Posts Tagged ‘shoe skis’

Tennessee clinic w/ Don Simon & Crew

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Passionate is the word that describes Don Simon and his love for the sport of barefoot water skiing!  At 72 years young he organized this clinic not for his own personal needs but simply to get more footers involved in the sport.  Ok, he may be looking for a few new recruits in case he needs a driver from time to time. haha  All kidding aside, Don holds a barefoot water ski clinic on the Emry River in hopes to get new people involved.  He doesn’t even want instruction for himself.  He says, “Keith, you can’t teach me anything new, I know it all already!” as he laughs!  Don helps drive the boat, motivates others and listens to some “New School” technique so he can help his fellow footers when he can.

Don Simon having fun on his feet!

He even does a 1 ft. at the mature age of 72!!

There are so many lakes and rivers in the Knoxville area it provides a breading ground for local footers.  Many boat manufacturers have also been in the area for years like MasterCraft, Malibu and Supra just to mention a few.  I’d say this area is the boat manufacturer of the world.

Rusty

Chris, Rusty, Danny, Keith W.,Wade & Mike

My job is to make sure everyone walks away from the clinic with a new piece of knowledge.  As long as everyone learns a little something new and knows what not to do I think I’ve done my job.  First rule in the boat is “Have Fun” and that comes pretty easy if you’re in a boat foot’n all day!

Chris Ritchie doing one of his first one foots on his bare feet

Mike Bryant learning a one foot, one hand for the first time.

We used Don Simon’s sweet Super Scorpion Sanger with a custom Tower Extension that sat two feet taller than standard.  I liked foot’n on it!  My friend Danny came over from the Carolina’s and kept everyone laughing and motivated in the boat!  This man is a ball of energy and loves his chewing gum!  He chews gum until it dissolves, which he says last him five hours.  If he is still chewing it before he goes to bed he puts it in the refrigerator or on his night stand…he then throws it into his mouth in the morning and he’s good to go!

Don and Danny

Chris Ritchie first time up backwards!

Taylor was not used to skiing with the boom low but to learn front toe holds it's a must! He did his first one that day!

Thank you everyone that joined the clinic!  It was a blast.  Unfortunately the only picture I got of Jason was learning how to Hand Ski.  He did get up backwards on WBC Shoe Skis on his second set though and did a front toe hold on shoes.

Jason preparing to push up for hand skiing

By: Keith St.Onge

New and innovating teaching techniques used by the WBC…. HeadZone Helmets!!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Teaching how to stand on feet using the HeadZone Helmet and the swing

We all know that Barefoot Waterskiing is one of the most exciting and adrenaline filled sports out there but this also has its difficulties when learning.  When we get a lot of beginners skiing at the World Barefoot Center and a lot of the time they find it difficult to concentrate on what they have to do out on the water as they are so excited to stand up or have a sensory overload with being pulled across the surface of the water at speed :)

HeadZone Helmet allowing the student to relax in the butt ride position

What we used to have to do was to pick our battles and only give students one or two things to think about when they are out there…. this leaves a lot gaps which takes a lot of time to fill.  This problem was then solved when we started using HeadZone helmets. These are comfortable helmets with speakers in so that we, as instructors, can talk the skiers through every step when they come to it.

69 year old Judy Myers being taught how to get in to the backwards step position using the head zone helmet and WBC shoe skis

We can now talk to the student in the water before their next ski pass about what they are doing wrong and how they need to correct it in detail and then walk them through each step with the use of the HeadZone helmet.  This new and innovating teaching technique is allowing our students to relax on the water due to not having to worry about remembering what the instructor was talking about and learn at an accelerated rate with reduced falls.

We have been getting amazing results in the past couple of years from using these helmets and if you haven’t tried one yet then come on down to the school and see how fast you can progress with the help of the WBC and HeadZones.

Written by

David Small

Small’z

Winter Haven lock opens which gives the WBC 24 lakes to choose from…

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

The World Barefoot Center runs the biggest and best Barefoot Waterski school in the water ski capital of the world…… Winter Haven, Florida. The ski school primarily runs on Lake Conine, Rochelle, Smart and Haines but with Lane Bowers staying on the south lakes of Winter Haven and Paul MacDonald of Ron Scarpa Watersports going out of business this has opened up more lakes for us to use. The city of Winter Haven has 45 fresh water lakes with 24 of them connected together by canals for very easy access between the chain of lakes. As the WBC is located on the chain of lakes there is no trailer needed and we now have access to the full 24 lakes with the help of the new lock system that has been built.

