Posts Tagged ‘WBC’

The World Barefoot Center: One Big Family

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

The WBC family

The World Barefoot Center is an amazing place. It may be known for barefoot waterski coaching, but off the water is a whole other learning experience. At the WBC, life long lessons are being taught, many friendships are being built, and skills across the whole board are being learned.

On occasion, Swampy will have everyone give speeches. These range from motivational speeches all the way to speeches about losing. No matter the topic, for me personally, this has instilled into me communication skills that are hard to obtain. This really opened me up as a person and made me feel comfortable speaking to and in front of people. Even if you are already an expert on people, there is always something to learn, and something that will be learned at the WBC.

The WBC is looked at as a second family to me, something comparable to most sports teams. There is an unexplainable bond between us athletes. Inside jokes and memories are constantly being made, both on and off the water. You never feel alone at the WBC. There is always some sort of support and friendship to lean on.

The sport of barefooting exposes athletes to a great environment, whether it is tournaments, practice, or even just hanging out together. Life-long lessons are being learned every day. They are being learned from everyone, as well as being taught from everyone. Communications, goals, lifestyles, are just few of many skills being traded in the sport of barefoot waterskiing.
I truly do feel part of one big family at the World Barefoot Center, and also at any barefooting event.

Joey Tombers

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Alex Youngblood: My First Experience at WBC

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Well, there is a lot of stuff to write about, let’s just start off on all the fun experiences in this wonderful sport called Barefooting. So once you get really into a sport, you obviously want to get better at it Right? Well I did. So my dad hooked me up with the World Barefoot Center. So I live in Michigan, but WBC was all the way in Florida! And at the time I was 10 years of age, so I was pretty nervous to be honest with you. But I wanted to be the world champion barefooter. Keith St. Onge and David Small are my Idols so I knew it was the right thing to do. So I toughened up and went.

Once I got there I met people from all over the world. Some from Austria, Great Britain and also New Zealand! I was really shy at first. But once I got to know everyone, I was all right. Anyway back on topic. Once I got there it was straight to the water for me. I said at the beginning that I was committed to this. I was probably out on the water and the boat for about three hours in the morning and the afternoon. It was tough training, but I was willing to do whatever it takes to be the best I can be.

After about a week, I was sore and tired. But I wanted to make the last week count. I worked my hardest, I got frustrated at times, but I knew this stuff wouldn’t just come to you. A lot of people would be doing this sport if it was easy.

On my last day, I didn’t want to go home really, learning new tricks and techniques were more fun than I thought, and I said my byes and thank you. I really like this sport and I want to keep getting better and better. I’m definitely not giving up now!

-Alex Youngblood

Sam Meredith: My WBC Experience

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

I had first had a go at barefooting back in September 2012. I found a sport that I really enjoyed and found barefooting very challenging. I really wanted to improve my skiing after having a taste of barefooting. Dave Small invited me to take a three week holiday to the World Barefoot Center over Christmas and New year.

Before going out to WBC, my tricks consisted of basic one foots and tumbles on a 10ft line. Within the first day of skiing at the WBC, I had completed both basic and reverse one foots comfortably and had completed a few longline passes using the same tricks. The coaches made it easy to learn– instilling confidence. Just by listening to them and transferring it to the water, my tricks improved rapidly. wWithin the first week, I had completed both toeholds and had got up backwards on the short line on my feet.

I spent a lot of time in the boat watching some of the advanced barefooters which helped, by observing and listening to the tuition they were receiving. By the end of the third week, I became solid on my basic tricks and completing both basic and reverse toe holds on either side of the wake. After what seemed an impossible task at first, I got up backwards behind the boat. I also had a set of jumping directly from the bar. After a few sets of barefooting backwards–I performed backwards toe holds, both basic and reverse on the short line with shoe skis.

For my last day, Swampy set up a challenge for my set: to ski and complete 25 toe holds and 5 back deeps. Failure was not an option. Both my toe holds and back deeps got progressively better throughout the set.

This was one of the best experiences I’ve had and would recommend it to anyone.

ABC Male and Female 2012 Athlete of the Year

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

​Early in the morning on January 24th, I boarded a flight to Winter Haven, Florida, where I would be attending the 2013 USA Waterski Awards Banquet with my parents and my younger sister. The banquet was to be held on Saturday, but since we were traveling all the way to Florida, we might as well make a vacation out of it. Upon my arrival in the Orlando airport, my family and I loaded up our rental car and went to our hotel in Disney. After checking in, we headed to the WBC where we met up with the crew to go to Hurricane’s for Ben Groen’s birthday. After dinner, I headed back to the hotel in order to get a good night’s sleep as I would be skiing for the first time in 3 months the following morning.

​The next morning, my father and I made the short commute from our hotel to the ski school. We went out to ski with Dave that morning. My dad and I basically just got out feet back on the water after our long break. I worked on turns, while my father did the basics (one foots, toe-holds, etc.). We headed in for a short lunch break. After lunch, we headed back out, this time with Ashleigh. I worked on slalom all afternoon. After my two sets, I had the privilege of watching Dave and Ben do some amazing multiple turn training.

