Posts Tagged ‘Tournaments’

Jerry Kanawyer: Why I Continue to Barefoot Competitively

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

At the age of 50, I have been competing since 1987. Wow, that’s 36 years, I must be getting old, LOL. I have also competed in every Nationals since 1987 , with the exception of 1995, due to an illness in which I was bed ridden. I still have the drive to continue to improve my scores. As long as I can keep improving I will keep competing.

As I grow older, there’s one person that stays in my mind, that’s Don Mcfeters. Don was one person who knew how to ski and improve in his later years. In his 70’s he was able to continue to improve his scores. He slalomed in the 12’s and tricked in the 1500’s. Don Mcfeters is an amazing man. He would take a fall that would have hurt most people, but he would jump up and go for another pass, like it didn’t bother him. He’s a joy to be around, one of the nicest person you would ever meet.

Marc Donohue, The Guy Who Introduced Me to Barefoot Competitions

Sunday, March 24th, 2013
Late in September, 2007, my buddies and I were on our annual boathouse trip to Dale Hollow, Tennessee.  All loaded up and ready for a great 4 days in the warm, smooth southern water in the mountains of Tennessee.  It was always a trip that I looked forward to for one never had to deal with rough water and I could practice the slalom course, airchair, wakesurf and of course barefoot.  At this point in my life barefooting was great fun but I really wasn’t that good.  I could barely do a basic toe hold on the boom, and I could go backwards, but with really crappy position and no consistency.

Every year, my buddies and I would always come up with some crazy idea or another to try.  Well, this particular year, we were going to try and pull five barefooters up deep water behind a 2001 1996 Ski Nautique.   I had two booms rigged up, one on either side.

As we arrive  to this one specific cove where one of the slalom courses were, we see a Mastercraft has beaten us to the site.  We pull up and asked these guys if they mind my buddies and I try a few things before they hit the slalom ourse.  They didn’t mind, so off we went.  Unfortunately, after several attempts we were unable to get all five up.

As we were thanking these guys in the Mastercraft, I noticed they were getting into their barefoot suits.  One of the guys in the boat asked if they could give it a go with us.  We were definitely game to try again.  This time we get four up for a pretty good distance,  long enough for photos and a brief video.

After we got done one of the guys, Marc, asks if I wanted to do another run. Not skipping a beat we give it a go.  We make a pretty long run in some nasty water.  As we’re floating in the water after the run, Marc asks me, “Where do you foot?” I mention that I live in Michigan and ski on a small lake up there. “Why are you not competing?” he asks.

“I’m not any good and that I can’t compete with you guys,” I explain. At this point the only thing I had seen was Keith St. Onge and his videos and knew there was no way to compete against people like that.  Marc had said that I would be able to compete.  We exchanged phone numbers and he said he would get in touch with me in the spring for the next tournament.  I really didn’t pay much mind to it and I thought maybe this guy Marc was drunk– or had taken too many head plants.

Well sure enough, in April, this Marc guy gives me a call and says there’s a Figure 8 tournament in Stout, Wisconsin in the beginning of May and he wanted me to go.  I had no idea what a Figure 8 event was and I was still very hesitant.  This guy called a few more times and I finally said “Okay!”

Marc came to my house in Michigan a day before we had to leave so we could practice.  Marc forgot to mention that at this event– you have to step off a ski.  I had never stepped off a ski and had no idea how to do it.  Well that day we practiced several times and I was very unsuccessful.  Marc and I nevertheless head to the event.  Now, if no knows where Stout Wisconsin is you’re not alone– neither did I.  I came to find out it is in northern Wisconsin and remember, it’s in the beginning of May.  You got it– COLD! We get up there just in time for the skiers’ meeting.  Get this, the name of the event was called “Frostbite.” Go figure!  After meeting a few of the other footers, we all retired to a local hotel.

Morning rise and shine–the outside air temp 35 degrees and it was spitting snow. The water temp a freezing 41 degrees.  Oh let me not forget–the winds were blowing 25 mph coming across the lake.  Yes, that means whitecaps.  Well, to say the least, I never got off my ski. I tried to step off twice and had two major yard sales.  In fact not a single person make a ½ 8 due to the conditions.  After the event we all got together and had “adult pops” and food.

