Posts Tagged ‘traveling clinics’

Barefoot Water Skiing clinic in Mexico with Keith St.Onge!!

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Barefooting in Mexico!

I’ve traveled around the world and back but Mexico was the one place I have yet to visit.  Actually, South America is still on the list as well. After speaking with Juan Carlos and Gustavo at the world championships in Waco, TX I expressed much interest in coming to their homeland. I contacted Juan Carlos a month afterwards and he said, “Let’s do it…buy a plane ticket and that will confirm everything.” It didn’t take me long. I bought a ticket that night.

Juan Carlos, his wife Edith & I eating Tacos in Mexico City

I arrived in Mexico on March 1st and Juan Carlos was there to pick me up. We went to his house and his wife Edith joined us for a traditional Mexican lunch, which is at 3pm in Mexico. Took me a little while to get used to that!   I love Tex-Mex in the states and I was hoping for something similar. We had taco’s with shaved meat, pineapple, onions and fresh squeezed lime over the top. They call limes, Limón’s down here and they come by the dozen. Fresh “Limón’s” are squeezed over every meal served. I loved that as it brought all the flavors out for the taste buds to go crazy. Lucky I like hot and spicy food because almost every meal was hot but not to the point of sweating thank goodness.

View of the Volcano off my balcony! Gorgeous!!!!

We drove South two hours to Tequesquitengo where his lake house was. The lake sat in a deep whole and I could see walls outlining the perimeter of the lake, which only meant one thing. “Bathtub” effects that I new would be horrible. Juan Carlos quickly confirmed we would not be skiing there and we would drive twenty minutes to Coatetelco where he had a private boat launch on a lake that provided great conditions.

When I woke up the next morning I had a spectacular view of the landscape over the lake. A volcano rose high into the panoramic view. We left for Coatetelco and I was able to reunite with an old time friend, Alejandro Alvarez. Alejandra came to my ski school nine years prior while my good friend Adin Daneker was down. We became the three amigos for a little over a week and had a blast. It was great to see him ski again and we enjoyed reminiscing about the past.

My good friend Alejandro Alvarez

Skiing in Mexico

The site was exactly like our lakes we use at the World Barefoot Center in Winter Haven, FL. The shoreline had reeds on the side of the lake to absorb the rollers and many great shorelines that protected us from the wind. Out of nine days of skiing we hardly experienced any wind at all. Mountains surrounded us and the lake remained glassy throughout the days.

The restaurant on the lake

We launched the boat late that morning and ate lunch “at 3pm” at the local restaurant called Las Vegas. It was more like a bungalow with fire being their source of heat. I was introduced to tortillas everyday for our appetizer, not like the chips and salsa we experience in the states. Shrimp was recommend and it was great but after four days of shrimp I got brave and tried the fish. First I asked for the grilled fish but it has so many bones to pick through it was an hour long process. Next I asked for fried fish, which made it much easier to eat but it took forty five minutes to eat. I then kept it simple and ordered the fried fillet of fish. That was the ticket!

Fried fish was the number one choice be the locals so I tried it!

1st Barefoot day in Mexico! Full boat!

Saturday and Sunday the restaurant was jammed packed. Most people from the city come out to eat in the country as there were at minimum twelve restaurants on the lake. I love it there because they had live mariachi bands playing daily. Even though I don’t understand a lick of Spanish I loved the up beat style of the music. Local kids would come around and sell us peanuts, seeds and anything else they had to try to make a few pesos. Often we bought or gave them something. I gave a few kids an American dollar, which is pretty useless out in the country but may be cool to show around. I also gave them signed posters, brought them in the boat and skied in front of the restaurant to give them all a show.

We brought the kids in the boat and I gave the local kids a show one afternoon

Wicca, Juan Carlos’s dog loved to grab the handle and drag while being pulled over the jump ramp!
Wicca Jumping

We took an afternoon to visit the worlds largest under ground cave in length and height.

