Posts Tagged ‘sponsored skier’

James Callahan: Sailing Trip 2015

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

I recently got back from a sailing trip to the Bahamas. We sailed around the Abaco Islands, which are absolutely jaw dropping beautiful. In my opinion our family did pretty good at sailing, I mean we went 7.7 knots (8.86 miles per hour). One thing that really surprised me was how the beaches were completely vacant.  I’m not complaining but the whole beautiful beach was to yourself.  It was a little weird.

Also the snorkeling there was amazing, you can already see straight down to the sand in 15 feet of water.  You can see but with goggles on its like you can’t tell the difference between normally seeing and under water.

The Bahamians are spectacular people there always willing to help and start a conversation with you. Even though they’re hard to understand sometimes because they talk so fast. The food in the Bahamas was remarkable. The fish, and conch was the best. We went to this spot called Two Shorty’s in New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay and they had the best fried conch. After like ten minutes since we ordered we could here her making a cracking noise in the back, at first we were wondering what it was but then we realized that is was the conch she was hand pounding to tenderize it. It was mind blowing it tastes so good let alone the sauce.

We sailed to an island where there are wild pigs that you can feed so we did. After we gave them all of our food that we brought with us we went snorkeling around the island it wasn’t very good so we walked back to our dingy and guess who we saw. Bradley Cooper, Bradley Cooper was the actor in Hang Over and American Sniper. Yeah it was just our family and Bradley Cooper on a beach Even though it was so much fun it took a few days to get used to sleeping on the sailboat. It was a little hard but I think I had the best bed in the boat. It was a couch/table eating area so we just lowered the table and put cushions over it and there I slept. The best part about it though was the breeze that came through the top window, it deflected a lot wind right at me and it was nice on the hot days. Another thing I had to get used to was the waves rocking you back and forth.

-Sleeping on sailboat

-visiting pigs on No Name Cay and Bradley Cooper


Kenneth Eissler – Live Interview

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Last weekend was very special to me because I was invited to a German TV show. It took place at a big festival and was broadcasted live on TV. I arrived early at the place and was already excited, there was a big stage and many people running around and working to make this big show happen. After the first trial I became less nervous and really enjoyed answering the question about barefoot waterskiing and explained why this sport is so special to me.


Finally at 8pm the show started with a few famous German singers and interviews of other young sportsmen. It was such a great feeling to sit in front of thousand people talking about my big passion: jumping! I really relaxed myself and just enjoyed the interview. This was such a great experience and hopefully it wasn’t the last interview on TV for this year.


by Kenneth Eissler

Carol Jackson – Other Sports That Complement Barefooting

Sunday, November 15th, 2015


Barefoot Water skiers as athletes must maintain a level of strength to ski and prevent injury. Working the upper body, core and lower body is essential. Balance can be improved being involved in other complementary sports.

Some sports you might try are as follows:

  • Rollerblading
  • Indo Board
  • Horse Back Riding
  • Bicycling
  • Tennis
  • Slalom (3 event)
  • Wake boarding
  • Trick skiing

It is always good to cross train between sports particularly in the off season.

– by Carol Jackson


Thursday, October 29th, 2015


Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. It doesn’t have to be difficult either. Eat the right amount of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight. It is recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should have around 2,000 calories a day (8,400 kilojoules). Most adults are eating more calories than they need, and should eat fewer calories.  Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.


Starchy foods should make up around one third of the foods you eat, potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread. Most of us should eat more starchy foods: try to include at least one starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram the carbohydrate they contain provides fewer than half the calories of fat.

It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of fruit and veg. It’s easier than it sounds. A glass of unsweetened 100% fruit juice (150ml) can count as one portion, and vegetables cooked into dishes also count. I try to mount my plate with lean meat and fill up on green vegetables not too many root vegetables if you want to lean up.


Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least 2 portions of fish a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish contains omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease. You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned: but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards. Non-oily fish include haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tinned tuna, skate and hake. If you regularly eat a lot of fish, try to choose as wide a variety as possible. We all need some fat in our diet. But it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we’re eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease. Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as hard cheese, cakes, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard and pies. Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake, and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados. For a healthier choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. When you’re having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.

fresh salmon steak on white background

Sugary foods and drinks, including alcoholic drinks, are often high in energy (measured in kilojoules or calories), and if eaten too often, can contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals. Cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, alcoholic drinks, sugary breakfast cereals, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on, rather than sugars that are found in things such as fruit and milk.


