Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

Will Leigh – Moving Lakeside

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Recently my family and I were fortunate enough to be able to move from my parent’s farm in the country side, into the house on our lake side farm. By doing this I am now able to be a day student at the school I attend, compared to being a border which only allowed me to come home on the weekends. This has given me the opportunity to ski before going to school in the morning. Being able to ski more has helped me so much with enhancing my skiing ability heading into the summer. A big thank you to mum and dad for making this decision.

By William Leigh


Duane Godfrey – New Zealand

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

When we exchange contact info at ski schools or competitions, pledging to meet again, I am very fortunate being able to travel and visit fellow skiers.

My recent trips to NZ were highlighted through spending time with Kathy and Roger Duxfield. These two are the ultimate hosts/tour guides and we had a wonderful time experiencing this beautiful country. Every day was a complete pleasure and full of two things I love – exercise and seeing new things.


On my first arrival in early Dec, I hiked for a few days then got hold of Kathy and met her and her son Jaydn at their ski lake – the Piarere Waterski Club. We both did a bit of skiing and earned my first NZ waterski federation badge. It is a very interesting site and we enjoyed just cruising around the Lake while Kathy gave us a guided tour of location and showed us around the club where they hold their tournaments.


Later in Jan after my daughter’s wedding in Tauranga, we drove down to Putaruru and spent a few days with Kathy and Roger. Roger is jack of all trades and master of all – has lived an exciting life and could keep us entertained with his ongoing adventures and misadventures through his travels and endeavors all around the world. Early the first morn we took in the twice daily milking of approx 250 cows while Roger explained all that goes into ensuring quality control through a computerized system – all brand new to this city slicker. We went into town that afternoon to drop off a couple bicycles for repair then walked around town while Kathy saw a chiropractor about her neck injury – pretty unfortunate and we will all hope she recovers soon.


Kathy and Roger were busy planning day trips and they almost got us way up island for some scuba diving. The tanks were sold out so we opted to stay down south for a hike along the Terawera trail with Kathy’s healthy and fit parents. The hike has you follow the river downstream and it literally disappears down a few holes; you can hear and feel it rumbling after it vanishes. About 1/2 Km later it reappears blasting out of a mountain face.


The water is a beautiful blue and forms quiet pools with a deceptively strong current in the middle. There I totally skinned my knuckle to the bone with an unsuccessful Tarzan rope entry into one of the pools. (This was preceded by bruised face and back from perfect 3/4 gainer and splendid 1 and 1/4 back flip layout from a cliff at Mclaren Falls…I defy anyone to duplicate this feat!)


On our last day, Kathy drove with us to the Waitomo caves and got us a great deal on a tour of the caves famous for the glowworms. We departed north bound in two vehicles and stopped in the visit Peter and Teresa Old who have turned a quarry into a world class ski lake. Again, typical NZ hospitality while enjoying the company and scenery from the deck of their lakehouse. Peter ran me down the lake a few times behind his Sanger with SFH.


To top off the trip I rocketed down his 100m waterslide, thinking as surfaced in the lake “gee the water is really itchy”!  That itch was two elbows totally skinned in my not have sense to keep my arms tucked in as I approached terminal velocity. A quick coating of polysporin and off we raced for AKL and the trip home. Numerous reapplications of polysporin over the next month gave a nice reminder of how much fun we had…and look forward to more, though forewarned of proper bobsled technique and maybe brushing up on vine swinging and the high divin’ act.


Twas a great trip. Many thanks to the Duxfields and this sport of barefoot skiing that attracts quality folk and creates friendship with like minded people from all over the world.

– By Duane Godfrey


Kailey Koehler: My First World Championship

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

One of my most memorable trips, and by far the most beautiful place in the world is New Zealand. I went to my first world competition in 2009 as an independent skier. I did not qualify to ski in the jump event, but I did ski in both the slalom and the trick event. My first worlds was a success. My goal was to beat myself, and that is exactly what I did. I got a PB in both events and I couldn’t have been any happier.

