Posts Tagged ‘hard falls’

How can I learn to Barefoot Water Ski?

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Do you want to be the best barefooter on your lake? Come to Winter Haven, Florida, to learn the exciting sport of barefoot water skiing at the World Barefoot Center–safely and effectively. We have the best water skiers (multiple World Champions) and instructors at the school and we take great pride in making our learning environment the best out there.

We will be posting instructional articles and videos throughout the off season that will give you a step-by-step approach to walking on water.  These will be posted to our World Barefoot Center website, Blog and Facebook page.

What a lot of barefooters out there do is try the brutal trial-and-error method…. This can be a painful and totally unnecessary way to learn– and we would highly recommend not doing this unless you like a good fall. ☺

A big question we hear is… ‘Is it possible to learn to barefoot water ski if I am an average person who doesn’t exercise and not very athletic?”

YES, anyone can barefoot water ski!!! At the World Barefoot Center, we use all the latest equipment that will give you the best opportunity to barefoot. We use Barefoot International Booms, swings, Headzone helmets (we can communicate directly with the skier on the water), shoe skis and much more. We have taught people of different ages, backgrounds and abilities– and we take pride in getting everyone to succeed, plus we love a challenge!!! Feel free to contact any of our past customers (best way is on our Facebook page) and see if they would recommend coming to the ski school.

Who are the instructors at the World Barefoot Center and are they qualified?

We have the best instructors and skiers at the World Barefoot Center. The main instructors at the ski school are David Small (3-time World Champion) and Keith St Onge (2-time World Champion) and between the two of them, they hold all of the World Barefoot records. Gary ‘Swampy’ Bouchard is also an instructor at the school and he coaches both David and Keith.  Swampy trained and coached Keith since he was nine.   He also is the US Junior team coach and a top bloke! We also have A.J. Porreca (ranked 3rd in the World) and Ben Groen (5th in the World) working at the school who will offer you great advise off the water and on if requested. Most of the barefoot teams from around the world are now coming to the World Barefoot Center to progress in the sport.  We take huge pride in also teaching complete beginners and intermediate skiers–they’re the grass roots of the sport and they’re the ones who will grow the sport!

Where can I stay when I come to the World Barefoot Center?

The World Barefoot Center offers discounted rates at the Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn and Days Inn and we also provide accommodation at the ski school if needed. When you book your reservation at the hotels, be sure to ask for your discount through the World Barefoot Center.

By David Small. AKA, Small’z

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