Food labels can help: use them to check how much sugar foods contain. More than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g means that the food is high in sugar, while 5g of total sugars or less per 100g means that the food is low in sugar. Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt. Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt a day. Younger children should have even less. Eat less salt, eating excessive amounts of salt has been proven to increase the risk of heart disease.


Eating a healthy, balanced diet plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy weight, which is an important part of overall good health. Being overweight or obese can lead to health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.  Most adults need to lose, and need to eat fewer calories to do this. If you’re trying to lose weight, aim to eat less and be more active. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help: aim to cut down on foods that are high in fat and sugar, and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Don’t forget that alcohol is also high in calories, so cutting down can help you to control your weight.


Physical activity can help you to maintain weight loss or be a healthy weight. Being active doesn’t have to mean hours at the gym: you can find ways to fit more activity into your daily life. For example, try getting off the bus one stop early on the way home from work, and walking. Being physically active may help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.  After getting active, remember not to reward yourself with a treat that is high in energy. If you feel hungry after activity, choose foods or drinks that are lower in calories, but still filling.


We need to drink about 2 litres to stop us getting dehydrated. This is in addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water and lower-fat milk are healthier choices. Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars and calories, and are also bad for teeth. Even unsweetened fruit juice is sugary, so try to limit how much you drink to no more than one glass (about 150ml) of fruit juice each day.


Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. A whole grain cereal with fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and nutritious breakfast. Eating healthy makes you feel a lot better in yourself and can make you train harder and give you increased mental focus which is a key factor for barefoot skiing.


– Sam Meredith

Brice Storman – The First Time

Friday, April 10th, 2015

My first day at WBC was pretty awkward. I knew I was around the best barefooters you could meet and I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself.  We go out on the boat and I’m the last one to ski. When I’m up to ski my heart starts racing as I plop in the water. Ben Groen, my instructor for the time spent over at WBC, is one of the coolest and nicest people you could meet. He put me out on the seahorse first, which I thought was for sissies; I thanked him in my head for taking me off. Then the thanking reversed. The boom was so hard but I didn’t complain. I took so many falls it felt like forever but it really wasn’t. Fall after fall, my confidence depletes. The third day Ben has the idea of putting me back on the seahorse and I feel so embarrassed. But it works: first try, I stood up on the boom. A couple tries later, I’m on the short line and it’s awesome.

Thank goodness Ben never gave up on me and I never gave up on him!


Chris Mcwatters: The Beginning

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

​Believe it or not barefooting has always been something I have always wanted to try to accomplish.  Many years ago, my Uncle Mike showed me a beta tape of him barefooting.  That’s right a beta tape.  For those of you that don’t know what a beta tape is, it was the way to watch video tapes prior to VHS.  Oh, and the machine that played those tapes was about the same size as a inboard Sanger.  So there I was, a little influential kid watching a beta tape of my uncle barefooting in a orange life vest and cut-off jean shorts, sitting on the shag carpet.  Oh the memories.  It was at this point that I said to myself, I have to try this out.

Unfortunately, I never got the chance then.  It wasn’t until my Navy days in the mid 90’s while living on the beach, did I ever give it a shot.  I was sitting on the beach on Sail Bay (Pacific Beach, CA), when these guys come up onto the beach with their boat and asked Gloria (my soon to be wife) and me if we would like to go skiing.  Uhhh yeah, please!   Now the bay was calm, and it was my turn.  So I put on a slalom ski and off I go, not very good, but just happy to be on the water.  After a few cuts back and forth, I went down.  While I was in the water, I was thinking back to that damn video of my uncle, you can set off the ski and BAREFOOT.  Well I was hell bent to try, beside I was a military guy, nothing can hurt us right?

Oh boy, was I wrong, but in my ingenious thinking, “I can do this and impress the gal and be real cool….”  NOT.  So, I get up skiing and the boat begins to increase speed– there were problems right from the start.  I had difficulty getting my balance and getting  my foot out of the binding, but I do– barely.  The boat is what I think “screaming down the bay,” I have one foot on the water, now all I have to do is kick this stick off my other foot right.  Right…   What a show.  A complete yard sale.  I wasn’t sure I was ever going to stop hurting.

Fast forward seven years later, I moved to Michigan, graduated from college and like all graduates I bought a Ski Nautique.  I didn’t have a cottage, river, or place to stow it, but dammit I had a boat!  I live up to one on my promises to myself., own a competition ski boat.  So I bought a slalom ski, vest, wet suit and rope.  A true walley, only I did not then and do not now own a TUBE.  I did  have access to a lake: my grandma owned a cottage on a lake not too far from me so I was able to take it there.

