Posts Tagged ‘US Gear’

Best Barefoot Ski School, Biggest Barefoot Ski School & Most Affordable Barefoot Ski School

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Saying we are the Best Barefoot Ski School may be a little biased, but here are a few reasons we could be considered to be the best:

The best Barefoot Water Skiers in the World own and work at the WBC: David Small and Keith St.Onge have won the last six world titles, Ashleigh Stebbeings is the #1 female barefoot water skier in the world and Ben Groen is ranked #4 in the world.  There are some athletes that should only be athletes and not coaches or instructors but these four individuals have the common sense to be both.  Our instructors will not only provide a great service but they are safety conscious and provide a fun atmosphere in the boat while learning.

We have the best equipment and boats.  We use all Barefoot International products (Boom, Tower, Tower Extension), provide shoe skis and ropes & handles by US Gear.  Our boats are a little older, but that is entirely due to the wear and tear these boats go through on a daily basis.  The Sanger outboards have a flat wake, no chin spray off the side and are powered by brand new Evinrude engines.

The World Barefoot Center is the Largest Barefoot Ski School in the history of the sport.  This is a fact because:

We have four boats, fully equipped.
We have five top-level instructors that have titles as professionals, top four on the ranking list, hold world records, and years of experience.
We have four lakes which we use and can accommodate any wind direction.
We have a fully-stocked pro shop.
Our instructors are available seven days a week.
We pulled 22 skiers in one day, which is a record as far as we have ever heard.

Most Affordable prices:
Our clients can simply do their homework and Google our competitors prices.  The World Barefoot Center prices are the most reasonable, affordable, and fair-priced compared to any other barefoot ski school.

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Clinic in California at Diablo Shores with David Small…

Friday, August 10th, 2012

I left the cold weather behind when I left the Twin Cities and landed in to sunny San Francisco where Dave Naddy picked me up.  Jerry Kanawyer sorted the clinic out but as it was his 50th birthday a few days before my arrival he was throwing a party at his house and had to stay behind and organize the band, tents and the other logistical nightmares that go with hosting a party 😉 After leaving the low cloud of the city and driving through the hills we got to Diablo Shores and was greeted with glass clam blue water and not a cloud to be seen…….. perfection!!!!

jerrys bday hat

Shot of the lake on my arrival :)

Jerry and Adin Danneker were skiing all week and are both training for the up coming World Championships in Waco Texas this Summer so it was a pleasure to work with them and get them more competition ready.  Both Jerrys and Adins slalom came on leaps and bounds as well as Adins turns getting a lot better and Jerry figuring out his line step position as well as dabbling with his surface turns.

Jerry and Adin suiting up

Adin showing his jumping skills

Mark Hobson was down most of the week with his 13 year old niece, Mackenzie, who only started bare footing on my last visit last Summer.  She is now getting up long line on her feet, doing sit down and stand ups, starting in to tumble turns, working on her ones foots and starting in to backwards!!! Very proud of you Mac!! Last year Mark couldn’t get up longline backwards or do one foots forwards.  He is now rocking long line back wakes out, back one foots behind the boat, can hall ass on front wakes and can ride toe holds.  If anyone wants to see a guy enthusiastic about bare footing then this is your man…. pleasure to be around and to ski with and I’m looking forward to coming back after Nationals and skiing with him again and possibly seeing his new baby girl if she has arrived by the start of Aug 😉

Mark Hobson showing us how to wake slalom

13 year old Mac ..... its the only pic i had Mac, sorry.... She was getting up long line on her feet but i didn't get a shot

Andy Conway, who is gentile giant was looking good on his backward one foot wake crossings as well as getting a lot more consistent with his front slalom.

At the start dock at the Diablo Shores open tournament

Jenna Gernstein who is 15 years old and trying to qualify to ski in the Junior World Championships also came for a few days.  She lives in San Diago and skies with Art. She has been skiing since she was 3 years old and is very stable out on the water…. and if she practiced her reverses more than once a year would be a very well rounded skier 😉 lol.

Jenna showing off for the camera

After the week clinic Jerry had a tournament at his lake where he had a good turn out as well as putting on a driver and safety clinic after the skiing was done.  There were some good scores posted.  It wasn’t a RC tournament but I skied 13250 in tricks and 19.2 in slalom which I was happy with.

