Posts Tagged ‘Keith St. Onge’

Alex Youngblood: My Experience at the World Barefoot Center

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Well, there is a lot of stuff to write about, let’s just start off on all the fun experiences in this wonderful sport called Barefooting. So once you get really into a sport, you obviously want to get better at it, right?

Well I did.

My dad hooked me up with the World Barefoot Center. So I live in Michigan, but WBC was all the way in Florida! ! And at the time I was 10 years of age, so I was pretty nervous to be honest with you. But I wanted to be a world champion barefooter. Keith St. Onge and David Small are my idols, so I knew it was the right thing to do.

I toughened up and went.

Once I got there, I met people from all over the world. Some from Austria, Great Britain and also New Zealand! I was really shy at first. But once I got to know everyone, I was all right. Anyway back on topic. Once I got there it was straight to the water for me. I said at the beginning that I was committed to this. I was probably out on the water and the boat for about three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. It was tuff training, but I was willing to do whatever it takes to be the best I can be. After about a week, I was sore and tired. But I wanted to make the last week count. I worked my hardest, I got frustrated at times but I knew this stuff wouldn’t just come to you. A lot of people would be doing this sport if it was easy.

On my last day, I didn’t want to go home really, learning new tricks and techniques were more fun than I thought, and I said my goodbyes and thank you.  I really like this sport and I want to keep getting better and better. I’m definitely not giving up now!

-Alex Youngblood

Back to the Basics with Barefooting

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

duane godfrey taking a faceplant

Every time I go skiing with Keith St. Onge, I enjoy our conversations about health, fitness, eating habits and…thinking. This goes way back to when we first met at Gliding Soles, (his first barefooting school, also the name of his new book, Gliding Soles, Lessons from a Life on Water) – he was fun to hang with and was an open book on eating and training well. For me, shooting the breeze with Keith is always a great opportunity to learn all I can from a proven practitioner. I want to know what the best skiers think in setting up for accomplishing a trick and/or thoughts/focus before and during a slalom pass. It is important for me to unclutter the mind and just focus on what I need to think. It comes down to what works for me and what I need to be focused on. What I don’t need is to clutter my diminishing/clogged hardrive with superfluous over-thinking, when I should be focusing on one or maybe two setup thoughts. These need to be ingrained: hence the topic…ingrain the basics and free up the mind.

It is no wonder that the basics are the core of WBC’s mantra. Prior to joining  the World Barefoot Center, I was fortunate to work with those who also identified my weaknesses. Both Richard Gray and Paul MacDonald insisted that I need to smarten up and ingrain the basics to become a better and more consistent skier. Each have pushed one foots and toeholds – especially back toeholds, while their tone persuaded me get on it to avoid their ire. What has dogged all my back to-front one foot turns over the years – surface, line and toeturns is the fact that my basic forward one foot skiing position is terrible. To prove the point I was asked to merely demonstrate basic forward one foot position…

WRONG!! Foot forward, plowing, and straining was what I ended up with. “Do a front toehold” – foot flat, shin 90degrees to foot/water (shin flex), proper amount of knee bend – effortless…so then they’d ask, “why can’t you do a front one foot?”… obviously because I never thought anything of it other than just mindlessly doing something before something else. By concentrating on this one aspect, my one foot back-to-front surface turn, line front and toe fronts became much easier and actually do-able. So for me, since this is not yet ingrained, I need to remind myself that when coming to the front, I need shin flex and flat foot.

David Small has helped my back skiing setup by reminding me to ski flatter on my foot in preparing for the 1 foot b-f as well as pulsing down (absorbing the turn)when reaching the back from a 1 foot turn or toeback– these points are definitely helpful hence major setup thoughts – for now.  My goal will be to make this automatic so I can be more in tune with the turn itself – I still don’t see the turn, and for that I need to concentrate and actually have my eyes open!….Always see where I have been.

Back toes are another block-builder that I plan to do on a more regular basis.  It takes strength, determination, balance, smoothness, vision and accuracy to perfectly track the trough without movement….sounds like a challenge!  If the toes burn, you know immediately that the foot is not flat enough. If you are moving to the side, chances are there is not enough shin and foot flexion. When anything goes wrong with a back toe, it identifies a weakness hence a very good indicator to the skier of what needs attention thereby also improving self analysis. When doing back toes, one has to do everything in unison – again, a great skill to practice. Deliberately going off balance and rectifying are great exercises for overall skiing and completing the toe-back. These are important skills that sets one up for success in turns and wake crossings.

