Posts Tagged ‘how to’

How to Barefoot Backwards (Back Deep Water Start)

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Glen Plake, Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

Hook Ankle Under Rope

So you’re ready to start learning how to barefoot backwards?   Before you start, here a quick few pointers that will make things go a little smoother and keep the “nasal water logging” to a minimum. (And there’s always nose tape for that!)

To get up backwards we are going to stick to three simple steps:

-Planing on your belly and riding the plant.

-Transitioning from the plant to backwards barefooting position.

-Position while skiing backwards.

1.  PLANING ON YOUR BELLY AND RIDING THE PLANT

Roll Over Onto Belly

Float on your back, place the handle between legs and reach behind and grab it with both hands, hook one of your ankles under the rope

Time to take a deep breath and roll over, making sure you keep your body, arms, and legs straight. You will only be unable to breathe for maybe a second.  The driver should now pull you out of the water at a nice SLOW speed (too fast and you begin to porpoise and bounce). The water line should be breaking right around your knees.  10-12 mph will be your speed.

Now in this position you should easily be able to plane on your belly – making sure you are pushing your chest towards the water (this will create an air pocket and you will be able to breathe), and staying stiff like a board. This will not only allow you to breathe but it will also keep you from

Stay Stiff As A Board

bouncing and you will be in much more control. Once you are comfortable with this position, very slowly take your feet off the rope, and before being able to plant you will need to make sure you flex your feet.

This means pulling your toes back towards your ankles (it is very important not to point your toes otherwise they will go straight through). Turn outwards to a 45 degree angle and slowly place them onto the water, a little wider then hips width (an exercise to do to practice gliding on your feet would be to do one foot at a time with one foot staying hooked on the line and getting the feeling of the water coming off your feet – once you have them in the right position the water should flex the feet automatically for you, you shouldn’t push against the water or curl your toes down Once you are comfortable with one foot, put it back on the rope and repeat with the other.)

Take Feet Off Of The Rope

While doing this, the rest of your body should be fairly relaxed.  Once you are comfortable enough to plant with both feet you should be able to ride this position comfortably for 30 seconds. If you can’t do this because you are out of control, it can mean you’re not allowing the water to flex your feet, which means you will be gas pedaling (pointing toes or gripping). Remember-at no POINT should you ever pull in on your arms. You should still be remained with your chest pushed into the water.

Once you can glide with your feet on the water you are ready for the next step.

2. TRANSITIONING INTO A STANDING POSITION

Now that you can ride, on your chest, with your feet planted in the water,

Planting Feet

you will need to, what we call BREAK, which means pushing your chest and chin down while allowing your hips (butt) to push up towards the sky. This is very important factor. Imagine sticking your head between your legs so that you’re folding in half. While you break and you feel your upper body starting to lift you will need to make sure that you start to pull your legs closer so it makes it easier to stand (about shoulder width). Keep rotating your feet and knees inwards.

A key factor in the breaking point is to WAIT as long as you can and to allow the boat to do the work. AT NO POINT DURING THIS STAGE should you try to lift your upper body and/or head to try and stand. You MUST wait, wait, wait and then when you think you have waited long enough, wait some more. This is the part most people have trouble with.

Pushing Chin Down And Hips Up

Keep pushing your hips upwards as you rotate your feet inward (feet should be parallel to one another) until you feel the water on your chin. You will need to maintain bent knees and make sure you don’t come up too tall.

3. BACKWARDS BAREFOOTING POSITION

Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far, you’re now barefooting backwards!!! Now that you’re up and skiing however, you need to keep focused and make sure you are in a solid position. You want to be broken away at the hips, but still arching your back, and keeping your head up, your knees should be bent into athlete position, with your arms straight, and glued to your butt. (If the handle is away from your butt, you will be pulled out over the back much easier). If you are sliding around a lot, get off those toes and ski flat on your feet!! Using the whole surface of you

Breaking

foot (Water line should be up around your instep) will allow you to glide easily on the water, instead of sliding around or pushing water.  The driver should not exceed speeds over 28-32 mph depending on the size of the skier.   If the skier is having difficulty at this speed they do not have the correct position.  Any faster can result in a hard fall.