Beautiful cave 45min. from Taxco, Mexico. You can see how large the cave is by looking at the people in the lower right hand corner.

Following that we visited the city of Taxco, which is known for mining silver. There were small shops, a gorgeous church and great views as the city is built on a mountainside that reminded me of Greece, minus the ocean. The funniest thing about Taxco was the hundreds of white VW bugs that covered the streets as taxicabs.

Having lunch over looking a beautiful church & Taxco

Greece without the ocean

The next morning we woke up a little earlier and visited old ruins that were built hundreds of years ago. Fascinating history!  They played a game with a small stone similar to basketball. The playing field was built on a slanted course with two wooden wheels on opposite sides each having a hole in it. The winner was sacrificed to the Gods. Juan Carlos says that is why Mexico doesn’t have an superb athletes, of course he was just joking and I got a good laugh.

Temples over looking the lake we barefoot skied on

Ancient games played like basketball. The ring/hoop seems to be in the middle of this arena as the other fields had the ring/hoop on either side up one level.

Temple grounds

Gustavo and Juan Carlos cleaning their position up and learning 1ft. – 1 hands before moving onto front toe holds.

Gustavo working his 1ft. - 1hand

Gus doing his first toe hold on shoes

Juan Carlos working the 1ft. - 1 hand

Juan Carlos cleaning up his front toe hold

A few of the locals.

Local boys on their horses

Laura learning how to barefoot water ski on the shoe skis first.

Laura trying it for the first time

Everyday glass.

I love the iPhone Panorama option on my phone!

Carlos Garcia came out to see what we were up to. Carlos is one of Mexico’s legends in three event skiing and held Mexico’s jump record for twenty plus years. He was also known for his barefoot water skiing skills. His claim to fame was a trick he perfected that always got the crowd on their feet. You can find video’s on YouTube of him doing this. He would fall onto his back purposely looking as though he had fallen and then pull himself around and stand back up. Remember, he had an old life jacket on with three layers of jean shorts was all. Watching the video is quite amazing.

Mexico's Legend Carlos Garcia & Keith St.Onge

It was a pleasure to meet Carlos as I love the history of our sport. He invited me to do a demonstration at his well-known restaurant on the water. He was hosting a private party for the Secretary of Tourism and I was honored to do it. Catch was, it would be at 9pm. We arrived and I was able to meet many other water ski historians like Muchalo. He was the one that promoted and taught people how to ski in Mexico since nearly the beginning. He has a ski school and was even the one who taught Juan Carlos how to water ski for the first time.

First time up backwards for Chappa

Chappa made me laugh because he was screaming the whole time. He had a right too because it was his first time up backwards! Congrats buddy!

Local goats and crops being brought back by horse.

Letting the goats cross the road before continuing

Corn stocks being brought into town

I have never seen so many horses and donkeys in the street in my life. Definitely cool to experience and see. The locals are so resourceful they don’t let anything go to waist. I saw horses carrying wood, peanuts, corn, sugar cane, three people at a time etc… I even witnessed locals using fifteen foot bamboo poles with a hook on the end to retrieve fruits and nuts from massive trees on the side of the road. My favorite by far though…buying coco’s. Spanish for a coconut. $1.00 or 13 Pesos for a real coconut that they would cut a hole into and serve with a straw. Fresh coconut water that you could later cut open and eat!

My new good friends Juan Carlos and Gustavo!! Love these guys!

My new good friends Juan Carlos on the left and Gustavo on the right. Thank you both so much for your hospitality!

Gustavo’s daughter Mariana, who learned so much and plans on going to the next World Championship.   She has so much passion and achieved front toe holds on the shoe skis and back one foots on the shoe skis.

Mariana looking clean on her feet!

