Posts Tagged ‘swampy’

Ski With the Top Barefoot Champions

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

In two short years, the World Barefoot Center has grown to include the top barefoot champions from around the world.  We love what we do, and it shows in our passion for the sport.  Like Swampy always says, “Let your feet do the talking.”

INSANE SKIING from WorldBarefootCenter on Vimeo.

Women’s Barefoot Week 2011 Highlights

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The 2011 Women’s Barefoot Week started off with a rainy Halloween, but the gals got into the spirit donning some costumes. The boys, David Small, Keith St. Onge and Swampy joined in on the fun. The gals planned to barefoot in the costumes, but with the rain coming down, that idea was tossed out.   Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (Karen Putz) had painted red glitter shoes on her feet, cinching her for the “Best Halloween Costume.”

The gals came from all over– including Mandy Wood, who managed a 27 hour trip from Australia.  Judy Myers was recovering from knee surgery and after duct-taping her $1,400 brace, she went out and did  everything she could do before–including a long line back deep and back toe hold.  (Yeah, she’s baaaaack!)  Joann O’Connor employed the Patience, Persistence and Perseverance policy all week long as she worked on her back deep on a 15-foot line–she spurred the rest of us on!  “My new trick was learning to do one foot cut outs  on shoes– KSO had me doing them like a pro on my fused ankle!” said Joann. “I never even thought I could go one foot on that side, but the cutting angle works great. I can’t go straight on that foot but I will be able to learn one foot wakes!”

Claudia Landon worked on her back one foots with both feet.  Sharon Carlson was nursing a sore knee, but she joined Claudia in the quest for back one foots along with Mandy. “I’m very excited that I did back one- foot–I picked it up, and put it down three times in a row in one pass,” said Claudia.  “According to John MacDonald, the 82 year old from Texas whom we ski with in the summer– after you do a trick three times in a row, you own it!”

Debbie Fahrenthold was back on the water for the first time– five years after surgery for a brain tumor.  She tackled the water with gusto, first on shoes, then her feet, and even on one foot with shoes!  Carolyn Scott nailed her back deep on the short line and tackled some forward wakes.   Karen Putz accomplished her first back toe hold on shoes– and Keith introduced her to a couple of back-to-fronts on the last set (she still has to learn to ride them out.) Diane Schaupp was the youngest gal in the group. She worked on wakes– both forwards and backwards, and succeeded in a back one foot crossing on a shoe!

“The best part of women’s week was meeting some incredibly inspirational women,” said Diane. “All you ladies have had some difficulty that you’ve had to overcome in life. It would be easy to use a fused ankle or screws in the wrist or being deaf as an excuse to not get out there on the water–but instead, these difficulties are used as a reason to work harder and keep trying to accomplish new tricks.  For me, the two days I spent with you ladies was more than just about learning new tricks on the water… it was about an unexpected lesson in life… and one I’ll never forget.”

A special thanks to Women’s Barefoot Week sponsors:  Vibram5Fingers, Coconut Bliss, Badger Balm, and Popchips — it was a great week!

WOMENS WEEK 2011 from WorldBarefootCenter on Vimeo.

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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.

Featured Footer: Adin Daneker

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Adin Daneker loves to sleep.  The guy is known for sleeping everywhere– in the boat, on the dock, or at the dinner table.  In fact, at the World Barefoot Center, the joke is… Adin only stays awake long enough to barefoot.

“Hey, I’m a fireman!” Adin grins.  “I don’t have a consistent sleep schedule, so I sleep when I can.”

All ribbing aside, the guy really does eat, breathe and sleep barefooting.  He fully admits to the addiction.  He started water skiing at the age of  four and got  his first taste of barefooting as a teen.  He wasn’t quite bitten with the barefooting bug, instead, he dove into water ski competitions during high school.  After he graduated, he took off for college and then started working as a fireman.

The barefoot bug finally bit him when he watched some guys rocket off a ramp at the Worlds on Lake Silverado in 1996.  Adin began barefooting with Doug Jordan, Chris Sternagel and Sherry Blackmore.  “The early years were painful,” Adin recalls.  “I remember being dragged through the water all day while learning to barefoot backwards. But as I progressed, I fell in love with barefooting– and I picked up the skills quickly.”