As much as i tried to skydiving while i was there we were starting early in the morning and then by the time we were done the winds always picked up (water was still glass) and the place thats close to Jerrys is notorious for accidents…… I have Swampy in my head telling me he will kill me if i injure myself jumping out of a perfectly good plane so i decided to wait until i return in a month or so :0

charlie not giving up his stick

Written by : David Small

AKA  Small’z

David Small barefoot clinic in Connecticut with the Piskuras

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

I got a  lift halfway from Boston to Connecticut where Charlie and I hung out at a Starbucks, people watching and attracting women (having a toy poodle has its perks ya know :) ), while we waited for Lorraine to get there and pick me up.  We went straight to the Piskuras house where Charlie had the pleasant welcome from their German Shepard as its tried to eat him…. luckily she has a muzzle on or Charlie would be no more….. They were friends at the end of the week….. kind of 😉

People watching at Starbucks

Charlie and the Shepherd trying to bond on a walk....

Johnathon Marines, who had been skiing down at the World Barefoot Center for the previous 5 weeks, was already there and waiting as he was skiing for 4 days. We had a little bit of time to kill so we loaded up the car with the 4 of us and two dogs and headed to the hills for a short hike.  It is beautiful there and was great way to loosen up after a long drive.

The Nuffie trying to figure out what its supposed to do with Charlie

Lorraine (Senior World Ladies Champion) skied all week long and is training for this up coming Worlds in Texas.  We worked hard on her front and backwards wake crossings and by the end of the week was doing both her basic and reverse back one foot wakes which is a huge achievement!!! Congrats!  We also changed her jumping technique so that she can stay more on her feet up the ramp as well as cleaning up her back to front, back toes, step position, and tumbles to one foot.  Its always a pleasure to see Lorraine ski!

lorraine showing off her back toe hold skills

Jimmy P managed to fit in a fair few sets this year and unlike last year when he hits tree managed to ski till the end of the week uninjured.  His back one foots long line got a lot better as did his front one foot wakes and impressed everyone in the boat with his long line back tumble ups!!!

Jimmy P looking nervous as last year this was the same time of day and place on the river when he had a disagreement with a tree while footing.... the tree won last time ;)

Johnathon skied up a storm in the 4 days!!  His wakes came on leaps and bounds, turns got cleaner and he is getting along very nicely with his invert jumping!!  This kid last year was tricking 1300, didn’t jump and could hardly do front one foot wakes……. after training hard this winter with his dad and down at the WBC he is now doing multiple turns, front and back one foot wakes and invert jumping long line!!!!!! Unreal skiing and its great to see the progression in such a short amount of time!

Johnathon sleeping

Johnathon had a fight with a stick..... Johnathon won

More sleeping

More sleeping

Father and son taking a nap

Big John Martines did a lot of sleeping in the boat considering he was chafing Johnathon for his boat sleeping antics :)  He also skied well with doing his toe up long line, figuring out how to step over on his turns and generally cleaning up his skiing style.

Big John got a little tired

Pete, Emma and Jen Sylvester came out and skied.  Jen only came for the Friday but did great with getting up long line on her feet as well as getting up backwards!!  Pete had a full week skiing and learned that it doesn’t have to be painful and you don’t have to beat yourself up when learning new stuff.  He skied great with no hard falls and learned toe ups, how to slalom correctly with little effort and a lot more consistency, better back one foot and how to ski smart.  Emma did amazing.  She learned her reverse back toe hold, step position, was getting up backwards longline no probs, long line one foots on feet, and had some great tumble turns!!

Emma keeping an eye out for debris

Jenn perfecting her butt ride with the help of the head zone helmet

Chris, Pete, the Martines and Lorraine huddled at the back corner to stop the spray for 10 foot boom jumping

Pete brought his two nephews out for a couple days skiing.  They both did great with Lucas learning his but ride, one foots on his feet as well as coming along well with his backwards.  Im looking forward to seeing his progression and skiing with him this winter down at the ski school!! Jordan got up long line, worked backwards, and did some good one foots on the shoe skis.

Lucas and Johnathon enjoying a run in after a full day

Jordan getting ready

Chris came down to do some jumping and we were trying to get his landings more consistent.  We only managed a couple of jump sets due to wind and him having to leave early for work but he did also do great in correcting his turns!!

Chris sorting his back one foots

Andy came with the hope of getting a front to back on his feet by the end of his day on the water but we figured out that he was trying to do his reverse turn.  We cleaned all 4 turns up on the WBC shoe skis and then went to his feet.  His back to fronts were great and he got very close on both his basic and reverse FB.  Keep working on it buddy and you will have those in no time.

Don Stoppe flew his own plane to the clinic for a couple of days where we worked his jumping as well as cleaning up his turns, and basic positioning on his skiing.  Don always brings a high level of excitement in to the boat and its great to see someone so enthusiastic about the sport!!  Thanks for making the trip out Don and ill see you in a couple of weeks!

