Barefoot beginnings

Barefoot beginnings

From Fri Mar 24 09:39:36 EST 1995
Subject: Re: Learning to barefoot
>> Can someone please give me a few good advices on how to learnn
>> to barefoot?

>There are 5 essential things you should have to enjoy learning to 

> 1. A good boat so that you can get to speed & keep it.
> 2. A Barefoot Boom is a must.
> 3. The proper equipment such as a super tight fitting barefoot suit
>    barefoot shorts (these are a must for sitting on the water & 
>    tumbling) to wear under the suit & a cup for males.
> 4. Glass calm water conditions.
> 5. A good boat driver.

> If you are missing any one of the above then it will take longer & will
> be more painful.

> Good luck & don't point your toes down.

--  Here is a technique that is simple and can be used even if you do
not have a boom.  You must, of course have a boat that can maintain
your barefoot speed.  If you are unsure of this speed, take your
weight in pounds, divide by ten and add twenty.  This is your minimum
two foot speed in mph on the longline.  Subtract 3-4 mph if you are
skiing on the boom.
	First, find yourself a wakeboard or a kneeboard and begin in
the water sitting on the board with your feet directly in front of you.
Begin a slow acceleration until the board begins to plane.  At this
point, slide as far forward on the board as you can without digging
the tip --this will prevent the board from bouncing and you falling off!
You should now be sitting on the board with your arms straight, head
up, feet in front but not on the water and boat speed should be about
15 mph.  Now bend your knees up to your chest and set your feet on the
water--- do not try to stand or push your feet in front, just set them
on the water.  Now the boat should begin a constant, moderate
acceleration up to your barefoot speed.  As the boat gains speed,
slowly apply more weight to your feet and rise up into barefoot
position.  The board will naturally fall behind leaving you on your feet.
Barefoot position:

		Feet shoulder width apart
		knees bent to almost 90 degrees
		arms straight
		head up
		hips forward

With this method I think you will find yourself footin in no time! 
Please feel free to ask any questions about this technique or any
others to my E-mail address.

Peter Chamberlin's  **BAREFOOT WATERSKI SCHOOL**
Located in:  Where ever there is calm water!!!
Send applications to Email address!!
Email address:

Another Approach

From Tue Jul  4 11:10:22 EDT 1995
Subject: Learning to Barefoot

I just wanted to let you folks know of what I think to be a great way
to teach barefooting.  I started barefooting in 1968 and learned the
hard way.  Since then I have taught a LOT of people (makes me feel old
just thinking about it), so I guess I know a little about what I am
talking about.

Last week I taught both of my kids (son, Sean 8 and daughter, Kristin
12) the 'boom' basics, ie feel of water and body position.  This week,
they start on a bridle off the boom and by the end of next week,
they'll be doing it long line.  Guess how proud I am!

The steps

First, find a boom.  It's been said thousands of times before but it
bears repeating, "The boom is the best way to learn barefooting" (a lot
of other things too!)

Second, find a wakeboard.  Yes, I know it sounds strange, but trust me,
the wakeboard really makes the learning EASY and fun!

Third, have the student hold on to the boom and sit on the wakeboard
with their butt resting against the back binding.  They should rest
just their toes on the tip of the board (or even place them underneath
the tip of the board.

They should lean back a little bit to keep the tip up.

Fourth, when the student is in position the driver should go 'in-gear'
to ensure the student has control of the board.  When he or she is in
good position the driver should increase speed just fast enough to get
the board on plane (10-12mph).  Students will have a tendancy at this
point to let their butt get behind them which will cause the tip to
dig.  Make sure they lean back.

Fifth, after the boat is on plane, have the student, with knees bent,
place their heels in the water, and maintain PROPER BODY POSITION (see

Sixth, at that point, the driver should relatively slowly (not too slow
or too fast) increase speed to the barefoot learning speed (weight/10 +

Somewhere around 3-5 mph below the final speed, the board will slide
out from underneath the student and they will be 'boom footin'.  It'll
usually take them about 2 to 5 seconds before they realize they are
actually doing it!


Body position is everything!!! Feet should be in front of knees.  Knees
should be in front of butt and bent close to 90 degrees.  Butt should
be in front of shoulders.  Shoulders should be direclty below head.
Head should be straight and looking directly at the water line of the
shore ahead, not at the amazing toes that are on top of the water
(common problem for newbies).

Arms should be slightly bent with elbows in.  You may find that when
you tell a person to do this, the natural tendancy is for them to bend
forward at the waist to bend their arms.  This is NOT good.  Instead of
telling them to bend their arms, tell them to bring their hips closer
to their elbows.  This will keep their body position correct.

Knees should be bent close to 90 degrees.  You are going to find that
as a student gets tired, their legs get stiffer and straighter.
Straight legs make for hard falls, a lot of spray, and poor body

Short sessions are the best approach.  As soon as you see a student
begin to fatigue, you end the session.  It'll keep the falls to a
minimum, the body postion good, and the learning fun.

Why the wakeboard?

I have tried teaching with a lot of other methods (kneeboard, skiis,
disk, nothing, etc.) and have found the wakeboard the best so far.
Hardest problem with the kneebard is its buoyancy (maybe the new thin
ones don't have as big a problem).  It seems by the time the students
gets feet forward on the kneebard, they're too tired to maintain good
body position.  Learning with nothing (ie hanging on to the boom or
sliding around on the butt, back, or stomach is also tiring.

About the boom

The boom is a great learning tool.  It allows the student to 'cheat'
because they have something solid to hang on to.  You'll find that they
can put a surprising amount of weight on it.  But it's just that, a
learning tool!  The worst thing that you can do is to keep using the
boom.  Most footers don't consider (and AWSA agrees, at least they used
to) someone able to barefoot until they can 'foot for one minute on a
standard length line.  Keeping someone on the boom too long is a
disservice to the student, and IMHO, a disservice to the sport.  The
student will become dependant on using the boom rather than their body
position to handle the water.

I've seen dozens of 'footers' that could ride all day long on a boom or
bridle attached to the boom, but as soon as they get on a long line,
they're good for about 5 seconds.  Once the student can maintain good,
no, perfect body position on the boom, they should be moved to a bridle
attached to the boom.  Once they can maintain the same good body
position on the bridle, they should move immediatley to the long line.

The end of the ride.

Boom, bridle, or long line, at the end of the ride, make sure the
student leans back.  Face plants ruin the whole experience.

Remember--As long as your feet are in front of you, everythings fine.

|Kris D. Williams                           |
|Instructor/Developer:Mobile Education-IBM Education & Training |
|Co-Owner:InComm - Sensible Solutions for the Road Warrior      |
|My opinions are my own (really!)                               |