Posts Tagged ‘mike seipel’

Barefooting with the Legends

Monday, August 25th, 2014

On October 25th, an amazing event called “Legends.” This unique USA Waterski Foundation fundraiser allows the everyday skier to rub shoulders with the greatest water skiers of all time – the skiers who have shaped the sport into what it is today.

“Legends” is in its fourth year, but due to its incredible success with raising money for the USA Waterski Foundation, it has expanded this year to include barefooting and LD jumping for the first time.

The barefoot legends who are attending the event so far are Ron Scarpa, Mike Seipel, Peter Fleck, and John Gillette (who literally wrote the book on barefooting!). I have invited several other legends as well, so I will update you with the legend attendees as the event draws closer.

Here is how the barefoot event will run: On Saturday, October 25th barefooters who purchase a skier package will meet at WBC at 7:00am for registration, and will be on the water at 8:00am. Ron Scarpa and Mike Seipel are the instructors for the day, and each skier will spend half the day with both of them. In other words, if you ski with Mike in the morning, you will ski with Ron in the afternoon, and vice versa. Your morning and afternoon sets will be broken up with a lunch that will be provided at the WBC. The lunch kicks off what we are calling the “WBC Beach Party” because it is here that the other legends and people who purchase a non-skier package will congregate for the afternoon. The lunch/beach party will be a fun reunion for the legends and a great opportunity for skiers to meet and hang out with some legendary barefooters! At the end of the day, the barefooters will come together with the slalom skiers and LD jumpers for an awards banquet and dinner at the Fantasy of Flight.

For the record, “Legends” is an entire weekend filled with fun activities you can attend. On Friday night and Sunday afternoon there are activities taking place at the USA Waterski Headquarters….but for simplicity I will not explain them here.

Contact Teri Larson at the World Barefoot Center at (863) 877-0039 or check out the USA Waterski Foundation website to register or for more details.

Anyone who is participating in the “Legends” event has a few options to choose from. You can choose a skier package, non-skier package, Saturday banquet only, or you can donate auction items. The skier package includes access to allwater and land events being held from October 24th to 26th, a goodie bag, a tour of the Hall of Fame, and of course…a day of skiing with Mike and Ron.

WE HAVE 10 SPOTS FOR SKIERS…so get on it quickly if you want to ski! A non-skier package can be just as much fun as the skier package. Non-skier packages include a tour of the Hall of Fame, entry into the WBC beach party on Saturday, and admission to the Saturday night banquet. Tickets for the Saturday night banquet are also available. The USA Waterski foundation is also looking for silent auction items that people can bid on at the Saturday night banquet.

The USA Waterski foundation a subsidiary of USA Waterski that is responsible for funding the Waterski Hall of Fame and all of the waterski scholarships that are awarded to athletes every year. All proceeds for this event are
donated to the USA Waterski foundation. Therefore, “Legends” is a great event for a great cause. You won’t want to miss it! Register online ASAP to secure your spot!

Click here to register your spot in the boat!

Teri Larson

Keith St. Onge’s World Championship History

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

1996 World Championship:

At the age of 18 Keith skied in his first World Championship held in Fergus Falls, MN in 1996.  Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.  He qualified to ski in the second round in all three events (slalom, trick and jump) and took 7th Overall.

Keith St. Onge competing in his 1st World Championships in 1996

1998 World Championship:

In 1998 Keith moved to Florida for the winter and trained for the World Championship in Sydney, Australia.  He won his 1st gold medal in Slalom and took 3rd Overall.  Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2000 World Championship:

In 2000 the World Championships went back to Fergus Falls, MN.  Keith did not place in the top three in the individual events but took Silver Overall.  Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2002 World Championship:

In 2002 the Worlds were held in Wallsee, Austria.  Keith was favored to win the Overall.  He took Gold in Slalom, Silver in Tricks and Silver Overall.  He came up short to the young David Small from England that surprised everyone with his talented skiing.  Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2004 World Championship:

In 2004 the Worlds were in Mulwala, Australia.  Keith won the Bronze in the Slalom and Trick events.  Keith was favored to win the Overall title once again but came up short to David Small.  For the third time in a row Keith won the Silver in the Overall title.  Frustrated and depressed on coming up short for the Gold Overall medal St. Onge changed his life habits and set out on a quest to win an Overall Title before it was too late. Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2006 World Championship:

Keith trained harder than he ever had one year prior to this tournament and suffered a back injury that almost changed the outcome and stopped him from competing.  This event was held in Adna, Washington.  Favored to win once again the pressure was immense.  After the first round of the jump event Ketih’s back injury resurfaced.  The team masseuse (Charlene Portman) kept Keith’s back function-able to carry him through the tournament.  Keith went on to win the Gold in the Slalom event, Gold in the Trick event and his first Overall Title earning him the Gold.  This was by far Keith’s best performance setting World Records in every (3 rounds) round in the tricks event.   Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2008/2009 World Championship:

Coming off his first Overall Title in 2006 Keith teamed up with past coach Gary “Swampy” Bouchard to train for the Word Championship in Otaki, New Zealand.  With an incredible trick routine put together by coach Swampy, Keith was the first skier to trick over 12,000 points in history.  Keith won Gold in Slalom and Bronze in the trick finals.  Keith won his first medal (Silver) in the jump event and won the Overall Title for the second time.

Keith St. Onge winning his 2nd Overall World Title with L-R, Team Coach Lee Stone, KSO with close friends Adin Daneker & Ryan Boyd

2010 World Championship:

Brandenbourg, Germany was the location of the 2010 Worlds.  Keith and David Small merged their barefoot water ski schools to create the World Barefoot Center.  They trained with each other under the wing of Coach Swampy and began skiing as friends but still harsh competitors at the tournaments.  Keith took Gold in Slalom and Tricks while David Small took Gold in Jump and Overall.  It was a clean sweep for the new business partners and a big win for the business.  Keith was a member of the winning USA World Team that earned a Gold in the Team Overall.

2012 World Championship:

Waco, Texas hosted the 2012 World tournament and it was another show down.  Keith won the Gold in Slalom and Tricks while David Small won the Gold in Jump and Overall.   Keith also won the Silver medal in the Overall title.  Keith was a member of the USA World Team that earned a Silver in the Team Overall.  This was the first time in twenty six years team USA did not win the Gold Team Overall.

2014 World Championship:

The worlds were held in Mulwala, Australia for a second time.  David Small put a personal best slalom score of 19.8 on the board in the 1st round.  Keith skied next and also put a personal best score on the board of 21.1.  The next event was jumping while Keith put a 25.4m jump up his first round David Small came back with a 26.5m jump putting them dead even for the Overall going into the tricks event.  David put a near perfect run together matching his world record of 12,150 points.  Keith bobbled on his first trick while the rest of his run quickly disintegrated.  He fell early in his second pass and posted low score up.  It was to low to make the semi-final round, which meant he would no longer be able to fight for an Overall medal.  The only thing he could do was focus on winning the gold in slalom and try to medal in the jump event.  Jump is Keith’s weak event but he had put many training hours into this event over the past few years.

Keith won the slalom event and jumped a personal best distance of 26.6m/87.3ft to put the pressure on world jump record holder David Small.  David fell short on his last jump giving Keith his first World Championship Jump Title and 13th career World Championship Gold Medal.  David Small won the trick and overall while Keith won Slalom and Jump.  This meant a clean sweep for business partners David Small and Keith St. Onge as well as for the World Barefoot Center Ski School.

Winning this jump title made Keith St.Onge 1 of 4 men to have ever won all three events at a World Championship. Others being, Brett Wing, Mike Seipel & Ron Scarpa.

