Posts Tagged ‘World Barefoot Water Ski Champion’

Questions about Barefoot Water Skiing

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

I love when kids from school send me an email or letter as a school project.  Some kids send the notes just because they want to.  Either way, I think it’s fun because it was something I always wanted to do as a youngster.  I don’t know why I never did?  Maybe it was because I thought I wouldn’t hear back from them.  I make it a point to always write back and answer all letters or emails.  If I did miss one or two in the past, I apologize, but you can send me another one if you’d like to and I’d be happy to answer your questions.

Here is an email I received from Abby:

Dear Mr. St. Onge,
My name is Abby. I am a fourth grader at Boulevard Elementary School in Shaker Heights, OH. Ms Tina McCauley is my gym teacher. She told me about how you are a champion barefoot waterskier. I love to waterski too, but I don’t do barefoot. My favorite is slaloming; I learner when I was 7. Ms. McCauley gave me your book which gave me the idea to write about you. I need to write an article for my school newspaper, the Boulevard Times, and I’d like to write about you. I have some questions about barefoot water skiing that I was hoping you could answer.

1. My first question is, how much harder is barefoot waterskiing compared to slaloming?

​I explain it like this: A slalom ski has a lot more surface area and two bare feet has much less surface area.  It is a little more difficult to barefoot water ski than slalom skiing, but as long as you learn correctly with a proper position ​it’s not too hard.  Think about it…skiing with no skis on…how cool is that?

2. When the weather is too cold to ski, what else do you like to do?

I wrote a book as you know and that took me over two and a half years to write, so writing took a lot of my time.  I like to work out and stay in shape when I am not barefoot skiing.​​
3. What age did you decide that you were going to make waterskiing your career and why did you decide to do it?

When I was 13 years old I had a news paper reporter ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up.  Just as I explain in my book I said, “I want to move to Florida, open a barefoot water ski school and become National and World Champion.  I decided to do this because it was my passion.​

4. How long did it take you to get up, consistently, barefoot waterskiing?

Learning how to barefoot was easy but learning the start on the rope took me a long time.  I was 10 years old when I learned and I use to hate the water splashing me in my face.  Every time the water splashed my face I would let go of the handle and have to start all over again.  It took me all summer to learn that start but once I got past my fears I was extremely consistent.​

5. When you compete, how many people are you up against?

At local tournaments I’m up against guys like David Small, Ben Groen and only a few others.  At Nationals I’m going against about ten.  When I compete at the World Championship I’m going against thirty or more skiers.​

6. Do you have any advice for people who want to learn to waterski?
​Make sure you learn from someone you can trust.  If you learn the wrong way it is possible that you’ll take hard falls and you won’t want to try again.  Getting professional help from people like us at the World Barefoot Center is what most people do the first time out.  We now have the SeaHorse Ski where people can try for the first time and not fall.  Here is a video of it.
​Abby, I hope my answers to your questions will help out!

To grab a copy of my book: Gliding Soles, Lessons from a Life on Water

Keith St.Onge

14 x US National Champion
11 x World Championships Gold Medalist