Rocking up to the lock

Driving in to the lock

The lock filling up

Leaving the lock

This lock system has being in the plans for a while but now that it is completed we can simply drive the boats up to it, press a button and drive in, press another and one side closes, the lock fills up and we are through to the main chain. If the mood takes us we can even take a little trip through the lakes down to Lego Land and watch their ski show from the tire wall out on lake Eloise. Having all of these lakes at our disposal, together with the top 4 ranked skiers in the World working at the school, the best Barefoot boats, BI towers, fly highs and booms and a boat full of shoe skis and US gear handles and lines we are a force to be reckoned with.

Going through to some new lakes

Written by David Small

Small’z

Valerie Shinn is the “Most Improved Barefooter”

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Congrats to Valerie Shinn, who won the award for the “Most Improved Barefooter”  during the Women’s Barefoot Week at the World Barefoot Center.  The prize is sponsored by Vibram Five Fingers and includes a pair of barefoot shoes.

Valerie accomplished her first long line backward deep water start on WBC shoes:

Watch this young 61-year-old in action:

Barefoot Water Skiing in the sunny climates of the UK

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Ive come back to the sunny climates of the UK for a couple of weeks coaching and a week or so to see my family and friends. During my teaching we got some great new barefooters involved, with Bibbi Curtis learning how to foot and almost get up backwards, Josh Brown learning how to get up longline, do one foots and get up backwards, Dom learned how to stand up longline and do some one foots back there as well as getting up backwards and Harrison who also learned how to get up long line, do one foot and tumble turns! All new skiers and they all did a great job out on the water and im looking forward to seeing them all out at the World Barefoot Center this Winter!

The girls huddling to stay warm in-between sets

Ben Harris stretching out


Ted Baber and his Dad organized me coming over to the Cotswolds and we were using his boat most of the time. Ted has only been skiing for a couple of years and he is coming on leaps and bounds. In just this week he learned a toe up on the long line, greatly improved his slalom and managed to do all 4 of his surface turns on his feet!! Amazing job Ted and looking forward to getting you out stateside for the run up to Worlds next Summer!!

Ted putting a safe jump down on the long line

Ted Baber getting ready for a toe up


At the end of my time at the Cotswolds I had some old school UK team members come on down for a day of skiing. We had Ben and Matt Harris as well as Emily Goldie showing us how things are done out in the cold water and it was great to see them all back out there and having fun.

Adam Chaulk flying high

Matt Harris showing his son how to do it


Natasha giving it a go for her first time

Written by David Small

South Carolina Barefoot Clinic with David Small

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

I had a few days come open in my Summer schedule so I got in touch with Ron Meekes to see if he would want me to come back down to his place for a couple of days.  He asked around and filled the spots within the day so we booked the flight and headed on down.

A few of the crew plus a random guy from the bank that we picked up.... we made his year :)

Ron had the Southern regional championships down on Lake David in Groveland, FL the following weekend so we worked a lot on his trick runs.  His back toe holds on the long line got more efficient as well as figuring out how to make a flying back deep water start not any more complicated than a regular back deep.  He had been struggling with his backward wake crossings so we started out correcting his position on some cut out and then brought these techniques to the wake crossings.  After the second day he was keeping both feet up consistently the whole way down the passes!!!  On one morning we headed out and took ron over the ramp a few times to get him ready for the comp.  He figured out that he did not need to come in to the jump defensive and kick it as hard as possible but to stay on top of his feet (while in a safe position) and simply ride as much of the ramp as possible!

Ron Meekes, the clinic organizer, doing some back toe hold drills

Rons partner in crime, Becki Welsh skied up a storm.  She is an extremely clean skier so I was constantly trying to get her to ski a little bit ‘dirtier’ so that she did not take any unnecessary falls.  Becki managed to get both of her one foot stand ups on her feet as well as getting up backwards consistently!!  Way to go Beck!!