The next day, Saturday, my father and I skied a half day with Keith. I did two sets of turns and a set of slalom, while my father worked his reverse toe-holds. After we finished skiing, we said our goodbyes to the WBC crew and headed back to our hotel to get cleaned up for the banquet.

​At the banquet, I received the ABC Male Athlete of the Year Award. I was excited to see some of three-event waterskiing’s top skiers. I was able to see skiers such as Nate Smith, Freddy Krueger, and Regina Jacquess receive various awards throughout the night. My family and I sat with fellow barefooter Teri Jones, who was receiving the ABC Female Athlete of the Year Award and the USA Waterski That’s Incredible Award. We were both called up on the stage to receive our awards. I really enjoyed being able to receive my award at such a nice venue with so many people there.

After the banquet, we packed up our belongings and went to sleep. The next morning my family and I boarded our plane back to Scranton, Pennsylvania. The trip was amazing, and it felt amazing to be back on the water after three months.

-Johnathan Martines

Struggling on the Water? Take a Break

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

dani tipping on water

My toughest trick to learn so far was the reverse front to back. I can’t even remember
how many years I tried and failed to get it. It takes 2 hands to count how many different
coaches I frustrated, and I don’t even want to think of all the different ways people tried
to explain it too me. Season after season I showed no improvement, it was just not
happening. I even started devising future trick runs excluding reverse front to backs
because I had started to accept dejectedly that I was never going to succeed, no matter
how hard I tried, worked, practiced, or envisioned.

When at last I began to improve and eventually got the trick, it was after a long period
of not barefooting at all. Complete abstinence. I had gone to school abroad and wasn’t
able to ski at all until holidays and it was this break that helped me clear my mind of
past bad habits, and start afresh.

There are many different ways to learn a trick, but in my mind it is always good to
remember that sometimes, you need to take a step back and take a break from a trick
before you can master it. This isn’t to say if you don’t get a new trick right away quit and,
it will come to you the next time you try, no. New tricks always take work, practice and
probably, a lot of falls. However if you find yourself repeating things improperly until the
wrong ways start to become habits, stop. Take a break, step back, and come back to it
later. Take it from a girl who almost gave up; your impossible trick is definitely possible.
Maybe you just need to look at it with a fresh outlook and an open mind.

Good luck!

-Dani Tipping

Alex Youngblood: My Experience as a Sponsored Skier

Thursday, January 17th, 2013
I am Alex Youngblood from Highland, Michigan and this is my 2nd year being a sponsored skier at the World Barefoot Center. And I would like to tell you about all the fun I’ve had with them.
In 2012, I took a trip to Texas for the Barefoot World Championship tournament. I met people from all over the world! From Great Britain to Austria. I made a lot of new friends too. Sometimes you don’t find your best friends at home. Jenifer Blake and Riley Stenson from Illinois and Minnesota are like my two best friends.
Anyways, I went there to do tricks and slalom. My PB (personal best) was 700 for tricks, and at Worlds I got 900! My slalom PB 2.6 has been the same for a long time. I had a great experience. But to get 900 I learned a lot of new stuff at  the World Barefoot Center. I learned three new tricks in one week!
Backwards one foots, one foot stand ups and one foots. The staff from WBC really helped me at Worlds. And some day they might help you too.

Alex Youngblood

Alex Youngblood at WBC

Alex Youngblood at the 2011 Barefoot Nationals

Alex Youngblood at 9 Years Old

WBC now has an Instagram account!! Follow us :)

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The World Barefoot Center has joined the Instagram World.

If you have an account you can follow us!!

Just go to your account and search for @worldbarefootcenter

2012 Women’s Barefoot Week Wrap Up

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Bill Nelson is an honorary gal this week!

Another great Women’s Barefoot Week at the World Barefoot Center has come and gone. The weather was absolutely perfect in the mid-80’s and sunny every day.

Teri Larson kicked off the week working hard on her toe ups and came oh-so-close! She worked on a little bit of everything while nursing a sore shoulder.



Speaking of sore stuff, Judy Myers was back on the water after a very long break recovering from knee surgery and then a shoulder mishap after crashing her scooter. Judy didn’t miss a beat getting right back into footin.

Judy Myers

Karen Putz took some lessons from Judy on “101 Uses of Duct Tape,” in this case, to keep the knee braces in place!


How to hold $1,500 knee braces in place

Karen got back up on her feet backwards after a one-year break and did it longline for the first time.


Karen Putz

Claudia Landon worked her front and back one foots and she LET GO with both hands on her reverse toe hold. But the most exciting accomplishment for her was back wakes on her feet.


Claudia Landon

Tina McCauley worked her toe holds and nailed her reverse.


Tina McCauly

Carol Jackson focused on her surface turns on shoes– and boy, was she smooth!


Carol Jackson

Joann O’Connor had some exciting moments getting up backwards behind the boat after six years of perseverance!


Joann O'Connor

Char Portman took a few runs on the shoes and her feet, getting comfortable on the water again.


Char Portman

Diane Schupp did her one foots in the line-step position behind the boat and took her back slalom to the next level.


