Posts Tagged ‘johnathan martines’

Johnathan Martines: Learning to Instruct

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

For the past 3 years, I have been spending my summers and the majority of my school breaks training at the WBC. Each time I went down, it was basically the same routine. I would usually ski all day and help out around the ski school with whatever needed to be done. My duties would include simple chores around the house like taking out the trash, vacuuming, and packaging orders.

This year, however, a new part of my journey in barefooting began. I began learning to instruct other skiers. I started out by watching Ben and Ash instruct a number of different students. I paid attention to the way they interacted with the person in the water and how they adjusted their instructing style when the skier was not responding.

Eventually, I began to instruct a select few students with either Ash or Ben in the boat.

For me, this wasn’t very difficult. If I had a question about anything or was unsure of myself, I could ask Ash or Ben and get the answer immediately. I usually instructed skiers who were working on intermediate tricks like back toes, line one foots, and slalom.

After instructing with a more experienced instructor in the boat, the moment of truth came, it was my turn to take out some skiers on my own. For me, this was extremely intimidating. Being that I’m still a teenager, many of the people that I was instructing were older than me. I felt intimidated and unsure of myself. Eventually Swampy sat down and had a talk with me. He had heard from a skier that I seemed unsure of myself. Swampy told me to believe in myself and to be confident and vocal while instructing.

I took this advice and acted on it. I started being more confident in my instructing and acting like a leader while in the boat. I started noticing that the skiers responded much better to the instruction when I was confident in what I was telling them.

Beginning the journey of learning to instruct this summer was awesome. It gave me more self-confidence and forced me to be more responsible. I was no longer responsible for only my own skiing, but I was also responsible for how the skier I was instructing was skiing. Without the help of everyone at the WBC, I would never have had the opportunity to learn to instruct. I am still a beginner when it comes to instructing, and I look forward to becoming a much better instructor over the upcoming years.

Johnathan Martines

Johnathan Martines: 2014 Eastern Regionals

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

​For the third consecutive year, the Eastern Regional Barefoot Waterski Championships were held at Prompton Dam State Park just outside of Carbondale, Pennsylvania. Thirty skiers made the trek to the northeastern corner of the state to participate in the annual event. As always, the site had wonderful conditions, and the tournament was home to some great skiing.

​On Friday morning, a number of skiers and officials arrived at the site to set up the jump course and cameras for the event. The jump course was set up in about two hours by Cody and Greg Ebbert, Geoff Hust, Pete Sylvester, and myself. While we were getting the ramp and buoys into position, the officials were setting up and adjusting the jump cameras.

​At noon, the jump event began. Cody Ebbert and I were the first two skiers on the water. We jumped two rounds back to back. Even though I landed the majority of my jumps, I wasn’t very happy with my jumps because they were small, and I know I am capable of jumping much farther than I did.

​After jumping, the Open Pro skiers skied their slalom rounds. My first round of slalom, I skied a great forwards pass. Motivated to get a PB, I decided to really be aggressive on my second pass. Unfortunately, I fell on my second pass and didn’t ski a personal best. The next round, however, I skied out two solid runs and scored a PB of 14.8. That night, everyone helped take the jump course out of the water, and we had a chicken barbecue at the site.

​The next morning, we were greeted with more great water and more skiers. The first skiers on the water were the juniors. It was great to see young Lexi McCauley, who spent a month training at the WBC, smash both her tricks and slalom PB’s. She even set a pending Girls 2 national record of 1780!

​After the juniors skied, I skied my first round of tricks, and it was an absolute disaster. I skied very out of control on my first round and was determined to fix it. So, while taking a break in between rounds, I thought it would be a good idea to do some dryland practice. While doing surface turns in the grass, I turned over a fish hook, forming a slice in the ball of my left foot. Frantically, I asked around for superglue, but there was none to be found. Instead, I quickly applied new skin to the cut and ran to the starting dock. Surprisingly, my tricks passes went extremely well resulting in a PB of 8100 points! After working hard at the WBC for 6 weeks before the tournament, it was amazing to see my work pay off.

​The final event of the day was the slow man competition. For those who may not be familiar with this competition. let me explain. The competition is a bracket format. Skier go head to head as the boat slows down from 30 MPH. The first person to fall loses. The winner of this year’s slow man competition was not a man at all. Lorraine Piskura easily won the competition by skiing at 17 MPH!