When Adin says he picked it up quickly, he isn’t kidding.  The following year, he entered  his first tournament and accomplished his first backward deep water start behind the boat.  He met Keith St. Onge for the first time and was blown away by his skills on the water. “I had just started, and Keith treated me the same as everyone else,” said Adin.  “I was really impressed with his skiing.”

During the spring, Adin went to Florida for two weeks and trained with Lane Bowers.  He focused on improving his jumping skills.  That summer, he entered his first Regionals.  “I tore my MCL during a traditional jump,” said Adin.  “My foot went through the water when I landed.  I was pulled sideways.”   The injury didn’t sidetrack him, as soon as healed up, he was back into the sport.  Adin went down to Florida again, this time he trained with Keith one week and Lane the other week, working on inverted jumping.  The training paid off– just two years after he started, Adin broke into the Open in tricks– and skied in his first Nationals.  His high-paying tricks were three flips on the water and two surface turns.

“I was standing on the dock with the big boys– Keith, Jon Kretchman, Ryan Boyd, Ron Scarpa and Lane Bowers,” Adin recalled. “Jon looked over at me– I was so excited as he was one of my idols.   He asked Lane, ‘Who is this guy?'”  Adin gave them a tournament to remember– one of his worse.  He fell on both trick runs and missed all of his jumps.  He managed to salvage his slalom run with a decent score.

Adin didn’t give up.  He continued to rack up tournament experience and skied in his first Worlds in 2006 as an independent skier.  He had just closed on a new house a month before the Worlds and invited Keith, Ryan, Eugene Sam and Heinrich Sam to train with him for three weeks.  “We had a blast– we were hanging out,  skiing all day, and then out to dinner.  Those guys helped me shop for furniture–  I had nothing in the house– just my bed  I think Ryan slept on the floor the whole time!”  The training paid off for Adin, he landed in the semi-finals and placed eighth.  At the 2010 Worlds in Germany, Adin took the silver Overall in the Senior division.  He was also selected as the Male Athlete of the Year for 2010.

Today, Adin is a sponsored athlete at the World Barefoot Center.  “I go to the WBC for a month and whatever Swampy tells me to do, I do it.  I work on… not crying,” Adin chuckles.  “Swampy is my psychologist on the water.  He knows when to push you and when to encourage you.  What I learned from Swampy is that skiing is 90 percent mental.”

Indeed, two of the toughest challenges for Adin are to maintain consistency on the water and to manage the mind games that go on in his head.  “During training, I can manage the head games, but in a tournament, it is hard. I have confidence issues–I get frustrated and then I start to doubt myself.  One thing that Swampy has taught me is– to go out and have fun.  One bad set doesn’t mean that you’re a bad skier.”  The most difficult trick for Adin has been the one foot turns.  “It’s a scary trick– I try not to think of the end result if it’s bad–it’s a trick that is easy to catch a toe and go down.”

Keith has been skiing with Adin for many years and the two have become good friends.  “Adin has a tremendous amount of commitment for someone who has a full time job– and that has always impressed me,” says Keith.  “He puts in more effort than most, and it reflects his passion for the sport.”

Adin’s daily mantra is a simple one: live each day to the fullest.  He plans to keep on skiing, training and improving.  “Once you get to a certain level, it’s all too easy to back off and fall off that level,” says Adin.  “This reminds me of a saying that I saw on a t-shirt in the movie, American Flyers:  ‘Once you’ve got  it up, keep it up.’

“And I’m talking about the skiing,” he grins.

KSO Wetsuits, Fun on the Water Slideshow

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

A collection of KSO Wetsuit customers having fun on the water, including Glen Plake,  Paul Stokes, Judy Myers, Claudia Landon, and more!

KSO Wetsuits Fun on the Water 2011

How can I learn to Barefoot Water Ski?

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Do you want to be the best barefooter on your lake? Come to Winter Haven, Florida, to learn the exciting sport of barefoot water skiing at the World Barefoot Center–safely and effectively. We have the best water skiers (multiple World Champions) and instructors at the school and we take great pride in making our learning environment the best out there.

