Posts Tagged ‘tumble turns’

James Callahan: My WBC Experience

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Hello my name is James. I am 11 years old, and I live in Minneapolis, MN. I am writing this blog to tell you about my WBC (World Barefoot Center) experience. I have been down to the WBC twice now. The first time I went down was in June 2014 with my Grandma. When I went down to the ski school the first time, I had only just learnt how to short rope on the boom. After being at WBC for two days, I progressed to doing a long line deep water start.

I recently went down to the WBC for my second time in October 2014. I had the greatest time of my life. It was the first time that I flew by myself on an airplane to anywhere. At first I was a little scared but after the flight attendants helped me and gave me cookies, it was all good. When I got down to the Tampa Bay, FL airport my Grandpa was picking me up and I could tell he was nervous. He didn’t want to lose me or do something wrong. Then when I got to his place everything was ok. My Grandpa lives down in St. Petersburg, FL so it was very convenient that he lives really close to the WBC ski school.

The next morning we woke up at 6.00am to drive to Winter Haven. When we arrived at the ski school, I met the WBC crew. It was so much fun and everyone was funny and kind. I got to meet David Small, Ben Groen and Keith St. Onge! They are very nice and great teachers.

The second time I was down there for the week I learnt so much like tumble turns, toe holds and back deep starts. I look forward to practicing at home and down in Florida. I am hoping to keep progressing in the sport. Even though I love barefooting, I will also enjoy playing hockey this winter. I can’t wait to get back to WBC and hang out with the gang.

– James Callahan

South Carolina Barefoot Clinic with David Small

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

I had a few days come open in my Summer schedule so I got in touch with Ron Meekes to see if he would want me to come back down to his place for a couple of days.  He asked around and filled the spots within the day so we booked the flight and headed on down.

A few of the crew plus a random guy from the bank that we picked up.... we made his year :)

Ron had the Southern regional championships down on Lake David in Groveland, FL the following weekend so we worked a lot on his trick runs.  His back toe holds on the long line got more efficient as well as figuring out how to make a flying back deep water start not any more complicated than a regular back deep.  He had been struggling with his backward wake crossings so we started out correcting his position on some cut out and then brought these techniques to the wake crossings.  After the second day he was keeping both feet up consistently the whole way down the passes!!!  On one morning we headed out and took ron over the ramp a few times to get him ready for the comp.  He figured out that he did not need to come in to the jump defensive and kick it as hard as possible but to stay on top of his feet (while in a safe position) and simply ride as much of the ramp as possible!

Ron Meekes, the clinic organizer, doing some back toe hold drills

Rons partner in crime, Becki Welsh skied up a storm.  She is an extremely clean skier so I was constantly trying to get her to ski a little bit ‘dirtier’ so that she did not take any unnecessary falls.  Becki managed to get both of her one foot stand ups on her feet as well as getting up backwards consistently!!  Way to go Beck!!

Becki Welsh and Jim Miller watching the other skiers and waiting for their set to come back around

Pat Vella is new to footing but got up on the 5 foot rope on his feet and managed to get his backwards plant on the WBC shoe skis, all in a day!!

Tom Gabey who used to be big in to barefooting until about 10 years ago came out of the woodwork and hit the water after a long stint of not skiing!  He could still go out there and rock out a lot of the tricks he was doing while he was skiing in Nationals etc etc.  He learned all of his stuff back in the day so his style was very ‘old school’.  He wanted to work on his turns and see if we could get them consistent.  He stepped through the spray on most of his turns as well as leading with his head and shoulders so we got him on one shoe ski so that he had no option but to be on the ‘correct’ pivot foot and in just doing this he cleaned up his turns and got him motivated to start skiing again.  Its amazing what happens when new teaching techniques are introduced making barefooting easier which, in turn makes the skier want to ski more 😉  Love it!  Good to see you back on the water Tom!

Chris Fousd also wanted to work on his turns and we also managed to get him to step over on his turns and keep his shoulders level.  I have never seen a guy love doing a backwards toe up as much as Chris does!!  His own little bit of freestyle J At every opportunity he flips over and stands up in his backwards toe hold!!  Very impressive!

Shauwn Sheely skied both days I was there and just wanted to work on his surface turns.  Lat time I was there I made him do 31 turns on his feet.  When I told him what he had to do he wasn’t overly enthusiastic but once he completed the turns he was ecstatic.  Anyway, Shauwn was getting his 4 turns behind the boat on his feet consistently after the couple of days and can now look forward to the joys of learning some multiple turns and expanding his trick run!!