Don got hungry and fancied some sushi mid way through his set

We had some funny weather come in but mostly had some amazing ski conditions out there which made for an amazing week of skiing!!  On the friday we ended a little early and managed to get to ‘The Ranch Skydive Center” in NY where I did a sit fly skydive and Emma, Pete and Jen did there first tandem jumps…. was great to see them go up and they were all so pumped up on landing!!!  Good times!!!

Pete getting suited up for this first skydive

Emma, Jen and myself suited up for some fun in the skies :)))

Alex Straus also came on out and skied up a storm.  He hadn’t really had a lot of water time before but got very comfortable backwards as well as long line forwards!!  Great to see!

Alex Straus Sorting his back barefoot position out

Massive thanks to the Lorraine and Jimmy for organizing this week and being so hospitable!!

Written by David Small…. AKA Small’z

Clinic across the pond in my old stomping grounds…… Great Britain!!!!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

You will have to excuse the lack of pictures of skiing etc. in this one as my phone had been dropped in the river before this clinic so I was phone less.

I arrived back in the UK in to Stansted airport….. if anyone has the choice not to fly in to this place then take it even if it costs more as it is the worst airport in the World!!! What should have taken us an hour and a half drive to get home took 4!!!!! Not cool. Anyway, we needed up going straight to the curry house where the long, stop start journey was forgotten and replaced by a beer and a spicy Indian dish :)  The next morning I drove down to the Cotswolds, picked up the boat, dragged Ted Baber out of bed and headed to the lake.  Id forgotten how beautiful the English countryside is, I had also forgotten how this gets overpowered a lot of the time by the terrible weather that we have over there.  We put the boat in on Kuka, which is a tiny little lake and very well protected from the wind.

Back home for a curry with everyone.... O, how I miss curries

It was great to see that the 7 days filled up and there was new blood getting in to the sport with a couple of guys heading all the way down from Manchester for a days skiing. We needed up with around 15 different skiers throughout the week ranging from 10 years old to upper 50s.  Even though we had rain, wind, boats brewing down left, right and center the week was a huge success and a huge shout out goes to everyone that skied in the clinic and the guys that helped out with boats and accommodations…. Paul Turner, Dave & Lisa Baber, Whitehouse clan and the great Mechanic down the road that got the Malibu running again.

Ted, Charlotte and Katie and myself enjoying the UK sunshine ;)

Carl showing off his skills

Ted Baber skied the whole time i was there and Carl Barnett skied for a full 5 days……. impressive stuff as it was cold on some mornings…. brrrr.  Ted had just come back from staying in Florida for 3 months at the World Barefoot Center where he was getting ready for the World Championships. Coming back and skiing on cold, backwashy water where the lake isn’t long enough to do a tournament pass took the poor little bugger a bit of getting used to but he worked it out and got back in to his multiple turns on his feet behind the boat with consistency….. Remember Tedward……. it is all character building matey 😉

Lunch at a country pub to break up the day

Loaded up in the Malibu with BI boom, flyhigh and tower and ready to go!!!

We had Carls better half get up on the bar which was great to see as well as young Harrisons dad and sister giving it a go for the first time and Bibby Curtis came over on a couple of afternoons after she got done with her GCSE exams.  Great work on getting new blood in to the sport!

John Whitehouse getting up for the first time :))

Harrison skied well with accomplishing his back deeps with consistency.  If any of you want to hear a funny story then ask Harrison about borrowing my suit last year and learning to barefoot. lol.

Harrison getting up backwards for the first time using the WBC shoe skis and Headzone helmet

Paul Turner, the UK team manager came on up for 2 days with another new barefooted from his neck of the woods as well as Clive Wilsdons daughters are getting in the sport now and both of them managed to stand up backwards and were working on their forward sit down stand ups as well as tumble turns and one foots.  You keep it up girls and show your old man how it is done.

Bibby Curtis

Written by ; David Small AKA Small’z

New and innovating teaching techniques used by the WBC…. HeadZone Helmets!!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Teaching how to stand on feet using the HeadZone Helmet and the swing

We all know that Barefoot Waterskiing is one of the most exciting and adrenaline filled sports out there but this also has its difficulties when learning.  When we get a lot of beginners skiing at the World Barefoot Center and a lot of the time they find it difficult to concentrate on what they have to do out on the water as they are so excited to stand up or have a sensory overload with being pulled across the surface of the water at speed :)

HeadZone Helmet allowing the student to relax in the butt ride position

What we used to have to do was to pick our battles and only give students one or two things to think about when they are out there…. this leaves a lot gaps which takes a lot of time to fill.  This problem was then solved when we started using HeadZone helmets. These are comfortable helmets with speakers in so that we, as instructors, can talk the skiers through every step when they come to it.