We will be posting instructional articles and videos throughout the off season that will give you a step-by-step approach to walking on water.  These will be posted to our World Barefoot Center website, Blog and Facebook page.

What a lot of barefooters out there do is try the brutal trial-and-error method…. This can be a painful and totally unnecessary way to learn– and we would highly recommend not doing this unless you like a good fall. ☺

A big question we hear is… ‘Is it possible to learn to barefoot water ski if I am an average person who doesn’t exercise and not very athletic?”

YES, anyone can barefoot water ski!!! At the World Barefoot Center, we use all the latest equipment that will give you the best opportunity to barefoot. We use Barefoot International Booms, swings, Headzone helmets (we can communicate directly with the skier on the water), shoe skis and much more. We have taught people of different ages, backgrounds and abilities– and we take pride in getting everyone to succeed, plus we love a challenge!!! Feel free to contact any of our past customers (best way is on our Facebook page) and see if they would recommend coming to the ski school.

Who are the instructors at the World Barefoot Center and are they qualified?

We have the best instructors and skiers at the World Barefoot Center. The main instructors at the ski school are David Small (3-time World Champion) and Keith St Onge (2-time World Champion) and between the two of them, they hold all of the World Barefoot records. Gary ‘Swampy’ Bouchard is also an instructor at the school and he coaches both David and Keith.  Swampy trained and coached Keith since he was nine.   He also is the US Junior team coach and a top bloke! We also have A.J. Porreca (ranked 3rd in the World) and Ben Groen (5th in the World) working at the school who will offer you great advise off the water and on if requested. Most of the barefoot teams from around the world are now coming to the World Barefoot Center to progress in the sport.  We take huge pride in also teaching complete beginners and intermediate skiers–they’re the grass roots of the sport and they’re the ones who will grow the sport!

Where can I stay when I come to the World Barefoot Center?

The World Barefoot Center offers discounted rates at the Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn and Days Inn and we also provide accommodation at the ski school if needed. When you book your reservation at the hotels, be sure to ask for your discount through the World Barefoot Center.

By David Small. AKA, Small’z

Thank You-Barefoot Ski Ranch!

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Stuart and Jennifer Parsons hosted the 2011 Barefoot Nationals on there private lake at the Barefoot Ski Ranch located in Waco, Texas.  This beautiful ski site is perfect for barefoot tournaments.  Multiple lakes, huge docks, great viewing from above and indoor ac, and lots of golf carts and razors to zip around in.   Thank you Stuart and Jennifer! 

We thank you for everyone who was involved in making this a fantastic tournament.  Your hard work is appreciated, we couldn’t have done it without you! 

Thank you for all your hard work!

Judges Dale and Brian

Phil and Swampy- The VOICES of Nationals

Saftey-Paul Adams

Live Video Feed done by KSO and Lynn Johnson


We can’t forget those that come to support and cheer for us!  You mean the world to us!

A shout out to Brenden Paige's Parents via the Live Feed.

Barefooting Family

Skiers and Supporters

Fans lined up the shoreline!

We are looking foward to seeing everyone next year at Barefoot Nationals 2012 and Worlds 2012 at the Barefoot Ski Ranch in Waco, TX. Yeeeehawwww!

Featured Footer: Brody Meskers

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

When Brody Meskers was three years old, he watched some skiers barefooting in a Chetek Hydroflites Ski Show and told his dad, “I want to learn to barefoot!”  Rick Meskers wanted his son to learn to water ski first.  Brody quickly became frustrated with skis that he couldn’t control, so Rick put him in a swing off the boom.  Brody was all smiles when he put his feet in the water.  The following year, he learned to barefoot off the boom and pestered his dad to teach him more.

“Right from the beginning, Brody loved barefooting,” said Rick.  “We never worried about having to teach him as he always wanted to take it a step further each time.”   At that point, there was no holding him back.  Rick added a rope to the boom and Brody taught himself to start on his stomach and tumble up on to his feet–he didn’t like getting water in his face with the deep water start.  By the time he was five, he was barefooting with a twenty-foot line and at six, he entered his first competition.  Because of his tumble up starts, the tumble turn became his first trick–even before he learned to wave.