I have to say even though I didn’t do very well, I had a great time.  These footers were a lot of fun and they all had a good time.  Everyone was supportive and interested in you and your footing adventures. Well, after the day was over Marc and I headed home. Eight hours back to Michigan gave us more time to plan our next barefooting tournament adventure.

If it was not for Marc “The Pornstar” Donahue I would probably never would have began barefooting in tournaments.  Marc and I continue to barefoot together–we put on a Figure 8 tournament every year in Marc’s home state of Indiana.  While our interest in barefooting has changed slightly we still both love getting on the water together and doing the thing we all love, barefooting.

Thank you, Marc Donahue.

By: Chris Mcwatters

Editor’s note: Chris “Two-Step” Mcwatters eventually learned how to step off a ski, but the nickname still remains.

Win a Barefoot Book–We Have a Winner!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

“If you call yourself a barefoot waterskier, this book needs to be in your library. Karen has hit all the bases with all the big shots of the sport.”

Barefoot Water Skiing, From Weekend Warrior to Competitor written by Karen Putz covers the basics of barefoot water ski tournaments.  The book features “My First Tournament” memories from current as well as past competitors, including Keith St. Onge, David Small, Mike Seipel, Ron Scarpa, William Farrell, Paul Stokes, Ben Groen, Ashleigh Stebbeings, A.J. Porreca and more.

If you’ve always been curious about barefoot tournaments but never thought you were good enough to enter one, this book will dispel the fears and equip you with the knowledge you need to enter your first tournament.

To enter the drawing for a free copy of the book, leave a comment below telling us about your most memorable faceplant.  What’s the footin’ tumble into the water you’ll never forget?

The comments will remain open until Friday, September 28, 2012 and the winner will be chosen by

And the results are:

List Randomizer

There were 9 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. James Melter
  2. Carlos Barreto
  3. Chandler Cargile
  4. Warren Hubert
  5. Johnathan Martines
  6. Dan Tanis
  7. Randal Meikle
  8. Shellie Blum
  9. Paul Stokes

Featured Footer: Don Simon

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

72-year-old Don Simon

Who is Don Simon?

“He’s no one, just a barefooter who took too many falls and is now brain dead,” quips the 72-year-old retired pubic relations executive.

Back in 1976, Don watched a friend kick off a ski and take off barefooting.  The sport looked like fun, so he decided to try it. “Back then, we were wearing Speedos and a waist belt,” said Don. “You either kicked off a ski or learned off a Hydroslide.”

Don chose the kneeboard and soon found himself gliding along behind the boat. With the introduction of the boom and lessons from Bill Peterson’s ski school, Don’s skills began to advance in the sport.  He went to Ron Scarpa’s school to learn how to barefoot backwards by stepping off a ski on the boom.  The next time he went to Scarpa’s, they had invented what Don calls the “human tower” start. “The rope was attached to the pylon and a guy would kneel on the floor with the rope over his shoulder.  As the skier planed, the guy would pull on the rope. When the skier went to plant, the guy would stand up with the rope on his shoulder pulling the skier up backwards. It wasn’t fun, but it worked.”

Don’s first introduction to barefoot competition came at a tournament in Ohio in the late ’80’s.  A skier slammed into the jump, cutting his forehead and leaving a smear of blood on the jump. “It was a cool tournament though–the local bakery brought in doughnuts in the shape of a foot,” he recalled. “The tournament looked like fun, even though my first impression was blood on the jump!”

Undeterred, Don decided to dive into tournament skiing. He doesn’t remember much about his first tournament, but he does remember his first Nationals in Florida. In the days before computers, skiers had to send in their scores with their registration.  When Don arrived, they didn’t have a record of his previous tournaments. The one competitor in his division happened to be a judge, so he took Don to a nearby lake and observed him so he could qualify to ski in the Nationals.  “That one competitor cared enough to help build the sport,” said Don.

Learning the back deep was the hardest challenge for Don. It took a lot of falls and persistence.   The day he finally made it up off the boom–he had already been in the water for an hour and half at that point. “That’s why they pay 200 points,” he said.  “With barefooting, you never look back, always forward.  If you need a pat on the back and someone saying ‘good job,’ then give it up.  Learn the trick and move on to the next thing.”

“Don is a perfect example of a 72-year-old man going on 40,” said Keith St. Onge.  “He is full of energy and brings others up to his level of fun every day!”