While practicing for the competition, Team USA got the honor of skiing on Lake Keelings. Although the name doesn’t sound familiar, almost everyone has seen this lake because it is where Lord of the Rings was filmed. Unfortunately, this lake had many good memories along with a few bad ones. One in particular was when I bit all the way through my bottom lip while doing a tumble turn to a one foot stand up. Although it didn’t hurt too bad, it looked really bad and it was embarrassing to meet people from all over the world at the opening ceremonies with a fat lip. The 2009 championship was an amazing first world competition and I cherish the good and bad memories forever.


Georgia Groen: The Turning Point, 2010 World Championship

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

In 2010, I attended my 2nd World Championships at 14 years old. These world championships were held in Germany and were a huge turning point for my future in the sport. The Germany Worlds was a really cool experience as it was made to be very spectator friendly so there was always something to do or watch. I remember the first week of training was just terrible. The Open men from the New Zealand team couldn’t even do a toe hold–the water was that rough.  They reverted to making the tow rope twice as long and did tumble turns in the middle of the wake. You can imagine how little 14 year me was thinking, if the best skiers in NZ were struggling with the basics how was I meant to? However the day the competition started, the water turned and I had good water the whole time.

This World Championship was the first time I got a world medal, I remember just before leaving New Zealand my parents and friends told me, “If you were to medal, tricks would be your best shot”. I ended up getting silver in Junior Girls slalom and Junior Girls Jump, First in Junior Girls Tricks, 3rd Overall in Junior Girls, and I helped the New Zealand Junior team receive a bronze medal for the first time in a long time. These results were way, way better than I thought I would go and it gave me the feeling of success.  This feeling was really the turning point for me in the sport. After the Worlds, I knew that I wanted to be the best and now I am ranked 2nd in the world!

Looking back its cool to see how far I have come since those Worlds and see how the hard work paid off.

By: Georgia Groen

Ben Groen – Featured in the Australian Waterski Magazine

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Ben Groen made the cover of the July/August 2013 Australian Waterski Magazine and he was also featured inside with a 6 page article. This article is a must read! It gives you a little insight into the World Barefoot Center, some of his biggest achievements and what he is aspiring to achieve in the future. (Click on each individual page to read).  To see more magazines Ben has been featured in, go to our website and click on the Pros Page.

Georgia Groen: My Barefoot Paradise

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

My barefoot paradise is the lake I live on, Lake Inspiration. Lake Inspiration is located in Otaki, which is about an hour out of New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. The lake is a privately owned lake shared between 7 owners. At the moment there are only 3 permanent residents living on the lake ( one of them being my cousins) so it means you can go skiing when ever you want without having to worry about other boats on the water sending rollers down your course. Lake inspiration is not a very big lake, it is about 750m long and 35m wide with a depth of 2m. It is a purposely built barefoot lake, made for straight runs and yet you can complete a 15 second run with no problem. The lake is surrounded by hills and trees so it is generally wind free, apart from the occasional southerly. The most common wind in Otaki, New Zealand is a westerly so the lake was built specifically angled so that type of wind would not affect it.

I have been living at Lake Inspiration for 5 years now and I love it. The lake sits about 20m away from my house so it is really easy for me to go skiing which is perfect. Lake inspiration is a beautiful place to ski, there are nice sanded beaches that prevent rollers and green grassy banks surrounding the lake which is great for spectators. Lake Inspiration has held a lot of tournaments over the past 6 years such as Wellington regionals, New Zealand nationals and even the world championships in 2009. It is a great place to ski and I am very grateful to live there.

It still looks nice in winter :)

Georgia Groen

Georgia Groen on the Water

Ricky Bruce: Living the Dream at the World Barefoot Center

Monday, May 27th, 2013

I am relatively new to the sport of Barefoot Water skiing. Around 2 years ago, I had my introduction to barefooting through my good friend and skiing buddy, Randal Meikle. A day out on the boom and I was hooked! I didn’t ski again untill later in the year and at best, it was the odd weekend here and there – pretty sporadic really.

