The Front to Back Inside and Out

This old article by Paul “Stokeman” Stokes just made it’s way across my desk. Here’s the beginning of it:

The front to back (F-B) is known as the trick that separates the men from the boys or takes women to the world level of the sport. Even at the National Championships there are many competitors that perform the back to front but very few outside of the open division perform the front to back. It’s a trick that every barefooter wants right from the start. This trick is also widely thought to be a very difficult trick. I’m here to tell you that this is an easy trick when #1 you’re ready for it, #2 you go about learning it properly, and #3 you have persistence.

If you want to read the rest of the article, follow the link. I think everything is current except for Paul’s contact info at the end of the article.

Spring 2009 Wisconsin WaterSkier

The new issue of the Wisconsin WaterSkier showed up in my mailbox today.  Flipping through the Official Publication of the Wisconsin Water Skiing Federation I was pleasently surprised to find several articles by barefooters for barefooters in it.  Typically you’re lucky to find one article about barefooting in a water skiing magazine.

The issue is primarily focus on the details of the Wisconsin Water Skiing Expo and Convention (previously called Think Tank) with details on all of the various sessions available.  But towards the back of the book there are three good barefooting articles.

The first barefooting article is by Jamie Kunlien.  He recently just competed at Worlds in New Zealand and in the summer is a member of the Janesville Rock Aqua Jays (a show ski team in Wisconsin).  His article went through many good things to think about when going to a barefooting school, or any type of water skiing instruction, and really any type of instruction in general.  He wrote about what you need to do be an Active Learner. There’s a lot there that seems obvious, but it is worth everyone’s time to read it. You can apply it to a lot more than just barefooting.

The second article is by Paul MacDonald, also a world class barefooter.  His article is about how to dryland train for barefooting. This is a good article for those of us in the frozen north because even if we do get out on the lake, we’re probably ice fishing right now.  He goes through several things to work on when you’re not on the water and how they’ll translate to making you better on the water.

The third and final article is by Dave Small, yet another world class barefooter. His article talks about how to do a tumble turn.  It’s a simple trick and his explanation is yet another rephrasing of every other explanation of how to do a tumble turn.  It wasn’t anything new, but hearing everyone give a consistent explanation means it must be the right way to explain it.

Finally, for those of you looking for something to do the weekend of February 27th thru March 1st, come to Wisconsin Dells for the Water Skiing Expo.  They’ll be several sessions about barefooting with topics about goals, driving, how to practice, stretching, figure-8 competition (by KSO), back deeps, 3-event (by KSO), and about what barefooting can teach you about life.

I know I’ll be attending some of these sessions, as well as many other sesssions about show skiing.  This year one of my goals for Think Tank is to do less 12-ounce curls on Friday night.  🙂  I hope to meet some of you there.  Ask around for Wedge.  There are lots of people that know who I am.

Back Barefooting Instruction from Lane “Dawg” Bowers

I recently wrote about how to make your back deeps much harder.  Now I’ve come across somethig that maybe just make your back deeps a little easier or maybe help your driving for people that learn back deeps.

As many of you know, I scour the web, looking for good barefooting information.  Well, I came across Lane “Dawg” Bower’s site a while back.  I’ve looked through it a little before and found something that I wanted to share with you.

Lane has a page up with how he instructs people on back deeps.  Here’s the link.  He’s got a lot of info on the page, including a couple video of him going through the information.  

He goes through some very good basic information for both the footer and the driver including:

  • Proper boom height
  • Boat speeds for various portions of the start
  • Body position for the start
  • Foot position
  • And much more

The best part is he explains it very clearly and concisely.  Here’s the first video…

Be sure to check out the rest of Lane’s instruction on his web site, including the second video with more info.  Once again, here’s the link.

The site isn’t the best to get around, but if you dig, there’s some good stuff there.  He’s got an email list you subscribe to for fairly regular informative updates.  Some of the emails I find a bit un-informing, but there are some good ones in there too.  You just need to find the useful info.


