Posts Tagged ‘skiing’

Braving the cold – Sam Meredith

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Sam cold skiingLiving in Britain, a big obstacle to overcome is the cold weather. In the winter months if you are diehard about the sport and want to progress, skiing in cold weather is necessary. Skiing during the winter months in Britain where the temperatures rarely break 40 degrees, preparation must be taken to keep warm. Quite often cooler weather is associated with rough water conditions but I find most winter mornings you can find flat water without too much of a struggle.

Warming up is very important ensuring you get good blood flow to your muscles prior to your ski set. I would recommend wearing your barefoot suit or padded shorts under a dry suit in low temperatures. Ensure the zip is completely sealed before getting in the water. Skiing in the dry suit is slightly restrictive compared to skiing in just a barefoot suit and can feel quite uncomfortable but you get used to it. The neck and under arms are the two main areas for heat loss. In icy conditions I usually wear a head band as the wind chill on your forehead creates a stinging pain. To avoid getting a chill before skiing put the dry/wetsuit on in a warm building or car, this will prevent the period of near nakedness in the cool breeze while putting the suit on at the dock. If there is a group of us skiing normally two of us ski back to back sets whilst the other skiers wait in the warm.

Whilst on the water you will find that the cooler weather makes you a little less flexible and more difficult to bend your knees, you must concentrate and make an extra effort to complete things correctly. You will also find your reactions are slower because of the stiffness in your muscles, considering this you must anticipate the slower reactions and avoid problems with increased concentration. When you come in from skiing ensure there are facilities for a hot shower or bath to warm your body up quickly and effectively ready for your next set, if you’re using a wet suit leave the wetsuit on there’s nothing worse than putting on a cold wetsuit.

Ted Baber: Training at Keuka Lake

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Flying high during a training set

There was a training week held at Keuka lake, Fairford on the last week of July this year. It was put together by Jem Drew and Paul Turner, with help from Nick Lodge. It was a chance to bring the skiers closer together, and all throughout the week, there was a positive atmosphere. We spent 5 days training and working on different aspects everyday, based on what Paul saw individuals needed to work on, as well as overall new tricks. Charlie Long, Ben Edwards, Nick Lodge, Tom Heaps and Bibby Curtis spent the week camping down the lake. With the weather not holding up all week, it was a challenging to be there training, despite spending time during the rain hiding in the boat under the trees, we still managed to take advantage of the glass water. It was a great week, full of skiing, and being able to build up stronger friendships between the skiers.

By: Ted Baber

Alex Youngblood: My First Worlds

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

My first World Championships wasn’t what I expected. Not in a bad way, but in a good way. There was a lot of people that I didn’t know. But let’s remind ourselves that this was when I was 10 years old. However, this meant that I got to meet a lot of new people.

The Worlds was held at an awesome site with awesome water and my best friend was there too. Which made it really fun. The biggest difference was the age divisions, which meant I had to compete with girls that were up to 17 year olds! I thought that this was really weird at the time, but as I got older I saw why. Also, when I was on the start dock, some of the girls were starting off like a 10 foot platform. My dad explained to me that it was for extra points. It was still pretty strange though.

Before I knew it, it was my turn to ski. My PB at the time in tricks was 700 pts. My goal by the end of the ski year was to get 900 pts. Slalom wasn’t that big for me at the time.

I started with a front flyer to 2. I nailed that! Once I had gotten up, I did all my tricks. At the end of the first pass, I asked what was the last trick in time. He said “your reverse one foot”. That was my last trick, I was so happy! I then did my second run and at the end, I butt slid to the shore. I got up and hugged my dad. He said I got every trick in time. My trick run come out to 910 points! My dad and I were extremely happy. So that was my first worlds, it went really well!

– Alex Youngblood

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

How to Barefoot Backwards (Back Deep Water Start)

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Glen Plake, Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

Hook Ankle Under Rope

So you’re ready to start learning how to barefoot backwards?   Before you start, here a quick few pointers that will make things go a little smoother and keep the “nasal water logging” to a minimum. (And there’s always nose tape for that!)

To get up backwards we are going to stick to three simple steps:

-Planing on your belly and riding the plant.

-Transitioning from the plant to backwards barefooting position.

-Position while skiing backwards.