In conclusion, I will strive to remember that barefoot skiing is a lot of fun but can become a chore when only working toward tournament scores. Therefore, Note to self:  I will take the time to practice the basics and ratchet down the intensity;  striving to perform smooth and controlled warm up passes to set the tone for the harder stuff……….Stuff that requires solid basics.

Duane Godfrey

Thinking About Entering Your First Barefoot Tournament?

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

You’re thinking about it. You’re tempted. You’re curious.

You’d like to try a barefoot tournament but you have no idea where to start or what to do.

Here’s a book to help you get started:

Barefoot Water Skiing, From Weekend Warrior to Competitor

From Juan Carlos Cardoso Riveroll:

This book gave us the additional push we needed to participate in the 2012 Worlds. We had always been weekend warriors and weren’t at all confident to participate in such a big event!.. After reading through beautifully written experiences illustrated in this book we went for it and had a fantastic time competing, networking and becoming part of the international barefooting family.

In a nutshell the book will illustrate the rules & dynamics needed to participate competitively, it will give you clarity on what it takes (and what it doesn’t). It’s a must read for all skiers that want to take the next step in their footing career (or even if they want to keep it a simple hobby). You’ll be surprised on how accessible tournaments are for any ski level and how supportive the community is.

After the worlds I can say that our skiing level, our focus and our understanding of the sport are at a whole different level. This book gave us the insight we needed. We went for it and thanks to it had the experience of skiing with the best. Karen is a fantastic writer, I have reached out to her via Facebook and had all my questions answered – furthermore she put us in contact with all the right people to keep us on track moving ahead! thank you for such a great book.

The book is available at the World Barefoot Center Pro Shop along with Keith St. Onge’s book, Gliding Soles:

World Barefoot Center Books

Tommie Copper at the World Barefoot Center

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Keith St. Onge, Tom Kallish, Jeff Sussman and Josh Chapman

In April, the Tommie Copper company came out to the World Barefoot Center to film Karen Putz and Keith St. Onge on and off the water.

Tommie Copper is a company which makes copper-infused compression wear for pain relief and injuries.  The owner, Tom Kallish, experienced a water ski accident after slaloming over a submerged log.  He endured several operations on his back, hips and knees.  His doctor prescribed compression wear for his injuries, but Tom found the products bulky and uncomfortable.  He researched the healing properties of copper, developed a copper-infused yarn and patented the fabric and process.  One year ago, Karen discovered the Tommie Copper products after recovering from surgery.  For the full story of how this film project came about:

Karen Putz and the Tommie Copper Story

A video is in the works and the company released a web commercial:

Tom Kallish slaloming at the WBC

KSO being interviewed

Tom Kallish and Karen Putz

A Visit From a World Barefoot Champion

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

The Justin Bieber of the barefoot water skiing world was coming for a visit!

At least, that is what my three daughters equated it to.  Last June, I picked up Keith St. Onge from the airport for an overnight stay and a day of barefooting with close friends, Cory Spengler and Carla Hopler.  Having Keith and close friends together for training on our own turf was a great experience.  Carla was working on slalom wake crosses and I was focusing on my trick run.  Regionals were in my future and I needed some personal training.

I always enjoy going to the World Barefoot Center to train, but highly recommend having them come to you if the opportunity arises.

Corey Jones

Evert Aartsen, Jr.: A Month of Barefoot Training at the WBC

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

I will be spending the whole month of May at the World Barefoot Center. I will be cleaning up my turns during this month and hopefully starting to work on some more multiple turns, one foot turns, and toe turns. I hope to get my trick score up a lot this season, and of course slalom and jump too.  Tricks is my weakest event of the three, so I will be working most of my time here on tricks.

I will be spending two times a day in the garage doing dry land practicing on turns to build that muscle memory.  I also plan to spend time in the boat when Swampy is coaching Keith St. Onge, David Small, and Ben Groen–this helps a lot for my skiing, just to listen what Swampy has to tell them, that makes me think about that too.

I want to learn a lot during this month so I can become a better skier. Swampy, KSO, Dave, and Ben are just the right people to learn from!

Evert Aartsen Jr.

