Posts Tagged ‘footing’

My journey back to Kiwi-Land!!!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

As most of you know, this January I returned to my homeland, New Zealand, for a quick vacation to catch up with family and friends (and a little bit of skiing). After 14 months in the United States, I was shocked at how climatized I had become to the American (and by American I mean mainly “Southern”) culture, without even realizing it. Small things that had once seemed bizarre to me, things like tax not being included in the price displayed, the average vehicle being the size of a small elephant, Police with guns (Not allowed in NZ!!!), and 400lb people wedging themselves into little carts to buzz around Walmart, had become a usual sight for me, and the change when I got home was unreal!!

Walking through the shopping mall when I was home, I was suddenly immersed back into familiar slang, food, and fashion. I know it sounds silly but it really is that obvious! People walking past in Stubbies, a singlet, and jandals (Roughly translated, that would be short, thigh length shorts used for playing rugby, a beater/tank top, and flip flops), or all the cafes, wedged between every second or third shop, with folks sitting outside stopping for a quick coffee and “sammy” (Sandwich) on their lunch break.

Walking through Wellington city in the late afternoon/evening it was just nice to see people finishing their days at work or Uni (college) sitting down in parks, or big open areas of grass, just unwinding. A group of young guys throwing a rugby ball or Frisbee around, or a few stranglers with their noses in books, or some people just there to people watch, as everyone made their commute home, either by foot, or what seemed like the second most popular mode of transport – skateboard. I guess the only place I’ve really seen with a similar culture like this in my time in the States would be San Fran.

Anyway, that’s enough about culture. I was only home a matter of hours before I was reminded as to what made Florida so appealing. The infamous Wellington winds started gusting up, turning our lake into something similar to the ocean, with the temperature being cold enough for a Floridian local to dress in snow gear. In actual fact, it was still around 60-65 degrees – but that’s cold enough!!! Luckily the winds gave up and we were granted beautiful water, sadly the not-so-warmness hung around. One big thing about New Zealand that you have to be really careful about, apart from speed cameras, is the sun. There is a big hole in the ozone above New Zealand, and it makes a big difference!! In Florida you can happily sit out in the sun for 3 hours – unless your last name is Small or St. Onge -and you may get a little pink, but you won’t notice it too much. In New Zealand however, if you don’t slop that sunscreen on, those 3 hours will nuke you!! I made that mistake the second day I was back, falling asleep in the warm sun for only two hours in nothing but shorts, and after my entire body shedding a layer or so of skin, six weeks later, and I am still rocking distinctive tan lines halfway up my legs!!

As far as the quality of skiing goes in New Zealand, I will admit we are a little behind the times, with anyone who can do a Front to Back automatically advancing to being one of the best trickers in the country. And with fairness – that front to back is a sucker to learn!!! But these days, we’re starting to catch up with the rest of the world, with more kiwis travelling out to Florida to ski with us at the World Barefoot Center and taking what they learn home, modern coaching techniques have been introduced and its great to see a group of young kids coming up, learning the correct way. What was once just another ski school, the name barely memorable only a couple of years ago, has now become an icon for barefooting back in New Zealand, helped greatly with today’s social media, and more importantly, the results of the skiers that come back after weeks/months of training at the school!!!

So, even though there are some major differences dividing these two countries from one another, there is also one big similarity – the passion for barefoot water skiing, and the huge sense of family you get from anyone else involved in this great sport, no matter where you are on the planet. The greatest thing I think I noticed while in New Zealand was the general level of skiing, as us kiwis move into the modern era of footing, all thanks to what’s been going on here at the school. As far as myself goes, the journey I have taken personally here at the ski school has been a life changing one, with life-lasting friendships being formed, finding a second family, a second home, and a whole new platform for my skiing.

And as much as I have loved every minute of this trip….it’s always nice to go home :)

– Ben Groen, New Zealand

St. Louis Figure Eight Champion Ron Blouw!

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Glen Meuller St. Louis Figure Eight hosted by the Barefoot Gang which includes Tim Konezter and Anthony Gramilino.

Setting up the tourney and getting ready for the skiers  hit the water.

Barefooters hit the water slapping fives and grrrring through the rollers!

Ron Blouw

Ready to compete

Footers!

Game On!

Figure Eights just wouldn’t be the same without men painting there toes.  They secretly like it:) Checkout these beauties!

Aren't those pretty?

Toes!

And the skiing and camaraderie goes on…..

Hot Feet!

Good Fun

Barefooters getting ready

Figure 8

Now for the awards!

Winners of the First Eight or Shortest 8?

Chris McWaters with the BEST FALL of the tourney!

KSO and Blouw hold the tourney Records 2 1/4 figure 8

Catlynn's First Figure Eight!

In 4th Place Keith St. Onge

4th Place! Keith St. Onge

In 3rd Place JJ Link

3rd Place! JJ Link

In 2nd Place Tim Hydro Konezter

Tim Konezter in 2nd Place! Also the annoucer:)

And for the  Glen Meuller St. Louis Figure Eight Champion Ron Blouw!

Ron Blouw

Rob Blouw takes 1st Place!

Barefooters get on the podium:

Tim, Ron, JJ

Congratulations to all the skiers we hope to see you at the next tourney!  Thank you to all the organizers and competitors we appreciate your hard works and support.

By Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman

Footin’ on a Piece of Heaven- St. Louis

Monday, August 8th, 2011

The wind was howling, leaves were blowing and yet and the quiver off the Mississippi River was GLASS calm all day long!  The water was a little high so we had to watch out for debris, other than that it was great skiing conditions. The day prior to the clinic the Anytime Fitness Tour Bus had some issues and needed a little bit of work done on it, so Lauren was not around to take pictures the first day:(  Here is our crew for the second day!