One morning, I had gone over to the slalom course on my grandma’s lake and was watching these guys ski.  I had made my introductions to the crew and they told me to get in line and they would pull me through the course.  I told them that I wasn’t any good and could only get up on the ski and that that was a struggle.  They weren’t concerned with that they said, they only were happy to have skiers on the lake.  Well, about the time it was my turn, another boat pulled up and started talking to the crew.  They all knew each other it seemed.  The small talk came around to me and they asked me, “What do you do?”  Not sure what to say, I replied,  “Just ski I guess.”

I continued to say that I was interested in barefooting though.  It  just happened that the guy that had pulled up was the guy to talk to.  Well I was introduced to Gary Zimmerman and he told me to anchor my boat and jump in his boat.  He assembled this pole off the side of his boat (yup didn’t even know what a boom was in 2001).  He gave me a few simple instructions: sit on the kneeboard, hold the boom shoulder-width apart,  bend my knees and put my heels in the water–then let the boat do the rest.

Simple enough.

I do exactly what he says and there I was, BAREFOOTING.  Only one thing that was not explained to me, the letting go part.  Well, we make a pretty good run, and Gary says “let go,” so I do, but I don’t sit on my butt.  No way– I just have boardshorts on, so as I lose speed I fall forward and I don’t tuck and roll, no I hold my head high and I experience the patented “scorpion fall,” but I didn’t care, I was barefooting!

It was at this point I should have punched Gary in the face, because the addiction he caused me was horrible.  Sometimes I wonder if drugs were not cheaper.

​So that is the person that “broke” me into barefooting, Gary Zimmerman.  Now I still ski with him to this day.  I took several years off barefooting a tried airchairing, and slalom skiing, but came back to barefooting.  I would like to thank Gary for giving me first experience barefooting and continuing to barefoot with me at Round Lake in Manitou Beach, Michigan.

– Chris McWatters

Kailey Koehler: My World Championships Experience

Friday, October 4th, 2013

I have had the privilege to attend three world championships.  The first worlds that I went to was held in Otaki, New Zealand.  I was 13 years old and let me tell you, I was a little bundle of nerves.  It was my first big tournament and I had no clue what I was doing.  I went to New Zealand not knowing what to expect, but I had the time of my life.  I was able to meet people from all over the world, and I was able to ski with professional athletes who I idolized.  I qualified as an independent skier in tricks and slalom.  I skied quite well considering the level I was at with my skiing and all the pressure I was under.  After I skied, I was able to tour the beautiful country and explore the different cultures.  I went bungee jumping, saw sheep roaming the streets, and skied on the lake that “Lord of the Rings” was filmed on.

My first worlds was an experience that I will never forget and it was a stepping stone to the level of skiing that I am currently at.  My first worlds was when I realized that I was serious about this sport and I got the drive to become a better skier.  Ever since then, I began to train at the World Barefoot Center, where world champions are made.  My coaches taught me new tricks and they encouraged me to push past my limits.  As I continued to grow as a skier, I was able to go to a second world championships in Brandenburg, Germany.  I was on the US Junior team and we received the overall team gold medal.  Germany was a great experience that created many lasting memories.

The last world championships that I attended was held in Waco, Texas.  I skied in the junior division for the last time and I also competed as an elite skier.  I had so much fun and was able to take home a few medals in the process.  I am so lucky to have had the privilege to go to the world championships and I hope to go to the next one in Australia.  I look forward to meeting new people and catching up with my friends from all over the world.

by Kailey Koehler

Collin Barber: My Personal Growth at the World Barefoot Center

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013


When I first came to the World Barefoot Center a little over two years ago, I was one shy kid. I was 14 back then, and it actually surprises me now when I look back at it. I was awkward with conversations. I had no idea how to start one. I was always doing my own thing like sitting in my room reading or doing homework or listening to my music or anything else besides talking and interacting very much with others. It’s not that I didn’t LIKE to talk to people, it’s just that I didn’t really think I was GOOD at it. And that probably came from a low self-esteem. I didn’t have much confidence, so like I said, I would always be doing my own little thing. And people, like my mom, would always ask me, “Why don’t you talk more?”. My answer would be, “Well I’m just always thinking”. Which, yeah, I guess was kinda true. But that was probably just an excuse to make me feel better about being quiet.

After I became a sponsored member, I had plenty of pow-wows with none other than Swampy. And he told me the exact same thing my parents had been telling me for the past couple years: “If you don’t talk and be social with people around you, they’ll think you’re stuck up and stand-offish”. This always made me mad, because I didn’t think I was stuck up. That was the last thing I ever wanted anyone to think about me. But I understood what they were saying. And the only way to change it was to be social, and it was difficult for me. To be social, I had to have confidence to be comfortable with myself. I had to change my whole look on myself and life.