1.  PLANING ON YOUR BELLY AND RIDING THE PLANT

Roll Over Onto Belly

Float on your back, place the handle between legs and reach behind and grab it with both hands, hook one of your ankles under the rope

Time to take a deep breath and roll over, making sure you keep your body, arms, and legs straight. You will only be unable to breathe for maybe a second.  The driver should now pull you out of the water at a nice SLOW speed (too fast and you begin to porpoise and bounce). The water line should be breaking right around your knees.  10-12 mph will be your speed.

Now in this position you should easily be able to plane on your belly – making sure you are pushing your chest towards the water (this will create an air pocket and you will be able to breathe), and staying stiff like a board. This will not only allow you to breathe but it will also keep you from

Stay Stiff As A Board

bouncing and you will be in much more control. Once you are comfortable with this position, very slowly take your feet off the rope, and before being able to plant you will need to make sure you flex your feet.

This means pulling your toes back towards your ankles (it is very important not to point your toes otherwise they will go straight through). Turn outwards to a 45 degree angle and slowly place them onto the water, a little wider then hips width (an exercise to do to practice gliding on your feet would be to do one foot at a time with one foot staying hooked on the line and getting the feeling of the water coming off your feet – once you have them in the right position the water should flex the feet automatically for you, you shouldn’t push against the water or curl your toes down Once you are comfortable with one foot, put it back on the rope and repeat with the other.)

Take Feet Off Of The Rope

While doing this, the rest of your body should be fairly relaxed.  Once you are comfortable enough to plant with both feet you should be able to ride this position comfortably for 30 seconds. If you can’t do this because you are out of control, it can mean you’re not allowing the water to flex your feet, which means you will be gas pedaling (pointing toes or gripping). Remember-at no POINT should you ever pull in on your arms. You should still be remained with your chest pushed into the water.

Once you can glide with your feet on the water you are ready for the next step.

2. TRANSITIONING INTO A STANDING POSITION

Now that you can ride, on your chest, with your feet planted in the water,

Planting Feet

you will need to, what we call BREAK, which means pushing your chest and chin down while allowing your hips (butt) to push up towards the sky. This is very important factor. Imagine sticking your head between your legs so that you’re folding in half. While you break and you feel your upper body starting to lift you will need to make sure that you start to pull your legs closer so it makes it easier to stand (about shoulder width). Keep rotating your feet and knees inwards.

A key factor in the breaking point is to WAIT as long as you can and to allow the boat to do the work. AT NO POINT DURING THIS STAGE should you try to lift your upper body and/or head to try and stand. You MUST wait, wait, wait and then when you think you have waited long enough, wait some more. This is the part most people have trouble with.

Pushing Chin Down And Hips Up

Keep pushing your hips upwards as you rotate your feet inward (feet should be parallel to one another) until you feel the water on your chin. You will need to maintain bent knees and make sure you don’t come up too tall.

3. BACKWARDS BAREFOOTING POSITION

Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far, you’re now barefooting backwards!!! Now that you’re up and skiing however, you need to keep focused and make sure you are in a solid position. You want to be broken away at the hips, but still arching your back, and keeping your head up, your knees should be bent into athlete position, with your arms straight, and glued to your butt. (If the handle is away from your butt, you will be pulled out over the back much easier). If you are sliding around a lot, get off those toes and ski flat on your feet!! Using the whole surface of you

Breaking

foot (Water line should be up around your instep) will allow you to glide easily on the water, instead of sliding around or pushing water.  The driver should not exceed speeds over 28-32 mph depending on the size of the skier.   If the skier is having difficulty at this speed they do not have the correct position.  Any faster can result in a hard fall.

Driver Notes:

Boom height.

Higher booms will make it harder for the skier to slowly put their feet in the water and they might end up dumping them into the water, whereas if the boom isn’t high enough it will make it harder for the skier to get up. The boom should really sit around the skiers shoulder height when in

Backwards Position

the back barefoot position. (About 4-5 feet off the water)

Boat speeds.

– Planing stage: A nice SLOW (10-12 mph) speed-if bouncing occurs, you’re going too fast.

– Planting: Once you can see that the skier has got a firm even plant then it is time to bring the boat up to speed (this is a smooth, consistent, and gradual movement on the throttle.)

– Standing speed: This depends on the weight of the skier, but most people up to 200lbs will be able to backwards barefoot happily at no more than 32 mph.  More speed will only be applied after several miles have been occurred on their feet.  This means several sets and 20 days or more of skiing backwards.   Do not be in a hurry to do back one foots as this should be done on shoe skis first!