Bart: This 22 year old learned so much, so fast. Most people would hardly believe me but here it is. He barefoot skied one time on the boom before we met. He learned on foots on his feet, front toe holds on shoe skis, tumble turns, back deep on his feet on his third attempt, back one foots on shoes, back one foot one hand on shoes, both basic and reverse back toe holds on shoes done on his first attempt. Barefooting behind the boat on his feet on his 1st attempt, tumbles behind the boat, crossing the wake on shoes behind the boat, one foots on shoes behind the boat. Remember this is all done in six relatively short sets, which makes a day and a half of skiing. So, why not try a back to front on the boom while we’re at it right? Also remember, we were using the HeadZone helmets exclusively, which makes for faster and easier learning.
“Ok, do as I say and we’ll do a back to front.” I said to Bart has he was skiing on shoe skis. “Knees and feet together, weight on the right foot, handle into the small of your back, eyes and head up as high as possible. Now, just hold your position, turn to your left and let go.” He came to the front beautifully but caught a tip and fell. “Let’s try it again!” I said. He was more than ready to try it again! Next one he nailed along with several more to follow. Nearly flawless on the last one so I said, “Front to back.” Go up and down for your up weight and turn as you come up. Finally, something he couldn’t do nor come close to doing on his first attempt but absolutely sensational skiing and talent was witnessed those few days. We hope he continues to stay with it so he can also compete in the next world championships!

I hope to see this young man at the next World Championships!

I was treated like a king, ate like a king and will remember this trip for a lifetime! I can’t wait to go back actually! Juan Carlos and I have talked about doing a yearly clinic in Mexico with the option of making it open to whoever wants to come. Obviously it will be limited to a first come, first served basis. If we can spark enough interest this trip would be a package deal. Two days of skiing, a day to tour around and another two days of skiing. Simply driving to the ski site and eating there is an experience all in it’s own. From there you can go and do as you please. Acapulco is only two hours away and we plan on scouting the waterways in Acapulco for a future clinic. Please contact the WBC or I to let us know if you’d be interested in Barefoot Water Skiing in Mexico. A trip of a lifetime!

Thank you so much to Juan Carlos, Laura, Gustavo, Mariana, Claudia, Lulu, Edith, Chappa and everyone else who made my trip so memorable. I didn’t only gain great experiences but lifelong friends as well.  I look forward to going back in the near future!

Keith St.Onge


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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

Dave Ramsey helping out the World Barefoot Center

Friday, January 6th, 2012

After reading Dave Ramsey’s book EntreLeadership, many things he shared in his book sunk deep into my slowly maturing mind.  I figured since he listened to me during a few clinics I hosted with him, why not listen to him?  All kidding aside, Dave did everything I told him during the barefoot waterskiing clinic even when I knew he did not want to. He accomplished great things on the water as a result.  I also do the things Dave preaches on his website, live events and his books, even though saving money can be difficult.  He trusts me and I trust him.

After reading about “Mission Statements” in EntreLeadership, I introduced the idea to my team at the World Barefoot Center.  Our business has grown immensely in under three years and now that we had a solid foundation, it was time to create a mission statement.

Dave Ramsey and World Champion Keith St.Onge Barefoot Water Skiing

Should we have had a “Mission Statement” from the beginning?  Yes.  As a small business in its early stages, it would have been great to have from the beginning to keep everyone focused.  If we would have had a statement, I’m positive it would have changed us, as we were being pulled in many different directions during the beginning years.  A Mission Statement would have given us direction and motivation.  When everyone is looking in the same direction with the same task and goals at hand, you have a powerful ship moving full steam ahead.  That’s what a Mission Statement does.

We decided to all write a mission statement within a few days; meet again and share our ideas with one another.  Our master writer, AJ Porreca, took our statements and wrote several models using various sentences we provided.  We all gave our opinions on what we liked and did not like and finally came up with our “Mission Statement” for the World Barefoot Center.  I can truly say I am proud to be a part of a TEAM that represents our “Mission!”  We believe in our mission statement so much we are going to paint it on the wall of the ski school:

“To build champions on and off the water, show commitment to the improvement of our students beginner to advanced and utilize our business as a catalyst to ignite passion and growth within the sport.”