​After the slow man competition, everyone helped clean up and went back to where they were staying to clean up for the banquet. That night, the skiers and officials enjoyed food and drinks as awards were presented, closing the tournament. I would like to thank everyone who helped out with and sponsored the tournament. Without you all, the tournament wouldn’t have been possible.

Johnathan Martines

Johnathan Martines: The Importance of Confidence

Monday, April 21st, 2014

​When I was 14, I realized that I had a chance at making the US Junior Barefoot Waterski Team. Even though my scores were very low compared to the other people being considered for team selection, I knew it would be possible for me to bring up my scores. The following fall, spring, and beginning of summer were spent busting my butt trying to learn most of the basics and turns.

​By the time the first tournament of the season came around in the 2012 season, I knew all of the fundamentals, I was doing all 4 turns behind the boat consistently, my slalom was twice as good as the previous year, and I was on the cusp of landing my first inverted jump behind the boat. So when I ventured to the Southern Glass tournament with Team WBC, my skiing was in check but one thing wasn’t… my confidence. Because this was the biggest tournament of my life up to that point, I was stressed out beyond belief. I couldn’t sleep the night before because all that I could think about was all that could go wrong, rather than what could go right.

​When I skied the tournament, my skiing showed just how stressed out I was. I fell in tricks and fell on my first slalom crossing. The only positive of the tournament was that I landed my first jump in a tournament. These scores would not earn me a spot on the junior team. I was devastated.
​The next day, I had a serious inner talk with myself. I realized that I needed to start having 100% confidence in my skiing. Each day in training, I worked my butt off so I would be confident in my abilities when I arrived at the next tournament in two weeks. My skiing shot like a rocket in the following two weeks. I started working on multiple turns. My slalom was cleaner, faster, and more consistent. I also landed my first inverted jumps behind the boat.

​When I arrived at the next tournament, I was ready to ski. I was eager to be first on the water so I could show that I was good enough to earn a spot on the junior team. I started off the day by tricking 3650, nearly 2000 points more than my previous personal best. I slalomed over 12, 4 more crosses than my old PB. I also landed my first inverted jump in a tournament!

​My strategy of believing in myself worked. I smashed all of my old PBs and finally had a really good chance at making the junior team. Long story short…I made the team. So why did I tell you this long personal account? The reason is to demonstrate how far self confidence can go. Having a good mindset and believing you can do something will increase your chances of accomplishing what you want much more than if you have low confidence. Whether it be in barefoot waterskiing or in life, believe you are better than you are, but act like you are worse than you are. This positive way of thinking and humble way of acting will help you accomplish things you never thought possible.

Johnathan Martines: Setting Barefooting Goals

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Sometimes when I have been training all day every day for a while, the training regimen starts to become a bit of a grind. As a result of feeling tired, people tend to lack motivation to ski and improve. One thing that keeps me motivated throughout the ski season is writing down my goals. I have three different categories of goals: short term goals, season goals, and long term/career goals.

Short term goals are goals that I gear specifically toward my training over the upcoming weeks. Some short term goals can be to make changes to a specific trick, ski out all of your trick runs that week, or to accomplish something you have never done. These short term goals usually have to do with training and how I prepare myself for competitions.

Season goals are goals I write down before every season that I want to achieve in a tournament. These goals are the personal best scores I am trying to attain that season in tournaments. I personally believe these goals are the most motivating and rewarding because they are very easy to track.

Long term/career goals are things you would like to accomplish before the end of your career as a skier. Examples of long term goals may be to make a national team in the future, win a specific tournament, or become top three in the world. These goals tend to be the underlying reason behind why you will put so much work in over such a long period of time.

I believe it is important to set goals that may seem slightly unattainable. Even if you don’t accomplish the goals, you will have accomplished a lot more than you have previously done.

By: Johnathan Martines

Johnathan Martines: Getting Out of the Comfort Zone

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Many people, especially those who are involved in sports, love staying in their comfort zone and not experimenting with new ideas and techniques. This past summer, one of these people was me. Every day, I would go out and work on multiple turns with the master coach himself, Swampy Bouchard.

“Bend your knees! Turn slowly! Stay on your foot!” were phrases I heard so often from the mouth of Swampy that I’m pretty sure I even began hearing them in my
sleep. No matter how many times I was told to do these seemingly simple tasks, I would still
stick to my old bad habits.