2014 Jump Finals: 1st Keith St. Onge, 2nd David Small, 3rd Ben Groen. A World Barefoot Center sweep

2016 World Championship:

The Blue Moo in Alma Center, Wisconsin will host the 2016 Worlds.

Barefoot International Booms

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Barefoot Int was the first company to manufacture and sell barefoot booms to the public.  A boom is a device that sticks out the side of the boat which is attached to a pylon or tower that enables any water discipline to be learned much easier and safer.

Barefoot International Boom off the boat

I learned how to step off a ski in 1988 holding onto a boom and if it wasn’t for that who knows how difficult it would have been to learn how to barefoot water ski.  Many people have learned how to get up on water skis, a wakeboard and on one ski while holding onto the boom.  Learning these manuveurs behind the boat can by tough for many people.  The boom is steady, rigid and allows the body weight of the individual to be less than trying it long line behind the boat.

The Tower Boom attaches to the side of the tower

This training aid or what is now called the boom was developed years before Mike Seipel began manufacturing it.  Some people used to build them out of two by fours, aluminum pipe and whatever they thought would be strong enough to attach to the boat and hold onto while skiing or barefooting.

Learning to slide before barefoot water skiing on the boom

Cypress Gardens was known for using their own homemade booms for photo shoots years ago.

WakeBoarding on the boom

Here’s a video of Keith St.Onge showing what a boom is and the features that come with it.

Barefoot Boom Video

How Keith St. Onge Started Barefooting

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

I was born in Nashua, New Hampshire on December 31, 1977.  ” “You were a tax write off for your parents!”  most people would comment and I would jokingly agree. At the age of eight, my family moved three hours north to Berlin because my father took a job transfer.  Little did I know, it would change my life forever.  My grandfather on my mother’s side (Don Bouchard) owned a small cabin with his two brothers.  My sister Kendra and I looked forward to going to the cabin every weekend during our short summer.

Everyone in our large, extended family water skied and we were often on the water.  My second cousin, Gary “Swampy” Bouchard organized a small water ski show club with several family members and friends.  They put on one show per year.

Aunt Shirley and Uncle Clem brought me out in their small fishing boat and taught me how to water ski.  It took several tries before the 35-horsepower boat pulled me out of the water. Luckily, my Aunt Shirley caught the memory as I stood up on skis for the first time.

Keith St.Onge Water Skiing for the 1st time

At the time, barefoot water skiing was the next best thing in water sports.  Swampy fell in love with the sport and ordered  a book, “Barefooting,” written by John Gillette.  Swampy read through the pages, put on a thin wetsuit with a life jacket and began attempting this crazy sport.  He was the first on our lake to complete a deep water start in the water while riding on his buttocks.  After many sore muscles and bruises, Swampy decided to hire barefooting legend, Mike Seipel for one week.  Mike came to Lake Umbagog to teach everyone to barefoot ski and learn new tricks.    I stood in line waiting for his autograph, gazing at Mike in awe, as he was the World Barefoot Champion!

In line waiting for Mike Seipel's Autograph. L-R, Ryan Bouchard, Keith St.Onge & Tim Bouchard. Claude St.Onge in the background

When the fourth day rolled around, everyone was too sore and tired to complete day five.  “Are there other young kids that would like to attempt barefoot skiing?” Mike asked.  My cousins, Ryan, Tim and I were lead to the boat and away we went.  I was so nervous, I did not want to go first.  Ryan, being slightly older went first and barefoot skied for a short distance.  Timmy was two years younger than me, but had more experience as a skier so he went second.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  Tim got up on his feet a few times as well. Then it was my turn. I listened closely to Mike’s instructions.  I got up on one ski, stuck my foot into the water and stepped off the ski. I barefooted away with ease.  “Wow, this is cool” I thought to myself.  I repeated it a second time and then a third.

From that day, I was hooked on the sport.

Mike, unfortunately, was not able to cure Swampy of his knock-kneed barefooting.

Rare photo of Swampy barefooting

By: Keith St. Onge