Mark got up for the first time backwards on shoe skis!  How sweet is that!  Then he took it one step further and easily did a backwards one foot. Great work!

Great backwards barefoot position

Back One Foot

 Mark’s son Nathan came out and did some footin’ too!  Before barefoot lessons with Keith St. Onge Nathan was tumbling up directly on the boom.  After a few goes look at Nathan go on the shortline! Way to go buddy!

Ready for a tumble up!

Nathan on the Shortline!

Kristin Smith learns a step off with ease! First on the boom then shortline and next step behind the boat on the longline.  Keep working it Kristin, we hope to see your name in the brackets on the WBC Figure Eight Championships in Winter Haven, FL.  Remember future Figure 8’ers…learn your one foots on the boom before you attempt kicking a ski!

One Foot!

Stepping OffOne Foot!

Caitlynn Smith is a natural barefooter.  Everything Caitlynn attempted she accomplished the first time!  Deepwater starts on the boom, shortline, and then longline.  Every time it was perfect and smooth.  Check her out on her first time behind the boat.  Three point to a great stand up!  

Front Deepwater Start

Barefooting Longline

 

Abby’s dad had his work cut out for him and learned a lot in one day!

 

Getting ready to stand up and Barefoot

Barefooting Longline

Abby learned how to barefoot water ski behind the boat in one day. 

Footing Longline

Barefooting behind the boat! Wooo Hoo!

 By Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman

South Carolina Barefoot Clinic with David Small

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

I had a few days come open in my Summer schedule so I got in touch with Ron Meekes to see if he would want me to come back down to his place for a couple of days.  He asked around and filled the spots within the day so we booked the flight and headed on down.

A few of the crew plus a random guy from the bank that we picked up.... we made his year :)

Ron had the Southern regional championships down on Lake David in Groveland, FL the following weekend so we worked a lot on his trick runs.  His back toe holds on the long line got more efficient as well as figuring out how to make a flying back deep water start not any more complicated than a regular back deep.  He had been struggling with his backward wake crossings so we started out correcting his position on some cut out and then brought these techniques to the wake crossings.  After the second day he was keeping both feet up consistently the whole way down the passes!!!  On one morning we headed out and took ron over the ramp a few times to get him ready for the comp.  He figured out that he did not need to come in to the jump defensive and kick it as hard as possible but to stay on top of his feet (while in a safe position) and simply ride as much of the ramp as possible!

Ron Meekes, the clinic organizer, doing some back toe hold drills

Rons partner in crime, Becki Welsh skied up a storm.  She is an extremely clean skier so I was constantly trying to get her to ski a little bit ‘dirtier’ so that she did not take any unnecessary falls.  Becki managed to get both of her one foot stand ups on her feet as well as getting up backwards consistently!!  Way to go Beck!!

Becki Welsh and Jim Miller watching the other skiers and waiting for their set to come back around

Pat Vella is new to footing but got up on the 5 foot rope on his feet and managed to get his backwards plant on the WBC shoe skis, all in a day!!

Tom Gabey who used to be big in to barefooting until about 10 years ago came out of the woodwork and hit the water after a long stint of not skiing!  He could still go out there and rock out a lot of the tricks he was doing while he was skiing in Nationals etc etc.  He learned all of his stuff back in the day so his style was very ‘old school’.  He wanted to work on his turns and see if we could get them consistent.  He stepped through the spray on most of his turns as well as leading with his head and shoulders so we got him on one shoe ski so that he had no option but to be on the ‘correct’ pivot foot and in just doing this he cleaned up his turns and got him motivated to start skiing again.  Its amazing what happens when new teaching techniques are introduced making barefooting easier which, in turn makes the skier want to ski more 😉  Love it!  Good to see you back on the water Tom!

Chris Fousd also wanted to work on his turns and we also managed to get him to step over on his turns and keep his shoulders level.  I have never seen a guy love doing a backwards toe up as much as Chris does!!  His own little bit of freestyle J At every opportunity he flips over and stands up in his backwards toe hold!!  Very impressive!

Shauwn Sheely skied both days I was there and just wanted to work on his surface turns.  Lat time I was there I made him do 31 turns on his feet.  When I told him what he had to do he wasn’t overly enthusiastic but once he completed the turns he was ecstatic.  Anyway, Shauwn was getting his 4 turns behind the boat on his feet consistently after the couple of days and can now look forward to the joys of learning some multiple turns and expanding his trick run!!

Jim Miller up backwards

Jim also showing us what no man should do...... pee in his suit

Jim Millers ‘thing’ for a while has been getting up backwards.  He had a bit of a confidence issue to start with but after a few talks and progression on the backwards I saw a complete turn around in his attitude towards not only skiing but in himself as a person! He was going out there and believeing that he could get up and loan and behold he managed to get up on his feet backward on the 5 foot and backwards on the WBC shoe skis on the long line!!  Keep that attitude up Jim and stop peeing in your suit ;))

Last but not least we had a special visit from Don Simon.  Don is in his late 60s and still hitting the water hard.  It was a great privilege to see Don ski and do his front one foots, tumble turns and backwards with ease!!!  He is a great ambassador for the sport and is continuing to build the sport as best he can which is great to see!  Thank you Don!

Don Simon getting ready to ski

I had a great few days down there and had the best food!!  Ron and Becki are excellent hosts and its always a pleasure to head down there and see them!

This random guy watched us for a couple of hours on the bank so we picked him up so he could have an up close and personal look at footing.... he LOVED it!!

Written by David Small

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