One morning before many of the ski school students came, Swampy took Ben, Ash, and
me out for a tricks set. After being told to bend my knees for the thousandth time and still not
executing, I jumped in the boat. Swampy simply said, “We will have a date at lunchtime.” I
knew this couldn’t be good.
Around lunchtime, Swampy took me out all by myself. For what seemed like forever, I
did turn after turn after turn in the summer heat. After about an hour on the water, breakthroughs
started being made. All of a sudden, I was nailing multiple sequences and trick runs I was never
able to previously do.
For the rest of that summer, I tried to make the changes needed for me to improve and
my skiing started improving rapidly. This simple event showed me how important it is to make
changes in order to improve. I realized that changing, without fearing the consequences, was the
key to improving in the sport, and if I stayed in my comfort zone, I would be a 4000-5000 point
tricker for the rest of my life.

Many people, especially those who are involved in sports, love staying in their comfort
zone and not experimenting with new ideas and techniques. This past summer, one of these
people was me. Every day, I would go out and work on multiple turns with the master coach
himself, Swampy Bouchard. “Bend your knees! Turn slowly! Stay on your foot!” were phrases I
heard so often from the mouth of Swampy that I’m pretty sure I even began hearing them in my
sleep. No matter how many times I was told to do these seemingly simple tasks, I would still
stick to my old bad habits.
One morning before many of the ski school students came, Swampy took Ben, Ash, and
me out for a tricks set. After being told to bend my knees for the thousandth time and still not
executing, I jumped in the boat. Swampy simply said, “We will have a date at lunchtime.” I
knew this couldn’t be good.


Around lunchtime, Swampy took me out all by myself. For what seemed like forever, I
did turn after turn after turn in the summer heat. After about an hour on the water, breakthroughs
started being made. All of a sudden, I was nailing multiple sequences and trick runs I was never
able to previously do.
For the rest of that summer, I tried to make the changes needed for me to improve and
my skiing started improving rapidly. This simple event showed me how important it is to make
changes in order to improve. I realized that changing, without fearing the consequences, was the
key to improving in the sport, and if I stayed in my comfort zone, I would be a 4000-5000 point
tricker for the rest of my life.

By: Johnathan Martines

Johnathan Martines: How I Started Barefoot Water Skiing

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Whenever I tell someone who has no idea about the sport that I barefoot waterski, the second most common question they ask me is “How did you get started in such a unique sport?” (The first question is regarding whether or not it hurts your feet.) Well, the way I got started in the sport isn’t a magnificent story of seeing it in a ski show and wanting to try it immediately. I was essentially born into the sport.

In the early 1960’s when my grandfather, John Martines Sr., was in high school and college, he would spend his summers water skiing on Crystal Lake in Pennsylvania. As a trick, he would step off a ski and barefoot around the lake. This was all he could do. There were no surface turns or toeholds for him.

When my father was 12, he learned how to barefoot from my grandfather. During his high school and college years, my father competed at a regional and national level. When I was born, going to tournaments took the backseat to raising a family. Even though my father stopped competing for a bit, he still continued to barefoot and waterski.

When I was 7, it was only natural that I started barefooting. My father encouraged me from a young age to start barefooting. I was crazy about the sport for a bit, but I kind of lost interest for a while. I preferred wakeboarding and skate took a trip to boarding over barefooting.

When I was 11 years old, my family took a summer vacation to Ocean City, Maryland. The weekend after the vacation, we drove to Vienna, Maryland, where the Eastern Regionals were being held. I skied that tournament and absolutely loved it! I ended up skiing my first nationals also that year.

Even though I continued to compete, I still didn’t take the sport very seriously. I wasn’t willing to pay the price and make the sacrifices necessary to get good. When I was 14, a change happened in me, I started taking the sport seriously and really loving it. Going skiing was all I could ever think of and I wanted desperately to get good. Now, I’m 16 and that bug hasn’t left me. Words can’t describe how much I love training and competing. There’s no better feeling than accomplishing a goal you have worked so hard towards achieving!

By: Johnathan Martines

Johnathan Martines: The Hardest Thing to Learn

Friday, August 30th, 2013

As you all know, barefooting is not an easy sport. In barefooting, almost nothing comes easy. No matter what you are learning, whether it’s a toe-hold, a back deep, or a line turn, you are bound to take your fair share of falls and encounter some hardships. Throughout my barefooting career, I’ve had my fair share of struggles, but my most difficult and frustrating challenge to date was learning how to jump inverted.