69 year old Judy Myers being taught how to get in to the backwards step position using the head zone helmet and WBC shoe skis

We can now talk to the student in the water before their next ski pass about what they are doing wrong and how they need to correct it in detail and then walk them through each step with the use of the HeadZone helmet.  This new and innovating teaching technique is allowing our students to relax on the water due to not having to worry about remembering what the instructor was talking about and learn at an accelerated rate with reduced falls.

We have been getting amazing results in the past couple of years from using these helmets and if you haven’t tried one yet then come on down to the school and see how fast you can progress with the help of the WBC and HeadZones.

Written by

David Small

Small’z

World Barefoot Center Figure 8 Series

Friday, December 30th, 2011

The 2011 year for figure eight barefooting was more exciting than ever.  From Peter Flecks dominance of Footstock, to 4 different winners in the 4 individual events that make up the World Barefoot Center Figure Eight Series, which ultimately ended with a tie between Keith St Onge and Ron Blouw for the series championship.  What follows is a recap of the WBC figure eight series events from 2011.

The WBC figure eight series started in June at Footapalooza in Rolling Prairie Indiana.  26 footers participated and Marc Donahue started 2011 where he left off in 2010, by winning the event over Keith St Onge.  In the first run of the finals, Marc and Keith completed 3 and ½ 8’s, which ended up being the longest run of the day, when Keith beat Marc to give them each one loss.  Marc turned back around and beat Keith on the run off after 2 and ½ 8’s.  JJ Link took third with Ben Dieser a strong fourth, followed by Ron Blouw in fifth.  The event takes place on a private lake and the view is spectacular from the shore.  This is a great venue for a figure eight event.

JJ Link, Marc Donahue, Keith St.Onge

JJ Link , Marc D, Keith St Onge,

The next stop in the series was the Glen Meuller Figure Eight Challenge that takes place in St Louis, where 39 footers took to the water on a lake that only opens to ski boats on this one day for this tournament.  This event offered prizes for the “best fall”, the “first 8”, and the “longest 8”, as well as the standard  top finishers receiving awards.  This event was won by Ron Blouw who needed to beat the undefeated Tim Knoezer twice as he was coming from the loser’s bracket.  JJ Link again finished third, followed by Keith St Onge and Greg Fatla.  The event takes place at a private country club, and is run by Tim Knoezer and Anthony Gramalino.  If you get there early you can watch the ski show the night before.

Tim Knoezer, Ron Blouw, JJ Link

Tom Knoezer, Ron Blouw, JJ Link

The third event in the series is the Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge.  This is just one of the many events in the Clean Lakes Festival, located in Madison Wisconsin.  This event was won by Jon Debelak, who had to come from loser’s bracket to beat a previous Clean Lakes figure 8 champion Paul Stokes twice.  Ron Blouw finished third, just ahead of his cousin Eric DeVries who was a strong fourth and Aaron Schoezel was fifth.  One of the really cool things about this event is it’s proximity to downtown Madison.  As is expected for any event in the figure eight series, this event was well run by Bob Manke and Paul Stokes.

Paul Stokes against Mike Netzer in Madison, WI

The last event in the series takes place at the World Barefoot Center.  This event had 32 barefooters competing.  David Small held off his business partner Keith St Onge to win his second consecutive title in this event.  David and Keith did 8 after 8 in the two final runs, with Keith winning the first run to give David his first loss.  David was just two solid to beat twice in a row and David won the run off over Keith.  Ben Dieser  finished third ahead of Marc Donahue and Ron Blouw. Like last year, there was an awards presentation located at the WBC ski school with food and drinks.  The world Barefoot Center was a great host for the event.

Swampy, David_Small, Keith_St_Onge, Ben Dieser, Marc Donahue, Ron Blouw at the WBC Figure 8 Finals

Swampy, David Small, Keith St Onge, Ben Dieser, Marc Donahue, Ron Blouw

In the overall standings, Ron Blouw and Keith St Onge ended in a tie for the points lead, with Marc Donahue in third.  Just how close was it?  The two footers each finished with 125 points.  Neither footer finished lower than 5th in any event, Ron had a 1st, a 3rd and a 5th, while Keith had two 2nds, and a 5th.  Each footer had 2 wins in the finals, with Ron coming from the loser’s bracket to win twice in the final round in St Louis, and Keith came from the loser’s bracket in Indiana and in the WBC tournament to win on the first run each time, only to lose the next run in both instances.  Each footer finished in the top three 2 times.  They faced each other twice and each won once.  It was indeed too close to call.