As I pass the book, EntreLeadership, to my team to read, I look forward to practicing what Dave preaches.  Just as my students at the WBC ski school trust in me to practice what I preach.

Thank you for your guidance and friendship, Dave!

By: Keith St.Onge

Barefooting Tricks

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Waterhawks day 3

The weather has cooled down and it was a bit overcast today but we are happy!  2-3mph wind, now thats awesome! All day we had glass water to work with, a barefooters dream!

John Bunge starts us off for the day!  John is an avid footer and has even visited us down in Winter Haven, Florida at our ski school the World Barefoot Center.  Today John worked his back one foots, on the shoe skis.  That is an awesome accplishment in itself but John took it a step further and was able to get his foot up on the line.  Impressive!

Nice back one foot!

One Foot One Hand- John Bunge

Next up was Josh Seamans the clinic organizer.  Josh was on a roll today, busting out new tricks right and left!  He completed his first back one foot one hand, back toe hold, and started working on surface turns! ATTENTION: Mrs. Seamans incase you needed an idea for Christmas in July for Josh he may have a Back Toe Handle on the list:) Just click the link and we will ship it to you right away!

Back Toe Hold! - Josh Seamans

All around great skier Garth Peter came out for the afternoon.  Garth can back barefoot, starting with a step off so today we worked on the back deep.  Check it out!

Back Deepwater Start!- Garth Peter

Bryan Baldwin knows what its like to backwards barefoot but just couldn’t get up consistantly.  Its been a year since Bryan has attempted it and now look at him go!  Keith worked with Bryan on the shoe skis to get the correct postion so on his feet it should be no problem!

Backwards Barefoot Position- Bryan Baldwin

Robert or Bobby Peterson loves to be out on the water.  He was determined to get up backwards, with his hard efforts Bobby did it! Woo Hooo!

Foot'N Backwards!- Bobby Peterson

Thank you boys for coming it we enjoyed every minute in the boat with you!

By Keith St. Onge & Lauren Lindeman

Being a Tourist in PA, for a Day!

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

We played tourist!

Our first stop Hershey, PA.  Mmmm the smell of the chocolate was mouthwatering.  We went on a tour through Chocolate World and learned about the entire

process of making the Hershey chocolate bar.  After the tour we walked through the store with walls of candy, it was spectacular.  On our way out of

town we waved goodbye to Hershey Kiss street lights.

Kisses Street Lights

Visiting Hershey PA

Not to far a drive and we visited the city of Landcaster and then onto the Amish Villages.  The tour informed of of the Amish way of life as we toured

through an old house.  It is a simple way of life that is extremely home and family oriented.  It’s a nice refresher to realize you can be perfectly

happy with family and the bare neccesities.  Life doesn’t have to be complicated like we make it out to be a good majority of the time.  Keep life

simple, be happy!

Amish Boy

Valley Forge National Park is located near the clinic site of our next tour stop.  We jumped on our bikes and headed for the trail, half way across the

parking lot we heard a loud PPPSSSSSSSSSTTTTTT noise.  Keith’s bike had a flat tire.  We decided to run walk the park, it was nice to see all the

history and get a workout at the same time.  We are truely thankful for all those who have fought and are fighting for our FREEDOM! God Bless them all!

Footing on the Mon River-Morgantown,WV

Monday, May 30th, 2011

The Mon river in Morgantown, West Virginia is a prestine place for footers to get there feet wet. Rarely will you see another boat, except for the coal barges that pass by every now and then. This mountianous area has tons of history but it is most well known for coal mining.  All along the river sits barges filled to the top with coal, it is amazing.

Ready for a Flyer?

Coal Plant on the River

Footers Ready to Hit the Water!

The barefoot clinic organizer Neil O’hara hosted a spectactular clinic. Great boats, sites, even Channel 12 News covered the event and did a story on the Anytime Fitness National Barefoot Tour with Keith St. Onge. Neil has a love for the water, when he gets out there the smile on his face says it all. Barefooting is addicting as many of you know, Neil is making an effort to promote the sport of barefoot waterskiing in the community. We applaude his enthusiasm and are happy to be included in his efforts. A big thank you to Neil for your hospitality and organization.