Jim Miller up backwards

Jim also showing us what no man should do...... pee in his suit

Jim Millers ‘thing’ for a while has been getting up backwards.  He had a bit of a confidence issue to start with but after a few talks and progression on the backwards I saw a complete turn around in his attitude towards not only skiing but in himself as a person! He was going out there and believeing that he could get up and loan and behold he managed to get up on his feet backward on the 5 foot and backwards on the WBC shoe skis on the long line!!  Keep that attitude up Jim and stop peeing in your suit ;))

Last but not least we had a special visit from Don Simon.  Don is in his late 60s and still hitting the water hard.  It was a great privilege to see Don ski and do his front one foots, tumble turns and backwards with ease!!!  He is a great ambassador for the sport and is continuing to build the sport as best he can which is great to see!  Thank you Don!

Don Simon getting ready to ski

I had a great few days down there and had the best food!!  Ron and Becki are excellent hosts and its always a pleasure to head down there and see them!

This random guy watched us for a couple of hours on the bank so we picked him up so he could have an up close and personal look at footing.... he LOVED it!!

Written by David Small

New York trip and Barefoot clinic with the Piskuras

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Arrived in to White Planes, Connecticut and the Piskuras picked both my girlfriend and myself up from the airport and took us to their house 45 mins away.  They have a great set up there with their self designed house (with Jimmies man room which is something to be seen J ), Lorraines dental practice and Jimmys Motel that he is renovating all on the same property!  Talk about not having to go very far to work.  Lorraine was away on a sleep apnea conference until the Sunday so we arrived in on the Thursday night so that we could have a few days in NYC to see the sights before hitting the water.

I had never been in to New York before so it was the usual tourist stuff that had to be done.  We started off by taking the train in and arriving in to Grand Central Station, which is a site in itself.

Grand Central Station

From there we ventured to the Rockefeller building where we were going to go up and see the city from a birds eye view however the lady at the desk said that it was far better to see at night so we postponed it until a later date ( that later date never came around as we ended up been too busy to make it in the day and the clouds came in and low in the next couple of days so the night viewing was out as well. Lol. Next time).

Times Square

Times Square was next which is a bizarre thing seeing the hustle and bustle of a big city and then to see a green park with people sunbathing and playing baseball etc in! We walked around the park and ate lunch there and then ventured back in to the city.  We checked out the Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA), which turned out to be free entry for 3 hours which was a result, which is a very cool building and has a lot of ‘interesting; pieces in.  The next day John Swanky, who has been barefooting for decades and seems to know everyone that has ever accomplished something in the sport of barefooting, had us around for a great steak meal at his lakeside house and then took us in the city the next day to have a backstage tour of the Broadway play ‘Spiderman’.  It was a once in a lifetime experience and I never knew how much went on behind the scenes of a play.  Shana and I then checked out the Empire State building and took the tube to see the Statue of Liberty as well as walking around ground zero.  We figured that Manhattan Island isn’t that big so we walked up to see Brooklyn Bridge and then through China town, little Italy and any other miniature cultural blocks until we ended up back in times square where our hotel was… it was a longer walk than I had anticipated and ended up taking us around 2 and a half hours with a couple of bar stops J Our evening was a meal at a nice restaurant followed by checking out 2nd street and a lot of Irish bars with a lot of interesting characters in them 😉

Backstage at Spiderman

The skiing started off on Monday and continued all week with Lorraine (1999 Senior Womens World Champion!!), Jimmy, Emma and Pete Sylvester everyday with others coming for a ski here and there.

Lorraine and Jimmy P

I had been warned about debris in the river that we were skiing on so Lorraine ended up driving for Jimmys first set so that I could concentrate on his skiing and not dodging trees.  This was a good theory until we drove over a submerged log without hitting it and it surfaced right in front of Jimmy doing front wakes at 45 mph.  He had been making some great headway as well in just a few passes! Needless to say it didn’t end well with us having to take him to the hospital (at the end of the day as he refused to go earlier so as to not mess with our skiing…. Tougher than me!!).  They X-rayed his foot and said that he had broken his heel and to stay off it for about 6 weeks.  Since then he has found out that it was not broken and his recovery time had reduced which is always nice to hear!

Jimmys foot

Lorraine had not had a lot of water time prior to me getting there as they had had some terrible weather all Spring which made skiing difficult but she got right out there and work out a lot of kinks in her front and back wakes as well as doing a lot of back to fronts and front to backs on the shoe skis.  Towards the end of the week she was making a few feet to feet back to fronts on her feet and did one that was so slow and clean that I could not believe what I was seeing…. Congrats on that!  She was also attempting front to backs on her feet at the end of the week, making the turn to the back and then just not having the confidence to grab the handle and ski it out but it is the first time she had the confidence to try them on her feet which was HUGE!!  Im looking forward to seeing what she can do when she is ski fit and had water time….. VERY talented! Pete has been footing for a long time as well but had been a little bit of a boom and shoe ski baby for the past few years so we threw him behind the boat a lot on his feet to clean up his slalom.  He is a very good listener and even with his old school style of slalom and straight legs (thought he was dragging his butt on the water when he was almost locked out straight 😉 )  he managed to pick up some new techniques which made him not only faster and cleaner but a lot more consistent.  Lots of back toes and getting into the step position helped him no end with stiff legs and his turns were looking a lot better. Good job Pete!! Petes youngest daughter, Emma, was a star.