Becki Welsh and Jim Miller watching the other skiers and waiting for their set to come back around

Pat Vella is new to footing but got up on the 5 foot rope on his feet and managed to get his backwards plant on the WBC shoe skis, all in a day!!

Tom Gabey who used to be big in to barefooting until about 10 years ago came out of the woodwork and hit the water after a long stint of not skiing!  He could still go out there and rock out a lot of the tricks he was doing while he was skiing in Nationals etc etc.  He learned all of his stuff back in the day so his style was very ‘old school’.  He wanted to work on his turns and see if we could get them consistent.  He stepped through the spray on most of his turns as well as leading with his head and shoulders so we got him on one shoe ski so that he had no option but to be on the ‘correct’ pivot foot and in just doing this he cleaned up his turns and got him motivated to start skiing again.  Its amazing what happens when new teaching techniques are introduced making barefooting easier which, in turn makes the skier want to ski more 😉  Love it!  Good to see you back on the water Tom!

Chris Fousd also wanted to work on his turns and we also managed to get him to step over on his turns and keep his shoulders level.  I have never seen a guy love doing a backwards toe up as much as Chris does!!  His own little bit of freestyle J At every opportunity he flips over and stands up in his backwards toe hold!!  Very impressive!

Shauwn Sheely skied both days I was there and just wanted to work on his surface turns.  Lat time I was there I made him do 31 turns on his feet.  When I told him what he had to do he wasn’t overly enthusiastic but once he completed the turns he was ecstatic.  Anyway, Shauwn was getting his 4 turns behind the boat on his feet consistently after the couple of days and can now look forward to the joys of learning some multiple turns and expanding his trick run!!

Jim Miller up backwards

Jim also showing us what no man should do...... pee in his suit

Jim Millers ‘thing’ for a while has been getting up backwards.  He had a bit of a confidence issue to start with but after a few talks and progression on the backwards I saw a complete turn around in his attitude towards not only skiing but in himself as a person! He was going out there and believeing that he could get up and loan and behold he managed to get up on his feet backward on the 5 foot and backwards on the WBC shoe skis on the long line!!  Keep that attitude up Jim and stop peeing in your suit ;))

Last but not least we had a special visit from Don Simon.  Don is in his late 60s and still hitting the water hard.  It was a great privilege to see Don ski and do his front one foots, tumble turns and backwards with ease!!!  He is a great ambassador for the sport and is continuing to build the sport as best he can which is great to see!  Thank you Don!

Don Simon getting ready to ski

I had a great few days down there and had the best food!!  Ron and Becki are excellent hosts and its always a pleasure to head down there and see them!

This random guy watched us for a couple of hours on the bank so we picked him up so he could have an up close and personal look at footing.... he LOVED it!!

Written by David Small

David Small California Barefoot Water- ski clinic

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I arrived in to San Fransico on the Saturday where Mr Jerry Kanawyer himself picked me up .  What I had forgotten was that it was his birthday so he didn’t get a happy bday straight away from me so I apologize for that Jerry.  Jerry has been on the US barefoot Water ski team for years and has always been a great US team player!!  His nickname is Flipper which for those of you that don’t know where it came from….  He is one of only a few people in the World that do all 3 flips in their trick runs….. the wake to wake, wake, and regular flip!!  Rather him than me.

Jerry Kanawyer flipping

Jerry lives in Brentwood on one of the best ski lakes I have been to (it could be a couple hundred feet longer if you wanted to be REALLY picky).  It is died blue to stop the weeds growing in there which also makes the lake look like a swimming pool and with it been located in California it’s as warm as a bloody swimming pool as well…… perfect!!

Diablo Shores

Jerry got in to a car crash a few years ago and if he take a good hit he gets a head ache so he was skiing with a helmet on but when looking on the net we found something better…….. HAHAHAHA! You crack me up Jerry bird!!!

Jerry sporting his head gear

While I was there Jerry made great headway on his front and backwards one foot slalom as well as figuring out the line step position one foots and hops as well as working on breaking his old school bad habit of stepping through on his surface turns. Jerry is also in the process of learning invert jumping which he is doing great on and is always good fun to teach.