Evert Aarsten Jr.: My First Tournament

Barefoot Water Ski School

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

The World Barefoot Center is the #1 Barefoot Ski School to learn how to barefoot water ski for the first time.  The World Barefoot Center has the experience in their staff on and off the water.  Visit the website and follow us on Facebook to learn more about us.  We promote safety, fun and learning the right progressions from the start.  No matter what level of skier you are you’ll be able to learn how to barefoot water ski.  We have taught people that have never water skied before.

If you want more information or have questions please call us at anytime! (863)-877-0039  We offer great summer rates when staying longer than one week.

We also offer traveling clinics from our professionals.  Clinics allow families, friends and clubs to hire us to come to their personal site.  We use your boat and teach from beginners to all levels at your location.

World Barefoot Center / Barefoot Water Ski School

Ski School Rates:

My 1st Cover on the Water Skier Magazine

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

I had no idea I was going to be on the cover.  The photographer, Zenon Bilas had a few different idea’s for me one day during a shoot.  He asked me if I could ski a few feet off the swim platform of an inboard boat?  I had barefoot skied there before but only on two feet.  He thought we could get a sweet angle while standing on the back storage of the boat while looking down on me.  I was up for the challenge and off we went.

I quickly realized I had only a few troffs to stand in while the frothy white water came roaring out from the bottom of the boat.  I had a hard time balancing on one foot.  I got knocked off my foot several times while crashing into the turbulent water.  If there’s one place I hate falling it’s directly behind the boat because the water feels like concrete.  I was able to pull off a front toe hold for a few short seconds and Zenon Bilas landed a sweet shot.

Sometimes we have to try new things to get results and in this case we did it.  I’d like to thank Zenon for being so creative and The Water Skier magazine for putting me on the cover when I needed it most in my career.  This cover rejuvenated me and kept me in the sport to want to achieve more!

Keith St Onge

1st WaterSkier cover for Keith St.Onge

By: Keith St. Onge

Keith St.Onge’s 2nd WaterSkier Magazine Cover

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

After years and years of falling short of my dream to win the World Overall Title, it finally happened in 2006.  I trained harder than ever before and it all paid off.  After returning to Winter Haven, Florida, I received a call from photographer Lynn Novakovski.  “I’d like to come out and get a cover shot.” he said.  I couldn’t wait for the opportunity, and Lynn came out the next day.

I tried to remember the covers from other athletes from years back.  I never saw or at least did not remember anybody ever wearing medals around their neck.  I thought this would be a great idea, so I brought my hardware along.

My first run was quite sketchy because my medals were swinging everywhere in the wind.  My friend Char had a hair band in the boat and suggested I tighten up the medals on my neck.  The trick worked as the medals were much tighter and did not flap in the wind.  Of course I was taking a chance if I fell, but I wanted to get a unique cover.

Keith Stonge Waterskier magazine cover shot

1st Waterskier Cover shot for Keith St. Onge after winning the 2006 World Overall Title

By: Keith St.Onge

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Best Barefoot Ski School, Biggest Barefoot Ski School & Most Affordable Barefoot Ski School

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Saying we are the Best Barefoot Ski School may be a little biased, but here are a few reasons we could be considered to be the best:

The best Barefoot Water Skiers in the World own and work at the WBC: David Small and Keith St.Onge have won the last six world titles, Ashleigh Stebbeings is the #1 female barefoot water skier in the world and Ben Groen is ranked #4 in the world.  There are some athletes that should only be athletes and not coaches or instructors but these four individuals have the common sense to be both.  Our instructors will not only provide a great service but they are safety conscious and provide a fun atmosphere in the boat while learning.

We have the best equipment and boats.  We use all Barefoot International products (Boom, Tower, Tower Extension), provide shoe skis and ropes & handles by US Gear.  Our boats are a little older, but that is entirely due to the wear and tear these boats go through on a daily basis.  The Sanger outboards have a flat wake, no chin spray off the side and are powered by brand new Evinrude engines.

The World Barefoot Center is the Largest Barefoot Ski School in the history of the sport.  This is a fact because:

We have four boats, fully equipped.
We have five top-level instructors that have titles as professionals, top four on the ranking list, hold world records, and years of experience.
We have four lakes which we use and can accommodate any wind direction.
We have a fully-stocked pro shop.
Our instructors are available seven days a week.
We pulled 22 skiers in one day, which is a record as far as we have ever heard.

Most Affordable prices:
Our clients can simply do their homework and Google our competitors prices.  The World Barefoot Center prices are the most reasonable, affordable, and fair-priced compared to any other barefoot ski school.


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