And this is where the WBC mainly comes in. Being at the WBC constantly meant being around new people and making new friends and new conversations. Of course, learning how to be social meant a lot of trial and error… So there was a lot of awkward instances when I tried to talk with people. But being around everyone, like Swampy, at the WBC helped me open up and be comfortable with myself, which in turn made me more sociable. I learned how to loosen up, smile more, come in on group conversations, and help people out. Within the past 2 years, I have changed immensely, and I love the change. I feel happier and better about myself. I actually WANT to talk to people now. Of course, some of this change might have been from basically growing up from age 14 to age 17 and maturing, but still. The WBC and everyone involved it have definitely impacted me the greatest. They’ve helped me as much on the water as they have off the water. I wouldn’t change anything in these past two years.

Keith, Dave, Ben, Ashleigh, AJ, and Swampy, Thanks for everything! =)

– Collin Barber


Alex Youngblood: My Experience as a Sponsored Skier

Thursday, January 17th, 2013
I am Alex Youngblood from Highland, Michigan and this is my 2nd year being a sponsored skier at the World Barefoot Center. And I would like to tell you about all the fun I’ve had with them.
In 2012, I took a trip to Texas for the Barefoot World Championship tournament. I met people from all over the world! From Great Britain to Austria. I made a lot of new friends too. Sometimes you don’t find your best friends at home. Jenifer Blake and Riley Stenson from Illinois and Minnesota are like my two best friends.
Anyways, I went there to do tricks and slalom. My PB (personal best) was 700 for tricks, and at Worlds I got 900! My slalom PB 2.6 has been the same for a long time. I had a great experience. But to get 900 I learned a lot of new stuff at  the World Barefoot Center. I learned three new tricks in one week!
Backwards one foots, one foot stand ups and one foots. The staff from WBC really helped me at Worlds. And some day they might help you too.

Alex Youngblood

Alex Youngblood at WBC

Alex Youngblood at the 2011 Barefoot Nationals

Alex Youngblood at 9 Years Old

Featured Footer: Chris McWatters

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

When Chris McWatters is not at his job as a nurse in a local Florida hospital, you can find him on the water over at the World Barefoot Center, learning something new.  And when the day is done, he heads back home, to the home of a legend.   The McWatters are staying at Banana George’s house, renting it for a few months.  Chris is the quintessential snowbird– the other half of the year he works as a nurse in a hospital near Detroit, Michigan.

Chris’ first dip into the life of water sports began with a slalom ski and a slalom course.  Then he was introduced to barefooting from a friend of a friend.  “I got up on my first try, off the boom,” said Chris. “It was like a poison in my body, I was hooked!”  Chris spent the summer learning to barefoot off a kneeboard and at the end of the season, he completed a deep water start.

In the summer of 2004, a bad fall left him with a twisted ankle, but he continued to learn new tricks on his own, especially tumble turns. “I watched videos of Keith St. Onge and Mike Seipel barefooting and taught myself from the videos,” said Chris.  “I wanted to barefoot like Keith!”  A friend introduced him to backward barefooting and Chris beat himself up on the water trying the start over and over.  He studied continued to study Keith’s videos and tried to put that into practice on the water.    “I never had shoes– thought it was for sissies,” Chris laughed.  “I kept trying.  I could do  a backward start on the boom in 2005 or 2006 can’t remember. But backward long line, I couldn’t do it.”  Chris got in touch with Seipel, who advised him to get a tower and shoes, but Chris stubbornly wanted to learn the start on his feet.  So he grabbed a driver one day and for two and half hours, he worked on it until he finally stood up backwards behind the boat.  He ended up bruised, but triumphant at his accomplishment.

The front and back flyers were also on Chris’ “self-taught” list.  He ended up taking a trip to the hospital after doing a front flyer from a houseboat.  His left ankle tangled in a loop on the landing and the next day, he could barely walk.  Fortunately, there was only some muscle damage and it healed.  To this day, Chris still has the rope indention around his ankle as a reminder of that trick.  But that didn’t deter Chris from continuing to teach himself on his own.  After watching Keith spin around on the water, Chris hurled himself around as well.  “Front to back, back to front– I thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread,” said Chris. “I taught myself on my feet, 42 mph, and I would fall and fall.”

Chris’ introduction to barefoot competition came from a chance encounter on the water.  He was out with some friends on a boat rigged with a boom on each side of the boat and five of them footin away.  During a pause, another boat drove by and guy joined them.  They continued to barefoot together, enjoying the day.  “Why don’t you compete,” the guy asked Chris.  “I’m just a backyard barefooter,” he said.