Emma perfecting her toe holds using the headzone

Going 'old school' while the Sanger was in for a new impeller

Her attitude was great even when we were out and it was cold and occasionally raining.  She came on leaps and bounds, just a few things she accomplished was her front toeholds, backwards toes and backwards behind the boat!! Emma, I hope you stick with it and I will be looking forward to seeing her and Pete down in FL this winter at the ski school for some fun in the sun.  Mid week Eric Gorman came out and skied a day with us where we just cleaned up a lot of his skiing and we had a great time with him!!

Throughout the week we did get rained out one day and then the impellor broke on the boat so that was out of action for a day so we ended up going ‘old school’ and using Petes Barefoot Nautique which was great fun!!

At the end of the week Lorraine had a long time friend and skier (Sheri Rogers) come on out and even though we got a little rained out in the morning and resorted to going to a nice restaurant in town (life’s hard) we had great water conditions in the evening and finished the week off with some great skiing from the two girls!!

Local winery

Rhubarb wine after 2 days fermenting

We then went and checked out Erics local winery (White Silo Farm & Winery) where he had some wine tasting going on.  I have never had rhubarb wine before but it is amazing, if you are of age and you haven’t tried it then go to his website (www.whitesilowinery.com) and order some!!! He also gave us the tour of the place and showed us the process of making the wine which was great to see!! Thanks Eric!

The boys

The crew

MASSIVE shout out and thanks to both Lorraine and Jimmy for having myself and Shana up there and your hospitality!! You guys are great and it is always a pleasure to be around you both….. even if I needed to go cold turkey from the caffeine once I left (it was great while I was drinking it though).

Waterhawks Whip it up!

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Waterhawk Show Ski Team!

We arrived a day before the clinic began at the Waterhawks ski site near Waterloo, IA.  After we set up the Anytime Fitness National Barefoot Tour Bus up lake side we decided to do some skiing.  John Bunge brought his boat to give us a few pulls on Eagle Lake.  The conditions of this private lake are fantastic.  Later on in the afternoon John informed us that NBC Channel 7 News would be coming out to do a piece on the tour! Checkout the video footage. Click here for video.

Keith St. Onge NBC News

Barefooting gets on TV!

The Waterhawks were happy to have us and since they were missing some skiers, we volunteered and jumped right into show practice.  The next night was the big show for the 4th of July weekend! Wowie the weather forecast was calling for 96 degrees with the heat index of 105 degrees!  With that in mind the clinic started early in the morning to beat the heat. Check out this boat crew!

The only female in the boat Kate Worthington.  Kate had been having some problems in the ski show doing her beach start.  After a few tips and things to think about Kate cleaned up her start and stance.  Now Kate will be confident in her beach start!  Cheer her on the next show!

Austin Walstad from MN came down to ski for the whole day.  Austin’s goal is to be able to take his senior pictures in a couple years, doing a back toe hold.  Keeping that goal in mind Austin worked the basics of he back one foots on he feet and he accomplished both back toe holds on shoe skis!

Back Toe Hold-Austin

A local Tim Schell had barefooted a tiny bit before the clinic.  It was a rough road but once Tim got the hang of it he was barefooting on the five foot handle no problem.  Tim even learned a few tumble turns!

Smooth Deepwater Start! -Tim

Way to go Tim!

Tim’s father Vince Schell joined us for the afternoon session.  Vince had skied on the boom a few times in the past but had not gone any further in his barefooting.  Today Vince learned how to do a front deepwater start and tumble turns!

A Controlled Glide- Vince

Three Point Position-Vince

Yay Vince!

Garrett Bunge was on a roll today!  Before today he had only done one deepwater start behind the boat and he completed 10+ without a hitch! Sweet dude! To top it off Garrett went in the pre show and did his deepwater and skied through the show course!

No Skis Needed!- Garrett

Rocking it out!-Garrett

Skyler Woods is in the barefoot line for the Waterhawks.  Now there will be no need for a ski to step off of, Skyler can do deepwater starts! Skyler added a few tricks to his runs, a toe hold on shoe skis and busted out a few tumble turns. Ya!

Deepwater Start- Skyler

A Lil' Wave From Skyler!

All it all it was a great day, everyone learned something new and more importantly had FUN!

The Amazing HeadZone Helmet- Waterproof Communication

Cooling Off

Thank you Skiers!

By: Keith St. Onge and Lauren Lindeman