Front Toe Hold- Neil O'Hara

After: Keith Tweaked his position!

Before:Keith Tweeked his Position

Barefooter Neil O'hara

Unfortunately work comes before play. John Boyd works in the coal mines and was called in early in the AM on the first clinic day. Even though John was not able to make it out he was kind enough to let us use his boat for the clinc. Thank you for kindness, we appreciate it.

Barges Full of Coal

Heather Towers footer, mother, and all around great person. Heather’s upbeat personality keeps her working hard for more in the barefoot world. Working on barefoot surface turns is extremely difficult and time consuming, Heather takes one day at a time. Before we know it Heather will be spinning like a top on the water. Keep it up, we are rooting for you!

The Amazing Barefooter- Heather Towers

Barefoot Turns- Heather Towers

Does this Helmet have Goggles? :)

He didn’t compete last year but Kevin Towers is getting back into the barefoot world and plans on competeing in the 2012 Worlds Championships, Waco, Texas. Kevin has a love for music, his boat is decked out with speakers galore. It has been tested and proven that behind his boat a barefooter can hear the music from the boat clear as day, and we thought only wakeboarders did that. Kevin has a natural talent and drive that will allow him to succeed greatly. Keep your eyes open for Kevin’s posted scores this next year.

Front Wakes- Kevin Towers

Listen to Tunes and Foot

Kevin and Heather Towers

Cody Ebbert is a frequent visitor of the World Barefoot Center down in Winter Haven, Florida. His competing scores have sky rocketed from all of his hard work and tailored training. Turns are not a problem for Cody, he has smooth turns, now he is moving on to toe turns:) Cody is motivated and we look forward to seeing what scores he posts this summer.

Front Slalom- Cody Ebbert

Toe Turn-Cody Ebbert

Does Hair Sticking Out Make You Better?

Cody’s father Greg Ebbert, what a joy to have in the boat; Greg kept us laughing the whole day. Greg has been a barefoot enthusiast for years. For being so early in the season Greg is skiing extremely well. This summer we are cheering him on to complete all four turns behind the boat!

Driving the Boat

Front to Back-Greg Ebbert

Female footers are sometimes hard to come by but Diane has her head in the game and goes footing with the boys. Ski partners Greg and Cody encourage Diane to keep it. Last year was the first time Diane competeted, since then she has learned boat loads:) We hope to see you at the WBC Women’s Week in November. Click here for more info on Women’s Week http://www.worldbarefootcenter.com/barefootblog/category/womens-barefoot-week

Back One Foot- Diane

Keith Coaching Diane on Backwards Position

Did your college professor barefoot waterski? Mike Strager is a professor at West Virginia University and has a passion for footing! Thats cool! Mike has the right idea, work in the winter and ski all summer long, thats the life. Focusing on following the correct steps to advance is a main goal of Mike’s and we applaud him for that. As funny as it may sound its not everyday that someone wants to learn baby steps and not jump to the extreme stuff right away. Mike is on the right track and he hope that he follows his plans and enters a tournament this summer! Go Mike!

One Foot One Hand- Mike

Proffessor Mike

Front Toe Hold- Mike

Kris joined the barefooting world this week. We are happy to share this common addiction of barefooting with you. Kris worked from the WBC shoe skis on the boom, then to his feet, and he ended the day with a front deep on the shortline. Great progress, way to go Kris!!!

Kris barefooting on the boom! Woo Hoo!

Neil, Kris and Keith St. Onge

Kris Shoe Skiing on the Shortline

Zack Dell 11 years old, puts his feet in the waters for the first time!  We started Zack out on the swing and he surpassed it quickly.  With a smile on his face he proceeded to the boom on his barefeet and did great.  Keep practicing and next summer we can teach you a few tricks:)

Zack our Newest Barefooter!

Zack Barefooting on his BAREFEET!