Driver Notes:

Boom height.

Higher booms will make it harder for the skier to slowly put their feet in the water and they might end up dumping them into the water, whereas if the boom isn’t high enough it will make it harder for the skier to get up. The boom should really sit around the skiers shoulder height when in

Backwards Position

the back barefoot position. (About 4-5 feet off the water)

Boat speeds.

– Planing stage: A nice SLOW (10-12 mph) speed-if bouncing occurs, you’re going too fast.

– Planting: Once you can see that the skier has got a firm even plant then it is time to bring the boat up to speed (this is a smooth, consistent, and gradual movement on the throttle.)

– Standing speed: This depends on the weight of the skier, but most people up to 200lbs will be able to backwards barefoot happily at no more than 32 mph.  More speed will only be applied after several miles have been occurred on their feet.  This means several sets and 20 days or more of skiing backwards.   Do not be in a hurry to do back one foots as this should be done on shoe skis first!

-Ending the pass: Unlike when your skier is going forwards, he/she can’t see when the end of the run is coming up!!! While this seems pretty straight forward, you’ll save a lot of last minute head smashers if you just ease off very gradually, letting the skier know the end is coming and giving them time to let go and lean away, instead of suddenly losing speed and going head over heels!!

–       Ashleigh Stebbeings, Australia


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How to become a WBC Sponsored Athlete!

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Have you ever wondered if you have got what it takes to join the WBC’s Sponsored Athletes Program. Well here at the World Barefoot Center each and every skier shares a passion for the sport of barefoot waterskiing and a willingness to push themselves to become better skiers. Our sponsored athletes program is always expanding to become bigger and better. We are looking for skiers that are able to ski well and that have a great personality as well as the heart and drive to push themselves to become the best skiers they can be. We want to build world-class skiers by giving them an opportunity to train with the best skiers and coaches in the world, and elevate their skiing to the highest level.

In order to reach our goals, we need to be sure that we have members who want to go all the way and are completely committed to improving and doing things the right way. The sponsored skiers need to honour a number of qualifications in order to help both WBC and themselves out. The qualifications include:

  • Attending all major tournaments
  • Willingness to help in all aspects of Barefooting (for example helping out during tournaments, taking pictures/videos, and writing articles)
  • Commitment to the school and spending time here (a minimum of 10 days per year)
  • Openness to teamwork
  • Having a great attitude towards learning
  • Professionalism and class both on and off the water
  • Representing WBC and the sport in an outstanding way
  • Courtesy
  • And most importantly a desire to be both among the best and to become one of the best.

There are no set qualification scores to be able to apply for the program. However, all athletes will be expected to spend at least 10 skiing days per year at the school, and must be dedicated to learning and progressing in the sport.

If you think the above applies to yourself and that you are interested in applying to become apart of the team theres a WBC team application form that needs to be filled out and sent in to either the school E-Mail, wbcbarefoot@gmail.com or to our Postal Address, 3915 Lake Conine Dr. E. Winter Haven, Florida 33881. You will also need to include bio information including your current PB’s and accomplishments (check out Team WBC on our website for examples of what we are looking for), your future goals and ambitions, a description of both your long term and short term goals as well as a short explanation about what you think you can bring to the group as a team skier and what your willing to do for the team. We would also like you to include a picture of yourself so that if you are chosen we can put it on the website.

If chosen, the skier will be notified and will now be a part of The WBC Sponsored Athletes Program, and will be expected to honor all above statements. These individuals will become a part of a very special group.

WILL YOU BE THE NEXT TO JOIN?

By Ashleigh Stebbeings, Australia

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