Jerry bringing the landing gear down after an inverted jump

Andy Conway was there for 4 days and work a lot of slalom and line step position one foots as well as trying to sort out his surface turns.

7 year old Jackson showing us all how its done

Early in the week we had a 7 year old boy called Jackson that had beaten leukemia and was out there barefooting on the short handle off the boom!! Talk about inspiring, this kid was amazing!!!

On the Wednesday we took a trip out to the Delta where we were met by Willy Farrel (aka, ‘One way Willy’) and his crew of Roy, Pepper Benz and his son…..   , Mark Hobsen, and Dave Naddy.

The Sacramento crew

We took Willys Malibu Response LX out on the 1000 miles of glass calm water (Delta) and hit it hard.  It was in the upper 90s that day and we stayed out on the glass from 830 in the morning until 7 at night without a brake as it was so good out there.  Roy, Mark and Dave worked on similar things with correcting their backwards barefooting position, back one foots and toe holds as well as getting in and out of the step position (the head zone helmets are a life saver when I comes to all of these things and makes it 100% easier for both the skier and instructor!).  Pepper worked on cleaning up his back to front and had never made a front to back so we concentrated on that and by the end of the day he was making a great front to back on the WBC shoe skis.

Dave Naddy showing us a great back toe hold

Loving the zinc action :)

Peppers son, Brady, who had never barefooted before or shown much interest, rocked it out and got out there on the handle and was showing the guys how easy it was to do some one foots.  He also got the award for the most improved skier of the way and went away with a new best hobby….. Way to go dude!!

Brady setting the bar for his elder brother

Adin Danneker, a WBC team member, rolled on up on the Thursday (he can travel around a lot as he only works a couple days a month and then sleeps a lot ….. hes a fire fighter).

It was all too much for Adin

Adin has been competing at a high level for a number of years and won medals at the last World Barefoot Championships as well as other top International events in the past.  It was a pleasure having him there with us for a few days and see his multiple turns get progressively better as well as making some huge progress in his slalom!

Roy Cotterill in a back one foot stance on the WBC shoes skis

Gregg Myer came and took a quick rip after a 6 year break from skiing and still went and did some back slalom.  He was up there on a magazine shoot for his one of a kind million dollar race car that was going up for auction the following month.

Meal time after a long day on the Delta

I took a few days and headed up to Sacramento to ski on another private lake (Twin Cities) and I got to see some more impressive skiing up there.  Mark Hodsen organized these few days and put on a great show.

Mark Hobsen looks just like Pitbull ;)

If it was a little chippy on the lake we headed to the infamous ‘lost slew’ on the Delta which was just behind the lake. Here we were greeted with a few straight glass stretches of around 3 miles a pop!!!! Mark made great progress with his backwards position as well as back one foots and figures out one foot slalom on his feet.  His wife also gave it a go and was a natural and got up first time on the boom and loved it!!  Mark also had his 11 year old niece, Mackenzie, give it a go and she got up on the 5 foot and was showing us some one foots.

11 year old Mackenzie after her ski

She went away loving barefooting and since getting the barefoot bug has been pestering Mark to get her back out on the water!! Great to see young kids, especially girls getting in to the sport! Joe Jacinto showed his face for a couple of days and learned some new slalom techniques as well as finding out that you don’t have to throw yourself in to a turn to make it around 😉 His wife, Dine, also gave barefooting a go and managed to get up on the handle on the shoe skis for the first time.

Pepper came back while I was up there with his older son, carter, as he had heard that his younger brother, who didn’t like barefooting before, was now footing and loving it.  He came to step up his game… nothing like sibling rivalry aye.  He had a great forwards position on his feet, great one foots and even started to try backwards.

Carter and I taking a ski on the Delta after a very productive day

I went and skied with the kids for a little rip at the end of the days they were there and it brought back great memories from when I was a kid learning to barefoot!  Any kid that tries this sport correctly with the right instruction and equipment and doesn’t love it must have something wired incorrectly 😉

Andy had to wear goggles due to his allergies which made it amusing to watch him ski and it was great to watch an ‘old school’ footer go out there and have fun doing some freestyle!!  We worked on some turns and slalom and then some side slides and general goofing around stuff… good fun.

Andy and his goggles ;)

I had a great couple of weeks in Cali and I am looking forward to going back out there later on this Summer!!

Huge thanks for everyone that skied and to Jerry Kanawyer who brought me out there and put me up as well as Willy for the day skiing and Mark for bringing me up to Sac for those fun few days!!!

By David Small AKA Small’z. lol

David Small clinic at the Barefoot Ski Ranch in Waco, Texas.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

My second stop on my Summer clinics was at the Barefoot Ski Ranch in Waco, Texas.  Stuart Parsons had arranged for me to come up to his site for a week however the place is such a great ski site and the guys were learning a lot so I stayed an extra week. For those of you who are not up to date with the 3 event Barefoot calender this is the site that the next 2 Nationals are going to be held and where the 2012 world championships are going to be hosted.  It is probably one of the best ski sites I have ever been to… and I have been to a lot of sites all around the world!! There are 2 main ski lakes with one at 3700 feet long and the second is 2600 ( and waiting for some rain to come and fill it up).

Royal Tee, Haden and David Small after a great day on the water

3700 feet of glass!!

3700 feet of glass!!!

2nd lake waiting for some rain

Stuart has also dug out a straight line cable lake which comes off the main lake and there was talk of him putting some kickers in there as well as a barefoot ramp at the end where you can jump and land in to a foam pit….. very cool.  On top of all this there is a 4th lake back in the woods which may be turned in to a cable park by the time Worlds comes around!  The main lake has a dye in it which makes it look like a swimming pool and deer come down to the waters edge to cool off orr take a drink while you are sitting in the water waiting for the boat to return…… Did I mention that this place is amazing?! Lol.

Deer drinking from the lake and checking out the footing

The clinic was a great success were we had complete beginners like 7 year old Haden Parsons doing one foots in the swing all the way to Royal Tee Wiseman completing 100 turns in a set with only 3 falls as well as amazing me with his jumping!

Haden doing his one foots

Royal Tee half way through his 100 turn challenge :)

Royal Tee after completing his 100 turn challenge! woopwoop

Stuart Parsons along with Lee Stone, Blake and Landen Ehler were all working on their jumping techniques and progressing comfortably in to the inverted jumping technique.  Its great to see more and more people pushing themselves to try this exciting and crowed pleasing jumping technique!  If you have the right instruction from the very start so that no bad habits creep in it can be as straightforward as learning the ‘traditional’ style.

Stuart Parsons invert jumping

We had a couple of girls out there barefooting with us as well.  Landen brought his girlfriend, Elizabth, to try skiing and she was a great listener!!  She managed to get out there on her bare feet and ski down the lake in just a couple of short passes with the aid of the headzone headsets that I was using.

Kim Taylor showing us lads how its done

Landen showing us his sliding skills

Kim Taylor also came and tore it up and learned how to get up backwards and ski in a perfect backwards position! Aaron York, part owner of the BSR, came and did a fair bit of skiing as well which was good to see him back on the water and he figured out a lot with his turns and his slalom as well as dabbling with a little jumping.  A nice surprise was getting to ski with David Howze who is down working for Stuart in his Summer break from ATM (lol).  This kid (21) had only skied a few times before the 2 week clinic and he came away with doing front one foot wakes on his feet, toe holds long line, backwards long line, back toe holds on shoes and much more so congrats to David for skiing up a storm!

David Howze showing off his skills

Devils cove for memorial day

For memorial day we took a day off and headed in to Devils cove over in Austin. We took Royals Sanger over and hung out with 1000s more people that were there to relax and have a good time. Charlie, my 6 pound toy poodle came with me on this trip as well and loved having 350 Acers of tall grass to play around in and side walks to go running down and paying fetch in so thanks to Stuart for allowing me to bring the little guy!

Charlie after a long game of fetch

I had a blast, got some great ski time there and I am looking forward to going back again before Nationals!

Barefooting Across America Tour Stop #2

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Anytime Fitness National Barefoot Tour Stop #2 is complete! Yet again another wonderful clinic a great set up by Don Simon in Harriman, TN. Footers from all over the United States came to ski at this barefoot clinic.

Ski partners Pete Whitcomb and Chris Ritchie show up for a day on the Emry River and walk away with many new techniques!  Enough information for them to “Chew On” for the rest of the summer.  Our friend Danny Richardson used that tag line at least 30 times per day and I even began to say it over and over!  It’s funny how some people can rub off on you after hanging out for several days in a row.  Pete brought his converse shoes because he was having a hard time standing up. I was confident that he would not need them so we kept those on shore.  I explained a few things to him, got him directly on the boom and he instantly had success!  He then went to the five foot and got up without a problem.  His goal was to stand up behind the boat for the first time on his feet and I made sure we took our time before getting there.  Of course, he had instant success on his first try.  We had to give most of the credit to HeadZone Helmets for the great communication they provide!  Congrats Pete!

All the way from McCordsville, IN Paul Miller. Energetic to say the least, Paul found us on Facebook and noticed we were going to be in Tennessee.  Since he is in sales and TN was part of his territory he decided to take a business trip…wink, wink!  Paul was full of positive energy and successfully completed both toeholds on shoe skis behind the boat.  He also did a toehold on his feet off the five-foot extension.  He also cleaned up his backwards stance at 30mph, which is always a big challenge!

Chris, on-air Personality of the Year – medium market otherwise known as “Chris & Andy” on Country Radio station WVIK-FM came out for the day.  He worked on his one foots and got up backwards six plus times on the shoe skis for the second time ever!  If it is someone’s first few times getting up I tell them to simply get miles under their feet or shoes.  The more miles you can put on the more you can work on positioning and confidence.
Don Simon a young mature man of 73 is still like a kid on the water, he simply loves it. Over the years Don has been doing all that the can to grow the sport of barefoot waterskiing. All that are involved have a great appreciation for Don and his works. Anyone in Tennessee that wants to learn or just ski with some good people, let us know and we will put you in contact with Don.

Here is an article about Don and his knee surgery:  Don Simon, Extreme Sport Enthusiast

A local ski partner of Don Simon’s is young footer Todd Fipps. Todd was intoduced to the sport of barefooting and he is 100% focused on succeeding in 3-event barefooting. Todd is quickly working his way up the ranks. Keep an eye out for this up and comer.

Our most enthusiastic student was Danny Richards from Kernsersville, North Carolina. If you live in the area please let us know, Danny is looking for some barefooters to ski with, he is willing to teach. Danny has a love for the sport like no other, his excitement overflows and makes everyone laugh and feel encouraged. Listening closely to every detail paid off, look what Danny has been working on this week.

The man that has a love/hate relationship with shoe skis :) — Drew Stutphen from Almin, Ohio.  Drew had an uneasy feeling about using shoe skis the first morning, and absolutely did not want anything to do with reverse foot. Keith knew what Drew needed to work on to become a better skier– and reluctantly, Drew followed instruction. By the afternoon set, Drew came to an understanding with what Keith was teaching him and when he was done, he had already ordered a pair of WBC shoe skis from the WorldBarefootCenter. We wish Drew the best this summer and look forward to seeing his progress.

Dr. Jim Murakami also from Amlin, Ohio made the trip down to barefoot with Keith St. Onge.  Jim had great questions and learned tons while at the clinic. Jim and Drew are ski partners and they have plenty to work on this summer. This early in the season clinic will give their skiing a boost for the summer.

How to Become the Best Barefooter on Your Lake

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

First, you need to get kitted out in all the right gear– a wetsuit and padded shorts are a good place to start. KSO wetsuits and shorts are as good as they get.  As an added bonus, they have built in tumble turns!

Next are your handles and lines. US Gear handles are great with a soft grip and rounded corners for extra
comfort and they also look real cool as well. A KSO pro fusion line is the next step for absolute no line-stretch skiing. Lastlydon’t forget a pair of KSO shoe skis-the most comfortable and durable on the market. But most important of all
is to start with the correct help and training. Before you take to the water, call the World Barefoot Center and get some advice and book some training from the World Champions, Keith St. Onge and David Small.

Then comes the easy bit:  train for about ten hours a week on the water and go to the gym every other day for the next three years, and you will be the best barefooter on your lake.

Unless of course your lake happens to be Lake Conine.

Written by Adam Chalk