I hit the water on Friday afternoon at 2 with T-Bell, Libby and T-Bell’s boss Jeff to start a day of water skiing and barefooting. We loaded the boat with a ridiculous amount of skiing equipment. Besides the two pairs of combo skis that almost always in the floor, we had a wakeboard, trick skis, 4 very nice slalom skis, a swivel ski, 2 pairs of jumps skis, 2 jump helmets and way too many wetsuits and the like to count. My boat was loaded. Plus we had a cooler full of beverages!
T-Bell and I started off the day by taking our first sets of the year hitting the ramp. I started on my classic blaze orange Connelly jumpers and hit the ramp four times. Skied away from my first jump, popped the handle on the second, skied away on the third and popped the handle again on the fourth jump. Pretty good set for my first one of the year. My knees didn’t bother me, my back didn’t complain too much and I didn’t kill myself on the ramp. I considered it a good set. Libby was running the camera and managed to get some pictures of my landings. Really need to upgrade my camera.
T-Bell was next, and like me, took 4 jumps off the ramp. Her jumps looked a lot cleaner than mine. She does a little half wake cut and pops off the ramp. Good position in the air and clean landings (unlike mine). Here’s a shot of her new helmet popping up from behind the ramp.
Then we went back to the landing to drop off our jump skis and helmets and pick up 7 and his wakeboard (now we have two in the boat).
I believe Libby was next on the water and she took a swivel run. She’s working on her toe turns and we could see her make progress throughout the day. On her last set she was making the toe turn, not traveling as erratically and skiing backwards for a ways. If she takes a couple runs with someone back there to help her get comfortable she’ll be doing the turns on her own soon.
Next up Jeff took his first slalom run o f the year. If we hadn’t been out in Wally World*, I think he would be a good slalomer. But since there was a constant supply of random rollers, he still looked pretty good on the ski, just really couldn’t go all out.
I believe 7 was next on the water and he entertained us with some more of his mad wakeboading skills. He manages to catch some air, just doesn’t land it yet. He’s trying wake 180s too, which are a source of entertainment for everyone in the boat.
Next up I wowed the crowd with my wakeboarding skills, which are nearly non-existent. I can do the trick where I slide the board from regular to goofy and back pretty good, but my cutting is incredibly awkward. I did figure out I need to change the stance on my board to open it up a bit more. Maybe next time I won’t feel so uncomfortable on the board.
T-Bell busted out her new slalom ski (which is the same as Libby’s) and liked it a lot. Libby did some slaloming as well.
Libby then took a slalom run on her ski.
After dropping off some more equipment back at the landing, we headed into the bay to play in the weeds. Monona Bay has weeds, lots and lots of weeds. There are parts that look carpeted. We did find an open stretch and throw the boom on the side of the boat. I was up next.
I’ve been working on tumble turns this year, and finally hoping to get them dialed in this summer. The part I’ve been having issues with the second half of the turn. I get around decently to the point where my head is leading and my feet are trailing and then the handle gets over my head and I get the crap beat out of me by the water. Since I’ve been having the trouble with the 2nd part, I decided to do a tumble up on the boom which is basically the 2nd half of the tumble turn. You drag in the water face first until you’re on plain, flip unto your back, pull the rope down to a hip and spin around to stand up. The Bell sisters make this look a lot easier than it is. Then again they are about 100 pounds lighter than me so if you factor in water drag and other physics related stuff, they have a lot less weight to move when they are pulling the handle from over the head (where it starts) to down to the hips (where you can spin.) I try a few tumble ups and actually manage to get the handle down to my hip once, put it to my right hip and I spun around to the point where I could have tried to stand up, but my spin didn’t stop, it kept going and pretty soon I was back to where I began. I had finally spun around 360 degrees, I just started 180 degrees off from where I would start if I was doing a tumble turn. Took a few more runs on the boom and have officially decided that hanging on to the boom when the boat is slowing down is bad. Very bad! First, I drenched the boat, in weeds no less. Second, when I finally did let go, I didn’t like what I went through at all. Felt like I may have brushed the side of the boat which means I was way closer to the prop than I ever want to be. Scared shitless for a lack of a better term. Not an experience I want to repeat either. T-Bell, who was driving also didn’t like it. She asked to see all four of my appendages, not believing they were all still attached. I also tried some regular tumble turns with similar results as before… handle comes over my head. I also managed to get a good one foot in on the boom, something that I’ve just never really been comfortable doing on the boom (I’ve just found it easier long line). I had adjusted the boom so he would sit a little higher off the water which I think helped a lot. Also of note is when I peeled off my wetsuit, my barefoot shorts were down past my ass. I was dragging in the water enough where they were pulled down even though they were under my barefoot suit. That’s messed up.
Here are some photos from those tumble attempts!