Think Tank 2008

Don’t know what Think Tank is?  I’m about to tell you if you don’t.  Think Tank is the world’s largest water skiing convention and expo and it is put on by the Wisconsin Water Skiing Federation and this year it is February 29 thru March 2 at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

Why am I telling you about this? Well, it is a great opportunity to meet some of the best barefooters in the world and get some instruction from them.  Here’s where you are probably confused if you’ve heard about Think Tank.  You may be thinking “isn’t that just for show skiers?”  And the answer to that is no with an asterik.  Yes there are a lot of things there geared towards show skiers, but hey, it is in Wisconsin and that sport is pretty popular here (yes, I live in Wisco).  But there is more to it than show skiing stuff.  There are wakeboarding, 3-event and yes, barefooting clinics put on in addition the show skiing clinics.  You just might make some new friends to go skiing with too once the weather warms up.

So if you’re in the area or just want to head to the great white north (because it’s snow covered) for a weekend get away, come by Think Tank.  In addition to the instructional clinics and deals you might find on some new equipment, you’ll be able to spend a weekend at a great resort.  If you’re tired of the freezing weather, you can pretend it’s summer in their indoor water park kept at a toasty 80 degrees.  If you register for Think Tank, you’ll even get a good deal on the room.

They don’t have their schedule posted online yet, but keep an eye on their website for more details.

Think Tank
Chula Vista Resort

How to do a Tumble Turn

So here goes my first instructional post.  First, the disclaimer.  I’m still working on this trick.  I understand how to do it, just having some issues with the execution.

The tumble turn can be broken down into 3 basic parts.  Sitting down, spinning and standing back up.  There is more to it than those 3 simple steps though.  I would say one thing to “master” before you start doing tumble turns is the deep water start.  The last portion of the start (planting your feet and standing up) is pretty much the last step of the tumble turn.  So be good and comfortable doing deep water starts before you start on this.  So now on to the more details on how to do this trick.

First, you need to “sit down”.  That isn’t the best technical description, but it flows of the tounge easily.  Obviously you start out in a typical barefooting position.  I’ll squat down to “softly” drop my but onto the water.  Then I’ll rock back so I’m sliding along on the small of my back, all the while keeping the handle of the rope in by my abs.

Next step, as I call it, is the spin.  This is the meaty part of the trick.  Done right, this part is very easy according to everyone that has worked with me on my tumble turns.  You can spin either direction, which ever direction makes you comfortable.  I’ll describe spinning my feet around to the right (towards the driver’s side of the boat when your feet are pointing the direction you are moving.)  To initiate the spin, all you need to do is move the handle from the middle of your abs to the left side of your abs.  This motion is only moving the handle a few inches and you want to keep the handle at the same level on your abs, right along where your belly button is.  Using a typical wide barefooting handle, the inside edge of the handle may be just past your centerline.

Now your spinning.  A small thing to keep in mind is to keep you leading edge up.  This doesn’t take much to do, basically you just don’t want dig in your shoulder or something.

As you continue to spin and your head makes it way to leading your body on the water you’ll need to move the handle from the left side of your body to your right side, concentrating on keeping the handle near your belly button.  This simple motion keeps your body spining.

Finally, as your head moves throught the leading position and your feet begin to make their way to the “front” you’ll move the handle from the right side of your abs to the center of abs.  This motion stops your spin.

Now were on to the last step, “standing up.” You’re in a pretty typical barefooting positon, just plant your feet and stand back up.

AS you can tell from this description, the main portion of the trick involves moving the handle from the center of your abs, to the left, then to your right of your abs and then back to the center.  It really is that simple.

The issue I have problems with is keeping the handle down near my abs.  Here’s a picture of my typical issue…

Handle is not by my waist

As you can see, the handle got a way from waist and is above my head.  Needless to say, my spin stopped and I just dragged along in this position, exhausting myself.

Not really sure how this happened, but it makes for a good picture.  Almost looks like I’m trying to break dance or something.  This initiated as me trying to a tumble turn, but some how I rolled over on to my side…

break dancing?

Finally, to see a tumble turn in action, you can catch this short video of 7.  He definately has the spinning portion down.

7 Tumbles

He needs to work on stopping the spinning.