The “guy” turned out to be Marc Donahue, legendary for Figure 8 tournaments.  Chris agreed to give competition a try so he headed up to Wisconsin for the 2009 Frostbite Figure 8.  It was 35 degrees out, the water was 41 degrees and there was a 25 mph wind kicking up. To top it off, Chris had never stepped off a ski before.  He put his foot on the water twice, faceplanted twice, and just like that, his first tournament was over.

But did he give up? Nope.

At the Mad City tournament, Chris ended up with the same result: double faceplants and out.  But he walked away with St. Onge’s blue hat as a raffle prize.  At the St. Louis tournament, Chris advanced a round only because the other guy fell faster than him at the step off.  “I spent so much money going to tournaments only to faceplant and double out each time,” Chris laughed.

But he still didn’t give up.

Chris went up to Crandon, Wisconsin, home of the famed Footstock tournament.  While waiting in line to get a drink at Duck’s bar, his idol turned around to greet him. “Hi, I’m Keith St. Onge.”

Chris couldn’t hear him in the din and despite the countless KSO videos he had reviewed, he didn’t recognize the guy.  “I’m Keith St. Onge,” he said again. He pointed to Chris’ head.”And you’re wearing my hat!”   Chris was thunderstruck, but he soon discovered that the two-time champ was laid back and down to earth.  “He’s just one of us,” said Chris.

Dave Mueller, the Footstock announcer, quickly made mincemeat out of Chris the moment he doubled-out of the tournament.  Chris soon earned a nickname: “Two Step.”  “They made fun of me, ‘two steps’ and I’m out of the tournament–  but one guy from St. Louis gave me some encouragement afterwards and introduced me to barefoot races,” said Chris.

Chris continued to teach himself tricks on the water but still hadn’t had a formal barefoot lesson at that point.  He persisted with Figure 8 tournaments and ended up contributing his time to organizing tournaments. “I set up rules to involve more people,” said Chris.  The idea was a “no barefooter on the beach” motto.   If you can’t step off, you can deep start.  If you need a wheelchair, we’ll start with that.

“You can ski against KSO and Smallz in these tournaments–  that’s the coolest thing,” he continued.  “You can duct tape your feet.  We are friendly, and we include the backyard barefooter.”

Things began to turn for Chris.  He actually learned how to become a Figure 8 barefooter and stay up on the water.  At the WBC Figure 8 final, Chris was helping to wrap things up when Keith asked him if he was interested in learning more and becoming a sponsored skier.  Chris jumped at the chance to ski and learn from his idol. “What I liked about Chris was not just his passion for barefoot waterskiing which is obvious, but I liked his enthusiasm to help build the sport and put tournaments together,” said Keith. “He put in a lot of time that not many people see. I commend him for all the work he has put into the sport and respect him for that.”

In November, 2011, Chris received his first formal lesson on the water with A.J. Porreca and Ben Groen. “Honestly, I was nervous and scared,” said Chris. “I’m a shag barefooter– everything I had learned was from watching videos.” The WBC staff ended up getting a little surprise:  toe holds, tumbles, tumble to ones, backward one foots– the bumbling Figure 8 guy actually had some good skills on the water despite never having a lesson.

He had some jump experience before arriving at the WBC, but only off the boom.  Before long, Small’z had him jumping inverted.

Despite his lack of three-event tournament experience, Chris’ goals are big and bold: to qualify for the Nationals and the Worlds.     “I need to score 2,400 points, but I tricked only 400 or 700 when they timed me.  I did bad and I looked awful,” said Chris.  He was really discouraged when he climbed in the boat.  Ben shared a story about his own early experience at the Worlds; he scored just 200 points and came in dead last out of 38 skiers.  Encouraged, Chris continued to hammer away at the tricks.

“My proudest moment on the water was when I got my first back one foot toe hold in front of David and Swampy,”  said Chris.  “And by the way, I love Swampy to death– he’s like a grandfather. I  make sure Swampy is happy!”  To build up consistency, Smallz ran him up and down the lake, to the tune of 31 back toe holds.

Even with both feet raw and bruised after the tough runs, Chris loves every minute of it. “What I like most about barefooting is that you feel free–there’s nothing on your feet,” said Chris.  “It’s awesome to stand on your feet at 40+ mph–  it’s a moment that is pure as you can get–  standing there, looking around thinking,  ‘Wow, you’re standing on water on two feet!!!'”

Written by: Karen Putz