In April of 2012, I went down to the WBC for a week of training. Having learnt all of the basics, it was now time for me to start learning surface turns and jumping. I started jumping about my third day in. Once I learned how to jump traditional style, I started to work on inverted.

Everything went well in the days that followed, and by the end of the week, I was jumping inverted and landing on the ten foot extension on the boom. After spending a few months home training and not jumping, I came back at the beginning of June for a month. One of my priorities for this trip was to learn inverted jumping behind the boat before the 2012 Worlds.

My first set back was terrible. I would lunge, come forward on the ramp, and be early every single time. For some reason, I was afraid of jumping. This fear hurt my skiing for weeks and weeks. Some days I would go out on the ten foot and look great. Other days, I would go on the five foot and not even be able to land a jump. One thing was the same, though; I could not land an inverted jump behind the boat to save my life.

Finally after a month of jumping every day, something clicked. I went out one afternoon in early July and landed my first inverted jump behind the boat! I was ecstatic! One thing I had dreamed of doing all my life finally came true! The struggle didn’t stop from there. Even though I could land jumps now, they were still very small.

Even today, I still struggle a bit with my jumping. The struggles, however, are on a higher level. Moral of the story, push through your hardships in life and in barefooting and it will be very rewarding.

By: Johnathan Martines

Johnathan Martines: The World Barefoot Center Experience

Friday, June 7th, 2013

I live in the northern state of Pennsylvania. The last thing kids are interested in up here is getting up at the crack of dawn and jumping into a cold lake to take some head-packers at 7 in the morning to try to learn a new trick.

This is completely different at the World Barefoot Center. The first thing I noticed when I first went to the WBC was the amount of young athletes who had the same passion for the sport that I do. They were all driven and motivated to progress their skiing, and they were all having a blast doing it!

​The amount of people who love the sport of barefooting at the WBC gives the school an amazing atmosphere. At the school, you put your whole time and effort into your skiing. Even when you aren’t skiing, you are watching videos from that day’s skiing, drylanding, or watching old videos. You truly get to spend your whole life on improving your skiing.

​Another thing I love about the WBC is that everyone is so friendly. Swampy Bouchard, Dave Small, Keith St. Onge, Ben Groen, AJ Porecca, and Ash Stebbeings were the leaders when I went last summer. They set a great example for the entire team on how to be friendly and personable. I was a bit shy and timid when I first went down. The crew down there, especially Swampy, worked to break me of that bit of shyness.

The atmosphere is like no other at the WBC. Everyone is friendly and gets along. I spent a good portion of my summer at the WBC last year. I can honestly tell you there was not one argument or fight between any of the students all summer that I saw. Everyone helped each other out and worked to improve each other’s skiing. I cannot say enough about how amazing the WBC is. The memories I have made at the WBC are ones I will never forget. There is nowhere else on earth where I can find some many young skiers that love the sport, and so much knowledge of the sport from the instructors.

Johnathan Martines: My Experience at the 2012 Barefoot Nationals

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

The 2012 Barefoot Nationals at the Barefoot Ski Ranch in Waco, Texas were my 5th Nationals.   Up until 2012, I have never won an Overall title and I had only gotten a handful of medals.

Going into the tournament I was very confident in my skiing. Just weeks earlier I had qualified to ski in the open division in all three events.   All of the training and tournaments leading up to the Nationals went great.  I scored a number of PB’s and learned many new tricks.

The first event I skied in the tournament was tricks.   I was the top seed going into the event and I felt very confident with my trick run.  During my run, I got cut on a few tricks but still scored at 3100, enough to put me into second place and put me into the Open Men’s Final Round.   In the trick finals, the water was extremely rough and everyone was scoring very low.  I scored a 1600 putting me in 2nd place with a Silver Medal.
In jump we only got 1 round of 2 jumps because the water was rough and they needed to finish all of the jumping in one morning.   I missed my first jump, but scored a 16.1 on my second jump, enough to get me the silver medal.
Slalom was by far my worst event.   I barely stood up my first run.  I then proceeded to take a head packer early on in my second run, earning a 9.5.   I did not make the finals, but I did score just enough to stay in it for the overall.  The rest of the skiers that were chasing the Overall also had trouble in the slalom finals, giving me the overall.  When I found out I won the Overall, I was so excited. Winning my first National Overall title is a memory I will never forget.
Johnathan Martines