When I had finally finished beating the living daylights out of myself, T-Bell went next. She put on quiet the little barefooting show. One foots, tumble turns, tumble ups, even did some back-deeps on the boom. The back-deeps ended violently, but she made the starts which is more than I can do. She also did the same thing I did and held on as the boat slowed down. She didn’t like the footer’s perspective of that at all and I didn’t like the driver’s perspective either. We then made it a rule that when the boat starts to slow down, you let go to protect your life and limbs.
7 then displayed his barefooting skills. He tried the tumble ups as well and after making his first one, didn’t make another and commented that they were a lot harder than they looked. He did try a one-foot and that was fun to watch. I suggested trying one, describing what it feels like I’m doing while on the water and then he gave it a whirl. I was driving so I couldn’t watch the whole thing, but I did hear T-Bell say either “He’s toast” or “His toes” and as I turned to look over my shoulder I see 7 in a full Superman position beside the boat about 3 feet behind the boom and 2 feet off the water. He didn’t like the landing. Teri had noticed that his toes were so relaxed that they were almost pointing down into the water. He literally caught his toes. Not a good thing to do while footing.
Random picture time…
After that we took the boom off to go drop T-Bell and Jeff off. They were heading to a Mallard’s game. After dropping them off and some more equipment, some more people skied and then I busted out the trick skis. They are old school trick skis. Wooden. Very uncomfortable bindings. I’ve occasionally been trying 180s on them with little success. But I keep trying. I did managed to get around once but couldn’t find the handle.
After 7 did some more wakeboarding, we picked up John, who had brought some pizza. We were hungry and the pizza didn’t last long. 7, Libby and I inhaled it. I then promptly did a slalom set. You know the old saying about waiting 30 minutes after eating before you go swimming. It holds true for skiing too. Felt like a rock in my stomach. I did get up on the slalom ski, but with it still being Wally World, I didn’t feel comfortable doing much else. Plus it felt like I was going to ralph.
We dropped of my ski and picked up Scotty G and then headed over to the bay for some more footing. After scouting a path through the weeds, Johnny took the first run. Worked on some one-foots and tumble turns. He had few hard falls, but nothing bad. I then took another set, sans barefoot shorts, and had a couple nice long one-foots long line and a renewed appreciation for my barefoot shorts.
7 took the last run of the night as he tried out Libby’s slalom ski. We found a path that ran perpendicular to the barefoot run that would work for slaloming. Little wider and almost enough room to turn around at both ends. One end was tight.
As the sun set, we towed Nick, who has my old boat, back to his dock…. he was having fuel problems. Then people had some beers. Finally, we headed back to the dock, exhausted, to trailer the boat. After cleaning it up and putting all the my wet stuff into my truck, the back of my truck was now full of equipment and I had a clean boat again.
Much props to Libby for lasting the whole day with me and to 7 for lasting 90% of it (he showed up a little late)!
It’s now 10 o’clock, I have a truck that I need to unload, a boat to put away and I’m exhausted. Plus I’m going skiing again tomorrow at 530am. Yes, you read that correctly. 530 in the morning. After putting everything away and eat a snack (I love my Dove Ice Cream Bars), I crawl into bed and I’m asleep by 1130. For those that know me, that is a very early bedtime for me.
So back to my list from the other day on what I wanted to do on Friday. I did the two-skiing (via jumping and tricking), I slalomed, I barefooted, I wakeboarded and jumped. I didn’t get to shoe ski because I forgot those at home, but I did trick ski. So I’d say I pretty much completed my list.
5am comes early. I actually woke up a few minutes before my alarms that are set to go off at 455am. I finally crawl out of bed, very sore, at 505. Eat a couple donut holes, drink some milk, brush my teeth and stumble out to my car, throw my stuff into the trunk and hop in. The gas tank is on “E”. I go anyways. I arrive at Dale’s house at 531. He called me at exactly 530 asking me where I was and I was able to reply “turning onto your street”. Park, grab my stuff, walk to his backyard and hope in the boat. Even though it is early, there are a lot of fisherman on the water and apparently none of them like where they are at as they keep moving around. Luckily, Dale has a great boat for footing (a Sanger) and you can camp out on the table and get a smooth ride. I had a few nice runs including a very clean one foot (42 MPH is soooo nice), but my feet were still sore from the day before and one of them has a very nice cut on the bottom of it that doesn’t like the fact that I’m still barefooting on it.
I’m back home by 7, now with a full tank of gas in the car. Back in bed after a shower at 715 and sleep till 930 when I have to get up and pack so I can head to Chicago for my 6pm to 6am shift that I have to work that night.
Here’s a slide show of all the photos worth sharing from theses couple days:
Here’s a link to all of the photos out on Picasa in my web album.
*Wally World – a term I use to reference when Wally’s (aka people like the Griswald’s from Vacation) are out on the water driving every which way. Basically destroying the calm water that we would have on the lake making it into a Wally World.