fun with the boys and was able to do a deep-water start on shoe skis and on his feet off the extension.

Oh Yeah!

Thank you to the Backwater Gamblers for allowing us to stay at you ski site!  A big thanks to Carlos for organizing this whole thing! Keep skiing!

By: Keith St.Onge & Lauren Lindeman

All “Betts” are on!

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Lauren and I arrive at the Anytime Fitness in Angola, IN to meet the owner, Mike Betts.  Mike and his wife Natalie sponsored our RV wrap with an Anytime Fitness logo so it was best to leave the motor home as a billboard since we get so much attention from it.  Just pulling into the parking got people’s attention!  We left there and stayed at the lake house during the three-day clinic.

We caught up with the Betts that evening and shared stories of being on the road for one month thus far.   We continue our conversations over diner at Timbuktoos, that is a local favorite.  They have an amazing and unique menu!

Lauren and I had just caught an REO Speedwagon concert a few days before.  Mike told us he sat next to the lead singer (Kevin Cronin) on the plane before and like always we say, “What a small world.”  Mike is originally from Australia and has a few Anytime Fitness gyms there as well.

The next day we finished early so Lauren and I played on Mike’s stand up Jet ski.  This is the only Jet ski I actually have a tolerance for.  I like the challenge compared to the sit down jet ski, which involves no effort to ride and provides no exercise whatsoever.  After Lauren and I had our competitions on who could turn to the left and right the fastest we parked it.  It was a toss up on who was champion.

Mike had his buddy Greg coming over the next morning with another local footer, Jeff.  We decided to start skiing at 6:30am to beat all the Wally’s out on the lake since it was Sat.  Mike started the crew off and he looked great.  I taught him the lazy boy position a few years back at the ski school and he was comfortable doing that.  The “Lazy Boy” is similar to reclining a Lazy Boy recliner while riding the butt.  The position is riding on the tailbone with the handle pulled in.  Knees and feet are squeezed together while knees are slightly bent.  Just think of the sitting V position in P90X and that is the “Lazy Boy.”  This position will help you do long butt slides at the end of your runs or get you in control before standing up.

After Mike’s feet got a little sore we moved onto backwards deep water starts on shoe skis.  He perfected that last year on shoe skis and was back for more.  He took a backwards fall last year that slightly injured his back so getting up wasn’t the problem but skiing away from the starts challenged him mentally.

Mike Betts Frontwards Barefooting

This was Greg’s first time learning a deep-water start since his early days of standing up off a kneeboard.  I went over the basics with him on dry land first and he adapted quite easily!  He was stoked to be standing without the aid of a kneeboard and had this smile that lasted all day.  I taught him the lazy boy as well and that kept him in control before standing, which I recommend.

Greg Smiling Ear to Ear!

Greg’s wife Elena came out for a set.  A few years ago Elena had tired barefoot waterskiing and had a bad fall the first time, like many this shyed her away from the sport until now.  First try and look at her go!

Elena Female Footer! Yay!

Greg and Elena brought there very own little cheerleader! Rosie will be getting her feet wet soon!

Soon to be Barefooter


Jeff was the guy that was self-taught and I could tell.  Straight legged and rough on the starts but after a few pointers and tricks of the trade I could tell I made his life a little easier and more enjoyable! Jeff got up on his second attempt backwards on his feet!  He never thought he would ever go backwards but with a little push from me and the aid of thewaterproof  HeadZone helmet he learned it quickly!

Barefooting on the Boom

I ran into an old time friend and student that morning named Randy Strebig.  He joined in the clinic on a last minute invite and since the wind had started to blow quite hard he invited us all out to a private lake in the area.  Randy is a wild man that likes to live on the edge and after he let me look him over he wanted to do surface turns.  I corrected his position and he began to turn easily.  Towards the end he took a few falls and I explained to him that his head and shoulders were turning before his hips and feet.  Everything must turn as one unit.  I had heard Randy competes in ballroom dancing and he brought up a good point just as I was going to make fun of him.  He said they are taught to turn their head last, called spotting.  They turn their head last so they can focus on one point to prevent dizziness as well as stopping the twisting motion.  So, he tried to keep looking backwards when he did his back to front and it helped out tremendously!

Barefoot Clinic

Greg and Mike took one more set a piece and had fun on the private lake.  It’s always nice not having to worry about other boats or competing for calm shorelines.

Natalie barefoot water skied in the clinic last year but just got eye surgery and could not play.  We hope to meet up with her later this summer so we can get her on her feet!

Lauren and I were able to get a few runs in as well.  I just did a little showing off but Lauren nailed another toe up start on the ten foot extension so she was happy!

It was a fabulous three day clinic, great skiers and great fun! Thank you to all who participated.

By: Keith St.Onge