I attended a clinic in NZ with Ben Groen of WBC in early 2012 when he was back home visiting family. Under Ben’s coaching, I managed to get up for the first time longline. It was exhilarating to be out behind the boat on nothing but my bare feet.

The following few weeks I went out every week and attended the annual “May Camp” held in New Zealand on Lake Karapiro. There, I met some great people involved in the local NZ barefoot scene and planned to get coaching from Rob Groen, visiting down at the lake in Otaki. After a couple of skiing weekends at the beautiful Lake Inspiration working on the basics, I mentioned to Rob I was planning at some stage to get over to the World Barefoot Center and ski a few weeks.Next thing I know I am forwarded an email. It was an opportunity to go to the WBC to help out for a year and ski. Needless to say, It didn’t take me long to decide this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Two short months later, I found myself on a plane headed to Florida.

First impressions of the school were: welcoming,friendly, well-run and disciplined. I knew I would have to step out of my comfort zone here, as I am naturally pretty shy by nature.

Twelve weeks down the track, I’ve had a few mishaps,a lot of mistakes, and also an injury, I’m still here and loving it! I have the privilege of being coached by the world’s best as well as seeing countless barefooters learn and train here at the WBC on pretty much a daily basis.The experience of observing others learn is pretty awesome and has been incredibly valuable to my own skiing and development. Add to those aspects the chance to meet so many of the global barefoot family, and watch the sport grow as more and more get involved. I’m looking forward to meeting a lot more of you footers as you come to the WBC coaching school in 2013.

There you have it…opportunity and privilege. I am Ricky Bruce from New Zealand and I am living the dream!


Georgia Groen: My Favorite Barefoot Trick

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

I learnt my first ever front to back when I was 13 years old. I liked the front-to-back because it was the start of a whole new range of tricks, such as multiples and one foot turns.

It took me a long time to make my first front-to-back, but I remember it very vividly. One day I was skiing with my brother,Tyler and practicing the trick.  I was taking a lot of falls, but it was about my 7th try when I actually made it. It wasn’t the prettiest turn, but I still did it and from that day on, the trick became natural.

To me, accomplishing my first ever front-to-back was a huge milestone in my barefooting career. It lead me to getting high scores and world records. The key to a front-to-back is confidence; once you believe in yourself–believe that you can do them– they become simple.  I hope everyone enjoys the front to back as much as me. =)

Georgia Groen

Barefoot Jumping at Night

Monday, February 4th, 2013
One of the most memorable events I have done would have to be my first ever night jump event. The event was a last minute event that my brothers Ryan and Mitch decided to put together at the 2012 New Zealand National championships, where any level jumper could compete. When the boys were going around asking people if they wanted to compete I was very skeptical on whether or not I wanted to do it. I remember watching night jump at the 2010 world championships in Germany, it looked awesome! However I decided to give it a shot, so I said yes.
I was getting really excited prior the event, we decided to go do to the local store and buy some glow sticks to decorate our helmets. They ended up looking really cool and I was feeling really good. Then It got really dark outside and the light that my brothers hired didn’t look very bright. I was low key freaking out; what if I couldn’t see the ramp? How ever after Sarah Linton went, she informed me that it was fine and it was heaps of fun. I started to relax again and enjoy the atmosphere. Night jump is the coolest thing to watch, all you can see before the ramp is pattern of glow sticks on the skiers helmets, then out of the darkness the skier is off the ramp and in the air. Every time a skier went over the jump we had fireworks that went off at almost perfect timing.

Soon It was my turn. I remember the deep water start, I couldn’t see the boat wash at all– it was that dark! So I had to feel my way out to stand up. All I could see was a bright white ramp, and it came towards me very quickly. As soon as I landed I felt an adrenaline rush, and just wanted to do it again and again, however unfortunately we only got two jumps. From that day, night jump has been one of my most enjoyable and exciting events to do.