The entire series was very competitive with multiple winners in the individual events.  Of the top three finishers in the individual events, there were 9 different footers to finish in the top 3, with Keith, Ron, and JJ the only three to place in the top three twice.  The event was very competitive.  The events attracted multiple footstock winners and other figure eight winners.

Keith St.Onge, Ron Blouw & Marc Donahue

Keith St Onge, Ron Blouw, Marc Donahue

This is a great series and the events went off very smoothly with great leadership.  The WBC figure eight series motto is “no one left on the beach” and the tournament allowed duct tape to prevent blisters and either deep water starts or starts from a step off ski.  It allowed for beginners as well as advanced footers to compete against each other.  All ages were included with men and women competing head to head, there were even two sets of husbands and wives competing in the Florida event.  This is a great way to get to know other barefooters who have a similar passion for the sport.  It is also a way to go head to head with some of the best barefooters in the world, and who knows….anything might happen.  If you have never tried a figure 8, join us at one of the events for next year, I bet you will get hooked.  The event was sponsored by Reef Safe Sun Care, US Gear, and the World Barefoot Center.

By: Ron Blouw & Keith St.Onge

The World Barefoot Center is the place to go to improve your Barefoot Water-Skiing.

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The World Barefoot Center is continuing to prove itself as the best Barefoot Waterskiing ski school for both beginners and elite.  We have been producing some amazing athletes in the 3 event scene and have had a lot of new students coming to the ski school to learn to barefoot for the very first time or to try some Barefoot freestyle .  Our success in coaching comes down to a few factors…..

1, We have the best Barefoot water-skiers in the World teaching at the school.. David Small, Keith St Onge,  AJ Porreca and Ben Groen who are ranked 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th in the World.

2, We have the best weather and water conditions at the ski school. With 3 houses on 3 of the chain of lakes we have a lot of options of where to ski and can easily travel through the canals to find long stretches of glass calm water if needed.  With the school based in central Florida, the school has year-round, great weather.

3, The best equipment is used at the ski school.  We use Sanger boats which are powered by Evinrude E-tec motors.  There are 3 jumps permanently in the water so jumping is readily available on a variety of wind directions. We have all of the boats rigged up with Barefoot International towers, fly highs, training booms, all sizes of shoe skis, barefoot swings, US Gear handles, and ropes.  We utilize Head Zone helmets, which allow the coaches to talk to the skier while skiing.  The use of Head Zone helmets dramatically reduces learning times.

With all of these things combined, the World Barefoot Center is the place to go to learn how to walk on water.

Roomy Sanger

Womens week in the Mag.

Getting the BI Fly High rigged up

All 3 boats ready to go

7 year old sitting in the swing learning how to barefoot

7 Year old usinfootsg the shoe skis and Head Zone to learn how to do some one

By : David Small

Barefoot Water Skiing in the sunny climates of the UK

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Ive come back to the sunny climates of the UK for a couple of weeks coaching and a week or so to see my family and friends. During my teaching we got some great new barefooters involved, with Bibbi Curtis learning how to foot and almost get up backwards, Josh Brown learning how to get up longline, do one foots and get up backwards, Dom learned how to stand up longline and do some one foots back there as well as getting up backwards and Harrison who also learned how to get up long line, do one foot and tumble turns! All new skiers and they all did a great job out on the water and im looking forward to seeing them all out at the World Barefoot Center this Winter!

The girls huddling to stay warm in-between sets

Ben Harris stretching out


Ted Baber and his Dad organized me coming over to the Cotswolds and we were using his boat most of the time. Ted has only been skiing for a couple of years and he is coming on leaps and bounds. In just this week he learned a toe up on the long line, greatly improved his slalom and managed to do all 4 of his surface turns on his feet!! Amazing job Ted and looking forward to getting you out stateside for the run up to Worlds next Summer!!

Ted putting a safe jump down on the long line

Ted Baber getting ready for a toe up


At the end of my time at the Cotswolds I had some old school UK team members come on down for a day of skiing. We had Ben and Matt Harris as well as Emily Goldie showing us how things are done out in the cold water and it was great to see them all back out there and having fun.

Adam Chaulk flying high

Matt Harris showing his son how to do it


Natasha giving it a go for her first time

Written by David Small

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

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