Every now and then, Don has the knack of giving himself two black eyes, the result of smacking into his fists during a faceplant. He just shrugs it off as one of the quirks of the sport.  He has banged himself up so much the doctors at the local hospital featured him in a recent article after knee surgery for a torn ACL. But guess what, Don didn’t tear his ACL while barefooting; he crashed his Harley and ended up with 150 stitches on top of the surgery.

“Hey, bones can heal, chicks dig scars, pain is temporary and glory is forever,” he laughed. “If you follow that, you can become a barefooter.”

Paul Stokes from Madison, Wisconsin recalled a lot of fun moments with Don both on and off the water.  “My favorite memory is from the tournaments in Bush, Louisiana.  We would always take a big group down to Bourbon Street in New Orleans the night before and Don was the life of the party with his quick wit. He kept us entertained all night.  All I can say is the next morning no one wanted to show up for their events.”

A burning passion for the sport and the camaraderie keep Don in the sport year after year.  He is on the water 120 to 140 days a year, sometimes skiing 5 to 7 miles in a day. He is focusing on training the younger generation and expanding the sport.  “The community is like a family, they accept you. I can call up someone anywhere and say ‘I need a pull’ and they show up.  We’re not a family, we’re a cult,” he grinned.

And Don has some advice for the rest of us:

“Live each day to the fullest. We are only passing through, so enjoy it!”

Written by: Karen Putz

New Qualifying Scores for the 2012 Barefoot Worlds

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The World Barefoot Council has released new qualifying scores for independent barefoot water skiers who plan to compete in the 2012 Barefoot Worlds.  The Worlds will be held at the Barefoot Ski Ranch in Waco, Texas from August 26 (Opening ceremony) to September 2, 2012.

From the IWWF website: Qualifying scores must be achieved in an IWWF / WBC Homologated Tournament (Rankings List or Record Capability) during the qualification period:    March 1, 2011 – July 30, 2012 Here are the new qualifying scores:

Qualifying Scores for Independent Entries – 2012 World Championships

The following minimum performances for each division and event are required for independent entries to the 2012 World Barefoot Championships.

*** NOTE: These scores were revised on March 27th, 2012 to reflect the standards set on the 2012 World Ranking List (lower)

MENS                                                                    WOMENS

SLALOM           15.5                                            SLALOM           10.4

TRICKS             4800                                           TRICKS             1750

JUMP               22.2                                              JUMP               9

BOYS                                                                     GIRLS

SLALOM            7.8                                              SLALOM           2.6

TRICKS             1330                                            TRICKS             410

JUMP               8                                                     JUMP               8

GENTLEMEN                                                     LADIES

SLALOM           14                                                   SLALOM             1.9

TRICKS             2400                                             TRICKS             130

JUMP               11.2                                                 JUMP               8

Written by: Karen Putz

Southern Regionals Weekend Recap!!

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The Southern Regionals and bonus rounds were held on Lake David in Groveland, Florida from the 22nd to 24th July.  Once again WBC continued to see new PBs being set as well as more pending National and World Records.

Another stunning day on Lake David!

Ben & Chandler

Chandler Cargile has been doing a phenomenal job skiing in his first ever tournament in May. Since then he has continued to improve at rapid pace and has now qualified in the trick event for the 2012 Worlds and this tournament was no exception with Chandler landing his first ever jump in tournament at 8.6 meters. Congrats Chan!

Kiwi Ben Groen once again did New Zealand and Team WBC proud tricking a potential New Zealand National and Asian Australasian Oceanic record of 9,400.  He also set a new PB in slalom with a 16.6.

Lisa Pressendo accomplished yet another PB in tricks with a score of 2410, making her first ever toe-back in competition and barely missing out on a back to front in her other pass. Way to go girl!!

Carol receiving her medals

Carol Jackson skied above both the Womens 5 trick and slalom National Records with a score of 1,060 in tricks and 5.5 in slalom.

In the bonus round on Sunday Ashleigh Stebbeings from Australia set two more pending World records in Open Womens tricks with a score of 4,650 and 6,350.

A big congratulations to all the other skiers that did PB’s and a huge thanks to the crew down there for organising such a great tournament!! If you would like to see any scores from the tournament head to and follow the links the Southern Region Results.

Banquet (from Left) Lisa, Ben, Chandler, Ash & A.J

By Ashleigh Stebbeings, Australia