-Ending the pass: Unlike when your skier is going forwards, he/she can’t see when the end of the run is coming up!!! While this seems pretty straight forward, you’ll save a lot of last minute head smashers if you just ease off very gradually, letting the skier know the end is coming and giving them time to let go and lean away, instead of suddenly losing speed and going head over heels!!

–       Ashleigh Stebbeings, Australia


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WBC Head to Head Tournament!!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

There will be a LIVE VIDEO FEED on WORLDBAREFOOTCENTER.COM of the WBC Head-to-Head tournament being held at Lake David, Groveland, Florida on October 7th & 8th. The tournament starts at 7am eastern time on the 7th so make sure you jump on our website and check it out.

WBC Invitational Teaser 1

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

This is the WBC Invitational Official Teaser 1….. MORE TO COME!! Keep and eye out for them.

WBC INVITATIONAL OFFICIAL TEASER from WorldBarefootCenter on Vimeo.

St. Louis Figure Eight Champion Ron Blouw!

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Glen Meuller St. Louis Figure Eight hosted by the Barefoot Gang which includes Tim Konezter and Anthony Gramilino.

Setting up the tourney and getting ready for the skiers  hit the water.

Barefooters hit the water slapping fives and grrrring through the rollers!

Ron Blouw

Ready to compete

Footers!

Game On!

Figure Eights just wouldn’t be the same without men painting there toes.  They secretly like it:) Checkout these beauties!

Aren't those pretty?

Toes!

And the skiing and camaraderie goes on…..

Hot Feet!

Good Fun

Barefooters getting ready

Figure 8

Now for the awards!

Winners of the First Eight or Shortest 8?

Chris McWaters with the BEST FALL of the tourney!

KSO and Blouw hold the tourney Records 2 1/4 figure 8

Catlynn's First Figure Eight!

In 4th Place Keith St. Onge

4th Place! Keith St. Onge

In 3rd Place JJ Link

3rd Place! JJ Link

In 2nd Place Tim Hydro Konezter

Tim Konezter in 2nd Place! Also the annoucer:)

And for the  Glen Meuller St. Louis Figure Eight Champion Ron Blouw!

Ron Blouw

Rob Blouw takes 1st Place!

Barefooters get on the podium:

Tim, Ron, JJ

Congratulations to all the skiers we hope to see you at the next tourney!  Thank you to all the organizers and competitors we appreciate your hard works and support.

By Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman

Footin’ on a Piece of Heaven- St. Louis

Monday, August 8th, 2011

The wind was howling, leaves were blowing and yet and the quiver off the Mississippi River was GLASS calm all day long!  The water was a little high so we had to watch out for debris, other than that it was great skiing conditions. The day prior to the clinic the Anytime Fitness Tour Bus had some issues and needed a little bit of work done on it, so Lauren was not around to take pictures the first day:(  Here is our crew for the second day!

Mark got up for the first time backwards on shoe skis!  How sweet is that!  Then he took it one step further and easily did a backwards one foot. Great work!

Great backwards barefoot position

Back One Foot

 Mark’s son Nathan came out and did some footin’ too!  Before barefoot lessons with Keith St. Onge Nathan was tumbling up directly on the boom.  After a few goes look at Nathan go on the shortline! Way to go buddy!

Ready for a tumble up!

Nathan on the Shortline!

Kristin Smith learns a step off with ease! First on the boom then shortline and next step behind the boat on the longline.  Keep working it Kristin, we hope to see your name in the brackets on the WBC Figure Eight Championships in Winter Haven, FL.  Remember future Figure 8’ers…learn your one foots on the boom before you attempt kicking a ski!

One Foot!

Stepping OffOne Foot!

Caitlynn Smith is a natural barefooter.  Everything Caitlynn attempted she accomplished the first time!  Deepwater starts on the boom, shortline, and then longline.  Every time it was perfect and smooth.  Check her out on her first time behind the boat.  Three point to a great stand up!  

Front Deepwater Start

Barefooting Longline

 

Abby’s dad had his work cut out for him and learned a lot in one day!

 

Getting ready to stand up and Barefoot

Barefooting Longline

Abby learned how to barefoot water ski behind the boat in one day. 

Footing Longline

Barefooting behind the boat! Wooo Hoo!

 By Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman

KSO Barefooting with Blouw & Friends

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Ron Blouw a Footstock Figure Eight Champion, hired Keith St. Onge to give  some barefoot lessons on Lake Payne in Michigan. Two wonderful days  full of skiing and tons of fun! Check out the video that Ron Blouw put together:

Ron and Cheryl were great hosts! Thank you for all of your support!

Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman