Posts Tagged ‘kailey koehler’

The Barefooting Sisters

Friday, January 4th, 2013


Anyone who knows my sister Kailey and I knows that we are always together and basically inseparable.  The two of us have become commonly known as “The Koehler Girls”, and are often consider to be more of one item than two separate people.  On some occasions people will even mistake us for being twins.  For the record though, I may being the shorter one by quite a few inches, but I am in fact the older one by 18 months.

Kailey and I are not only sisters, but best friends, teammates, and competitors.  Being a part of the barefooting sport together means a lot to us.  We practice together, go to tournaments together, and cheer each other on.  Often people will ask if this direct competition with one another causes a sisterly rivalry.  However, this is is not the case.  We are just as supportive to one another no matter what the results of a tournament may be.  Kailey has always been one to follow in my footsteps, but at this point in our skiing careers, it is possible for either one of us to come out on top.  With a competitive nature in me and a passion for the sport, of course I strive to do my best.  If anyone is going to beat me though, I am happy and proud to see it be my own sister.  She has always been there for me, so when it is her turn to be successful I always want to be there for her.  There is no one I would rather have beat me than Kailey.

From day one, Kailey and I have been closer than anyone could imagine and I do not plan on allowing that to change anytime soon.  Having someone there for you no matter what is one of the best feelings in the world.  We push each other, give each other advise or tips, and are always each others number one fans.  The sport of barefooting is a huge part of both of our lives and it is something that has brought us even closer as we face every challenge and success together.

“As two sisters we will always be, two nuts off the family tree.”

By: Ariana Koehler

Karen Putz– My First Barefoot Tournament

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

As I drove up the highway toward Blue Moo lake in Alma Center, Wisconsin last Thursday, I was having second thoughts about the whole barefoot tournament thing.  Earlier in the week, I took a few runs with Dan Tanis over at Cedar Lake, but I couldn’t accomplish a single thing on the water.  Out of five pulls, I got up twice and fell each time I attempted to slalom across the wake.   I hadn’t yet practiced a trick run.  And here I was, driving four hours to compete in my first tournament.  

Twenty five years after tripping over a wake, I got back on the water again at the World Barefoot Center in March of last year.  I think a certain 68-year-old woman came up with the idea of entering tournaments.    “It’ll be fun!” she said.  “Everyone is friendly and they’ll help you and tell you what to do.”

Well, Judy was right about that.  I arrived at the dock on Friday morning and met with Kenny Kaestner, the instructor from Footn Foundations and host of the clinic.   Right away, Kenny made me feel at home on the water and he provided some fantastic instruction.   I was struggling to cheek out, and he taught me to line myself up at the opposite angle of where I wanted to cheek out to.   I spent the  morning slaloming and going through my trick runs.  Kenny bumped my speed up to 39/40 and I discovered that I liked it much better on firmer water.  By the time the morning sets were over, I felt confident that I knew what to do.  We spent the afternoon working on backwards.  I worked on riding backwards on one foot on shoes and then tried a back deep on my feet with no success.  I explained that I could get up easily on shoes, but I was really struggling to get up on my feet.  Kenny ran me through a hip exercise several times in the water, identifying the muscles used to get the hips up.   After that, I  was able to get up three times in a row backwards on my feet.

I somehow totally missed the fact that the tournament started at four that afternoon and I was pretty wiped out at that point.  I put myself last in the line up– hoping that I could recover some energy before it was my turn.  Let’s just say this… nothing will wake you up faster than getting back into a cold wetsuit– and jumping in the cold Wisconsin water late in the evening.  Holy moly…

I told myself that if I could just stand up and manage at least one cross, I would be happy.  I forgot the very trick that Kenny taught me– and found myself stuck inside the wake during my first run.  I didn’t have a choice but to stand up inside, and I nearly lost my balance.  I managed to make it outside the wake and then cut right across the wake.  To my complete surprise, I found myself still standing on the other side– and cut back across.  I managed two more crossings and I was really whooping inside when the boat came around.   I ended up with six on the second pass and with a score of 2.8.  That was later bumped up to 3.3. 

Kenny is a guy who does it all.  Not only did he run the tournament, but earlier in the year, he took his bow and arrow, shot Bambi– and served venison for dinner.  “I don’t care much for venison,” said Janell Heller, the owner of Blue Moo Lake.  “But when Kenny marinates and cooks it– it is wonderful.”  I took her advice, tried the venison and agreed with her, it was really delicious.

Blue Moo Lake is set at the edge of a corn field in the middle of a very rural part of Wisconsin.  When I first met Blake Heller, he reminded me so much of my dad– the same round face, the farmer’s heart and the beer in one hand.   I asked Blake how the lake came about and he explained that it took just three guys to dig out the lake.  They started in November and finished in spring the following year.  This was my first time skiing on a lake made specifically for barefooting and wow, one could easily become spoiled by the amazing water that happens on each run.

I put myself last in the line up again the next day for tricks.  I was a little nervous about doing a flyer, as I had done one only once before down at the WBC.  Paul Stokes had just returned from his run and he gave me some reminders as the rope began to tighten up.  The flyer went perfectly and I managed to get the wave, wave, sit down stand up in.  As soon as I shifted to one foot, bam– I faceplanted.  I had planned two tumble turns on the second pass.  Halfway through the first tumble, I felt as if the handle was going to get away from me so I pulled out of it– stood up for the second tumble– got halfway around and lost the handle.  So much for that run!  But I was happy with the 140– it was a lot better than a zero.

The best part was getting to watch the other gals barefoot.  It was amazing to watch Ariana and Kailey Koehler do their trick runs and absolutely jaw-dropping to watch Elaine Heller and Liz O’Flaherty sail over the jump.  The whole tournament experience was a positive one.  The barefooting community is definitely a warm, welcoming one.  Whatever apprehensions that I had when I arrived– were totally gone by the first hour.   I’m really looking forward to the next tournament!

barefoot scores blue moo

By Karen Putz

Barefoot Water Skiing Crashes and Faceplants

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

“World Champions are not made overnight.  They have to endure a lot of falls and faceplants to reach success.”

–Coach Swampy Bouchard, World Barefoot Center

Here’s a collection of barefoot crash videos from the World Barefoot Center, featuring some spectacular crashes, falls, tumbles, faceplants and body slams.  You’re guaranteed to cringe:

Barefoot Crashes and Faceplants

Barefooting Crashes

Extreme Barefooting Crashes

Barefooting Crashes and Smashes

The Best Barefoot Crashes

Slips and Trips at WBC

Massive Falls at the WBC Invitational Tournament

Wicked Barefoot Falls

Mind Over Matter in the Boat

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

It’s March 29th and here at the World Barefoot Center we had a very inspirational day out on the water.  We were running two full boats, which were full of complete beginners as well as some of the top skiers in the world.

In the morning, we had a young skier, Kailey Koehler (14 years old), who had been battling her toe up on the long line as well as her turns on the shoe skis.  She went out and tried her toe up without some of her usual equipment that usually helps her and couldn’t accomplish it successfully.

Kailey climbed in the boat and had a chat with David Small about what was going wrong and how most of it was simply due to lack of confidence and commitment.  She changed her attitude, went straight back out, and nailed the very next toe up behind the boat with ease.

On her following sets, she worked on surface turns, where she has a problem with crushing and falling away on a lot of her turns.  Again, she changed her attitude before she went out there, and after doing some visualization and dry land training, she completed her turns with conviction and skied the best she ever had.  Good job Kailey!!!

By: David Small