Keith St. Onge became one of Brody’s idols from the very beginning.  The Meskers met Keith while visiting friends in Florida and Brody took a clinic with Keith when he was six.  “The night before the first clinic, Brody went to bed early so he would be fresh the next morning,” said Rick.  “This is the kid who never goes to bed early!  That was a big deal to him, to ski with Keith.  Anything Keith told him, he took it to heart and repeated everything he said.  Keith is his hero–he loves him to death.”

Six-year-old Brody competed in the Midwest Regionals and Nationals– and he won both tournaments, edging out boys who were 7, 8 and 9 years old.  The following year, Keith told Brody that it was time for him to learn to barefoot backwards.  This proved to be a challenge for him, because he did not like putting his face down in the water.   “That was not a fun year,” Rick recalled.  “Brody promised Keith he would do three backward starts every time we went out on the water.  We had to try to convince him to do it.  That was the only time that I thought some of the fun was taken out of him.”  Brody persisted, and after about 100 starts and many plants, he finally stood up backwards on the water.

Today, Brody is a sponsored skier at the World Barefoot Center and he works with Keith, David and Swampy.  “I like barefooting so much because there is so much to learn,” said Brody. “You can always get better and better.  Sometimes I don’t want to ski, but if I want to become the best, I have to go hard at it.”

This year, Brody focused on jumping and surface turns.  “The first time I jumped, I was with Keith in Florida,” Brody said. “I asked him if it would hurt, and he said no.  I was scared.  I went over the first time with shoe skis and I was so excited.  It wasn’t the cleanest jump–but I landed it!”  Brody recently accomplished his surface turns behind the boat.  His goals this summer include slaloming 12.9 and hitting 3000 with tricks.

“I see Brody being the next Heinrich Sam,” said Keith.  “He is way ahead of the learning curve for a ten year old.  I’ve worked with Brody since he was six years old, so I would love to see him go all the way and accomplish whatever his goals are.”  Brody still has a ways to go to catch up to Keith’s trick scores, but he is determined to make it happen.

Brody spent the month of June working with Swampy, A.J. Porreca and Ben Groen down at the World Barefoot Center.  “As parents, it’s tough to let your kid go,” said Brody’s mom, Tracy.  “But Brody really wanted this, so we agreed to send him off for a month.  They are great guys at the WBC–they are teaching him so much about skiing and life.”

Today, Brody is even more fired up about barefooting than ever.  When people ask him if he wants to be like Keith St. Onge, he’s got an answer ready:  “I want to be better than him.”

Watch out, KSO!

Brody and Ben Groen

Five year old Brody on the water

Nine year old WBC Skier Brody Meskers

Hanging out at WBC

Written by: Karen Putz

WBC Skier, Chandler Cargile in the News

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

World Barefoot Center sponsored skier, Chandler Cargile recently landed in the news:

The Barefoot Skier

Keith St. Onge Tricks 13,100 Points

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

The World Barefoot Center team rocked the PGA tournament in Port St. Lucie. Keith St. Onge tricked 13,100 points but his runs did not go through as a pending world record after the tournament officials reviewed it.  David Small was right behind him with 12,500.  USA Water Ski posted an article: St.Onge barefoot skis over 13,000 points but is not a pending world record after review.

This was the first tournament for World Barefoot Center sponsored skier, Chandler Cargile.

A.J. Porreca joined the 10,000 Club (one of only five skiers!)– he tricked 10,100 and slalomed 16.4.

Ben Groen (New Zealand) tricked a personal best of 8,200, setting a new (pending) record for New Zealand.

Ben LaFrance (Canada) tricked 5,600 and slalomed 14.0.

Swampy Bouchard, the World Barefoot Center coach, summed it up: “I am so proud of our team yesterday at the PGA tourney in South Florida, we had 10 team skiers including Chandler Cargile– who entered his first ever tournament. The team yesterday posted 12 PB’s, two pending world records, a pending New Zealand record, broke the 13,000 point mark for the first time in history, and had the 5th skier in the history of the sport to break past 10,000 points.”