Posts Tagged ‘what is it like at the WBC’

Chris Mcwatters: A New Appreciation for the World Barefoot Center

Monday, July 15th, 2013

For the last 2 years my wife and I have had the opportunity to work both in Michigan for the summer and in Winterhaven for winter. We spend about 3 months in Michigan and 9 months in Winterhaven. Recently, I had a barefooters dream come true. It was about the beginning of March this year when I had found out that my wife was going to go back north for the summer to Michigan because of work related projects. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on which one of us you ask, I did not have to go north at that time, but I had a slight problem, I had no place to stay. Our house that we were renting had come down with mold (it is like a disease) and we had to be out at the end on March. Not wanting to move into a new lease I had asked Swampy, Smallz and KSO if I could live at the school. We sat down and talked about responsibilities, requirements and a short term lease agreement.

After a brief talk we had a deal. As all of us old timers know time goes pretty fast and before I knew it I was moving into the World barefoot center. As I am moving my stuff into the bunk house I realize that I have some work to do. CLEANING! Austrian barefoot sensation Stephan Wimmer and I got out the bleach spray, pine oil, roach spray, brooms and mops and went to town. We pulled out all the beds, rugs and started to clean. After about 4 hours of work we had it done! New rugs, bed consolidation, smell good spray, and we had ourselves a sweet looking 3 bed studio (thanks again for the help Stephan).

​I have to tell ya, what a great time, but not without a lot of unbelievable hard work. I never knew how much time, work and effort it takes to run a barefoot school like the World Barefoot Center. Outside of their coaching abilities and barefooting skills I have an all new respect for Smallz, Swampy, KSO, Ben (bennyboo), and Ash. The amount of time that these guys have to put into the school is incredible. I was able to see and be a part of many of the behind scenes operations that it takes to keep the #1 barefoot school in the world running on all cylinders.

Just a short clip of the daily routine:

Rise and shine around 0630-0700 every morning, gas the boats if they didn’t get gas the night before (and we might have to gas all 4 of them) clean the boats, making sure they are prepared and looking good for the barefooting guests for the day.

0730, barefooting enthusiast begin to some, and it’s meet and greet time. Introductions, hand shakes and hugs, then a tour through the school and the proshop.

0800, suited up and ready for the morning lesson. Now if I was not skiing in the morning or afternoon there was always stuff that needed to be done. Everyone of us that lives at the WBC has some sort of chores. Whether it was cleaning the garage, sweeping the house, cleaning the bunk house, picking up a new footer flying in, preparing lunch for the footing crew, chasing Annie and Ranger down the street, business deals, making new designs for suits, making new videos, answering calls and booking new footers for a future date, running to Publix or Walmart for stock, going to the post office to ship out orders. Just to name a few.

Then its lunch time and that means gassing up boats for the afternoon lesson, and watching video from the morning runs. Now the afternoon is more like the morning. Then in the evening, gas run, cook dinner, say our good-byes, and prepare for the next day. Usually during this time is when you can find swampy looking at the calendar and setting up the boat crews for the next day, who is footing with who, what does this footer or the footer need to work on or learn to do. Who’s driving, does KSO, Smallz, Bennyboo, or Ash need an afternoon off for personal stuff, who’s driving to the airport, oh and lets not forget the ever so popular but necessary MEETINGS.

Now this quick article is only a brief description of the happenings at the school, there a many more things that happen that I didn’t mention.
​Swampy, Smallz, KSO, Bennyboo, and Ash, I truly believe it is amazing how you guys can keep up your unbelievable skills, stay in shape, and not lose your sanity considering the amount of time you all put into instructing us and all of our different languages, abilities, quirks and mannerism not to mention all the on the road clinics, photo shoots, interviews and MEETINGS.

So the next time you see a picture of any of these guys passed out on the couch (or in Ben’s case, on the floor), pure exhaustion has been reached. Thank you, many times for the experience and friendships. Oh I would also like to thank the once crispy Ricky “Bobby” Bruce for helping me with the chores, and Judy ”Old lady”, and Karen Putz. Thanks again guys. Cheers mates!

Chris Mcwatters