Georgia Groen

Georgia Groen, Featured Footer

My journey back to Kiwi-Land!!!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

As most of you know, this January I returned to my homeland, New Zealand, for a quick vacation to catch up with family and friends (and a little bit of skiing). After 14 months in the United States, I was shocked at how climatized I had become to the American (and by American I mean mainly “Southern”) culture, without even realizing it. Small things that had once seemed bizarre to me, things like tax not being included in the price displayed, the average vehicle being the size of a small elephant, Police with guns (Not allowed in NZ!!!), and 400lb people wedging themselves into little carts to buzz around Walmart, had become a usual sight for me, and the change when I got home was unreal!!

Walking through the shopping mall when I was home, I was suddenly immersed back into familiar slang, food, and fashion. I know it sounds silly but it really is that obvious! People walking past in Stubbies, a singlet, and jandals (Roughly translated, that would be short, thigh length shorts used for playing rugby, a beater/tank top, and flip flops), or all the cafes, wedged between every second or third shop, with folks sitting outside stopping for a quick coffee and “sammy” (Sandwich) on their lunch break.

Walking through Wellington city in the late afternoon/evening it was just nice to see people finishing their days at work or Uni (college) sitting down in parks, or big open areas of grass, just unwinding. A group of young guys throwing a rugby ball or Frisbee around, or a few stranglers with their noses in books, or some people just there to people watch, as everyone made their commute home, either by foot, or what seemed like the second most popular mode of transport – skateboard. I guess the only place I’ve really seen with a similar culture like this in my time in the States would be San Fran.

Anyway, that’s enough about culture. I was only home a matter of hours before I was reminded as to what made Florida so appealing. The infamous Wellington winds started gusting up, turning our lake into something similar to the ocean, with the temperature being cold enough for a Floridian local to dress in snow gear. In actual fact, it was still around 60-65 degrees – but that’s cold enough!!! Luckily the winds gave up and we were granted beautiful water, sadly the not-so-warmness hung around. One big thing about New Zealand that you have to be really careful about, apart from speed cameras, is the sun. There is a big hole in the ozone above New Zealand, and it makes a big difference!! In Florida you can happily sit out in the sun for 3 hours – unless your last name is Small or St. Onge -and you may get a little pink, but you won’t notice it too much. In New Zealand however, if you don’t slop that sunscreen on, those 3 hours will nuke you!! I made that mistake the second day I was back, falling asleep in the warm sun for only two hours in nothing but shorts, and after my entire body shedding a layer or so of skin, six weeks later, and I am still rocking distinctive tan lines halfway up my legs!!

As far as the quality of skiing goes in New Zealand, I will admit we are a little behind the times, with anyone who can do a Front to Back automatically advancing to being one of the best trickers in the country. And with fairness – that front to back is a sucker to learn!!! But these days, we’re starting to catch up with the rest of the world, with more kiwis travelling out to Florida to ski with us at the World Barefoot Center and taking what they learn home, modern coaching techniques have been introduced and its great to see a group of young kids coming up, learning the correct way. What was once just another ski school, the name barely memorable only a couple of years ago, has now become an icon for barefooting back in New Zealand, helped greatly with today’s social media, and more importantly, the results of the skiers that come back after weeks/months of training at the school!!!

So, even though there are some major differences dividing these two countries from one another, there is also one big similarity – the passion for barefoot water skiing, and the huge sense of family you get from anyone else involved in this great sport, no matter where you are on the planet. The greatest thing I think I noticed while in New Zealand was the general level of skiing, as us kiwis move into the modern era of footing, all thanks to what’s been going on here at the school. As far as myself goes, the journey I have taken personally here at the ski school has been a life changing one, with life-lasting friendships being formed, finding a second family, a second home, and a whole new platform for my skiing.

And as much as I have loved every minute of this trip….it’s always nice to go home :)

– Ben Groen, New Zealand