Diane Schupp

The last time Jill Broderick put her feet on the water was in 1967. It had been 40 years since she barefoot water skied. Look at the joy on her face below as she got up again at the age of 60!


Jill Broderick

Jill won the award for the “Most Improved Skier” sponsored by Vibram 5 Fingers. She learned the deep water start longline by the last day and started the first step toward backwards.

Most Improved sponsored by Vibram 5 Fingers

After a long day of footin on Sunday, Chris McWatters rewarded everyone with a BBQ dinner, including the WBC crew and skiers from Switzerland. He spent six hours grilling ribs which he basted with a super-size carton of really good sauce. “That was the best dinner, ever,” said Claudia.

Chris cooks up a storm!


WBC crew gets pedicures

And what would Women’s Barefoot Week be without pretty toes? In honor of Women’s Week, the WBC crew did an evening of pedicures. It took a gang of women to drag Swampy into a chair. We all felt sorry for the girl who had to work on Swampy’s talons. It was pretty funny to watch him wince and yell “Ow” every time she snipped a nail. It was worth it; Swampy’s feet looked oh-so-pretty afterwards.  Can you guess which one is his?

WBC pretty feet

A big thank you goes to our Women’s Week sponsors: Barefoot Wine and Vibram 5 Fingers.


Thank you, Barefoot Wine!

2012 World Barefoot Water Ski Championships

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

This years World Championships was held 2 weeks after the US Barefoot National championships at the same site provided by Stuart Parsons at the Barefoot Ski Ranch in Waco, Texas.  A big thanks goes out to Stuart for putting both of these events on.  We all know that its a big job so we salute you :)

Areal view of BSR

If any of you reading this has ever been to BSR then you will know that it is probably one of the best water ski set ups in the World and it is very rare for the site to get blown out…. Throughout the week of Worlds we had the pleasure of a huge storm come around Florida and make its way towards Texas.  Fortunately it didn’t get quite over to us however it did bring wind to the site and there were a few occasions where both of the ski sites had white caps.  This made it interesting to say the least.

Opening ceremonies

The opening ceremonies were at BSRs new cable park and it was great to see so many different countries there especially Mexico and China which are new at the World Championships.  We were also shown a true texan show and got to see a shoot off……. interesting to say the least

2012 Medalists

Right after the opening ceremonies Worlds got under way. There were a lot of good skiing and having the live feed on the World Barefoot Centers website made it possible for fans, families and groupies (haha) to watch the skiing take place, real time.  All we need now is instant scoring ….. 😉

Team WBC

Here are the results for the Overall.


1. David Small

2. Keith St Onge

3. Peter O’Neill


1. Ashley Stebbeings

2. Elaine Heller

3. Georgie Groen

Junior boys

1. Keenan Derry

2. Ben Franks

3. Ryan Jameson

Junior girls

1. Georgia Groen

2. Kailey Koehler

3. Courtney McDonald

Senior men

1. Kenny Derry

2. Dan Baumgartner

3. Peter Fleck

Senior women

1. Gizella Halasz

2. Steffi Kirsch

3. Teri Jones

For more results go to

On the Friday night Stuart put on another night Jump Jam but this year there was no beat your PB event.  With it being held along side a Worlds event meant that we had all of the top jumpers from around the world which made for a very exciting event!!!  There were a lot of spectators there for this event which made it even more exciting for the skiers.  The results were…

Elimination round of jump jam


1. David Small

2. Keith St Onge

3. Ben Groen


1. Ashley Stebbeings

2. Elaine Heller

3. Georgia Groen

The closing banquet and prize giving was great to see as a huge hall was packed full of all the World wide skiers and spectators that had flown in from around the World to compete and to support the World Championships.

closing ceremonies

Well done to all of the competitors and a big thank you to the sponsors of the Worlds…  World Barefoot Center, Parsons Roofing, Sanger Boats, US Gear, BSR, Lake Elmo Sports

Written by David Small aka Small’z

Clinic With Dave Packard in Massachusetts with David Small

Monday, September 10th, 2012

After the World Barefoot Championships in Waco, TX I had a 2 day clinic with Dave Packard in Massachusetts. We stayed at Daves place is Mass but drove to a lake just in side the Connecticut boarder to ski due to Daves lake that he lives on having a restriction where you cannot head out before 10am…. Very civilized if you dont want to ski 😉 It was a beautiful lake and even though we had strong winds the water conditions were great. I didn’t get any pictures of skiers as it was raining the whole time and I had coat upon coat on trying to stay warm and as dry as i could be. Dave had everything ready to go…. BI Boom, Tower, WBC shoe skis, everyone had good wetsuits, handles and ropes and he even had his own Head Zone Helmets which is great to see them being used outside of the ski school!!

First morning before the rain started ;)

We used Daves Master Craft for most of the first day and when we were out of gas in that we used an older Ski Centurian which brought back great memories. When I first started getting coaching back in the UK I skied at Bomere which is in Shrewsbury with Tim Hodgkins behind his Centurian. Really good to be in one again.

Some of the crew out for sushi

Even with the rain the guys made the clinic great fun and i don’t think we stopped laughing for the whole 2 days I was there.
Hope to see you all again soon.

AKA Small’z