World Barefoot Center Customer Testimonials

I recently had an opportunity to stop by the World Barefoot Center while on a short and unexpected trip to Florida. My first impression of the staff was pure professionalism. I was immediately greeted with kindness and a handshake. The facilities and equipment are top-notch and the staff’s “on the water performance” speaks for itself. Hats off to Swamp Bouchard and Ben Groen. If any of you are considering going to the World Barefoot Center, I would highly recommend the investment into your skiing and self.

-Ryan Robinette

My day at the World Barefoot Center was so much more than I anticipated.  I was worried at first, there were skiers much better than me in my group, but with Keith’s ability to make everyone feel comfortable,  I didn’t feel like any less of a barefooter than the rest of them.  Everyone I talked to at WBC– Keith, Ben, Dave, Swampy–it was like being part of a family, I was immediately accepted like a brother.

In the morning, I worked on some things with the barefoot shoes on.  I was eating water all morning.  After lunch, Keith said to me without prompting, “I’m guessing you want to work on the deep water start.  Let’s make it happen.”   He gave me instructions and I put on the Headzone helmet.  He was talking to me with this calming voice and it was easy to listen to and understand him.  I did it– and it was like I had done it a million times before!

Because you see, twenty years ago, when I first tried the deep water start, I crashed so hard that it hurt. I’ve been afraid to try it again. I didn’t have the confidence. But in the boat, while  watching Keith and how he taught the other guys who were working on much more technical manuevers and tricks–I saw how he noticed all the little problems and fixed them in two or three runs. That gave me a lot of confidence. Keith knew what he was doing– he can coach and  that built up trust for me. Meeting my goal of a long line deep start made my entire trip worth it!

–Bill Ray, Idaho

I went over to the World Barefoot Center one day and it turned out to be a very pleasant experience. I was greeted like long lost family and made to feel very welcome.  After chatting for a while, we went out for a ski with Ben Groen, Ashley Stebbeings and Sarah Linton– three of the  best and nicest footers in the world– and the old man.

We came to a nice stretch of water and I started skiing, but soon a grouchy fisherman drove his boat into our path. “You’re messing up my fishing,” he growled.  Ben explained to him that he was just trying to find some smooth water for the oldest competitive barefooter in the world.  To put it mildly, the fisherman was not at all impressed and “didn’t give a damn,” he said.  So Ben found another good stretch of water and I completed my ski. Although I didn’t ski well at all, it was a lot of fun.  I received some valuable tips and it was an honor and a privilege to  ski with three of the world’s elite skiers.
–Jim Boyette, World’s Oldest Competitive Barefooter (84 years old), Florida

I have been skiing for 20 years and the World Barefoot Center is an organized and effective school.  But most important, the people are great.  Not only do you feel confident to accomplish your goals, but you have fun doing it.

Lorraine Piskura, Connecticut

1999 American Barefoot Club Female Athlete of the Year

The World Barefoot Center was awesome. I came in with no expectations of what to expect, because I had never been to a ski school before. I was welcomed by Keith, Swampy and the rest of the WBC crew and immediately felt right at home.  It was just like the pictures and videos that I viewed on the Internet. I got the chance to have Keith as my coach for the day and was paired up with three other skiers for the day. There was a great atmosphere of learning, encouragement and fun in the boat. Keith’s knowledge and skill was immediately noticed, he gave me small pointers to correct little things and that made a huge difference on the water. Sitting in the boat watching the others ski was just as educational for me, if not more.

If you are looking for a school to take your barefooting to the next level with a fun environment with world champion coaches that have a passion to grow the sport. This school should be at the top of your list. Come ready to ski a lot and learn a lot!

–Chris Penner,  Abbotsford, BC Canada

I had such a great time skiing at the World Barefoot Center this past April, 2011!  It was exactly what I needed for a Spring Break– no school work– just my wetsuit!  I learned so much in the week that I was there.  KSO and Small’z were able to get me back into barefoot shape in no time, and they were able to get me doing things that I never thought I would be able to do in a  short amount of time.  They have my best interest at heart and want me to excel in this sport.  They have faith in me and that really helps to motivate me to try and learn tricks that I never thought was possible.

–Laura Szwed, Michigan

Joann O'Connor at World Barefoot CenterAt the World Barefoot Center, each instructor – every single one – is fantastic. They encourage, support, and push when needed and and they back off –but only when threatened (Ha!).

I started to re-learn to barefoot in 2002 after a 20 year ‘break’ because I was in a motorcycle accident and my ankle had been fused.  As a newbie, I had to relearn to foot, but also had to squelch more than a few bad habits I had picked up  in Wisconsin when I learned to foot the hard way in the 60’s. I started with Keith, who was kind and encouraging and had my best interests at heart. He showed me that you don’t have to get hurt when you learn to foot. I love the warmth, the acceptance and the camaraderie at WBC so much that I have returned every year and I’ve continued to learn and continued to laugh. Sometimes my growth curve is slow due to my ankle and then every instructor at WBC keeps helping and teaching me to compensate and encourages me to keep on trying. I am so grateful for their help and the fact that whatever my issue, they stick with it and help me through it to success.

KSO, David, Swampy, Ben, Ash, A.J. are all world class athletes and super international instructors!!  I have no favorite instructor (you believe that??) I am delighted that they provide a variety of ways to learn.

–Joann O’Connor, Wisconsin

I would like to thank everyone at the World Barefoot Center for allowing me to take part in their barefoot waterski program. Being around the gang at W.B.C. has made me realize that there is so much more to barefooting than just skiing behind the boat on your feet! More than thirty years ago I laid the sport to rest. I didn’t have a clue that I would ever pick the sport back up again until I met all of the W.B.C. staff and witnessed the most impressive instruction I’d ever seen. W.B.C. took my fourteen year old son whom I had taught to barefoot ski and who I had instilled many bad habits in and turned him into a real “footer”!

Coach Swampy allowed me to see behind the scene instruction early on by letting me ride in the boat while he taught some of the team skiers various tricks. He seemed a bit stern at times and I never had to wonder about what he was thinking as he was good at verbalizing his every thought concerning the skiers performance. It was interesting to watch the skiers response to his coaching and to see their results afterward was utterly amazing! After watching many hours of instruction for my son, I began to feel the passion for the sport once again. I watched Swampy, Keith, David ,Ben, and A.J. transform Chandler into the kind of skier that I always wanted to be. Suddenly I began to realize that my passion for the sport was ignited by those who were more passionate than me. I found myself sitting in the boat with a world champion coach and world champion skiers and they were teaching my son. And now, I find myself being taught by the best and skiing with the best! I’ll never be as good as these young men and women, but I can say that my P.B’s (personal bests) are on the rise. I would like to continue improve in the sport and possibly even compete in a few small tournaments. This has been an exciting sport that has allowed so much to take place in my life. More time with my wife and son, making new friends and personal growth …priceless! My goal is to continue to improve my P.B.’s as often as I can and to try and get back into shape before spring. I wish to improve in all areas of the sport within my physical ability and to help others that are new to the sport to become passionate footers too! Thanks again for everything!

Mark Cargile, Georgia

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