Finally… Some Almost Warm Weather

Finally had a chance to bust out the boat last weekend on Saturday morning and have a good time on the water. I forced everyone to have a early wake up, even though it is a late start for skiing, still early as we all adjust to a summer morning skiing schedule. I called for people to be at the lake at 830am. As I pulled in just a couple minutes late, I saw Sandy and John waiting. We launched the boat as Teri called to say that Rob and her were “almost” there. About 15 minutes after we got the boat in the water, they arrived, through no fault of Rob’s, or so he claims. Next time, I plan to just tell Teri 30 minutes earlier than the rest of us. They did bring some trail mix for everyone to snack on though.

Back to the skiing… We didn’t freeze, calm water and lots-o-sunshine. John, Teri and I did some footing, Sandy did a little slaloming, Rob got dragged around on the boom (much to our entertainment), and then we busted out my new surfboard. I won’t go into details about the day, I’ll just let the pictures do the talking… We took lots of them, and here the best of the pictures…


John threw some tumbles…


and one foots…


and did we mention he likes to test out his barefoot shorts…


I just did some footing… here I am in front
of the hospital I’m spending a lot of time in now…
(Work reasons, not health reasons)


Teri demonstrated a tumble turn on the boom


John wanted to have some on the boom too


Sandy busted out her slalom ski to rehab her knee…
her she throws up a wall behind the spray from the boat


A better picture…


Here I’m making sure the surfboard works


Teri on the board from up high…


and down low…


That wave looks huge!


John actually looses the rope now and then…


No rope…


But sometimes needs it back


Rob learned how to surf…


Here’s he on top of the water…


Here he’s about to go upside down…


It wasn’t that warm out though…
Sweatshirts made the day very nice
Sandy’s catching some rays here


And here’s the backdrop for our skiing, the state capital

Back to my earlier comment about dragging Rob around on the boom… he tried he hand (or feet) at barefooting. Now he’s not a small person and tested out the boom. He threw up some big splashes with some of his tumble up attempts, even dosing the camera once. We decided to catch them on video. I need to do a little editing and set the videos to music for maximum entertainment value. Be sure to check back.

Links: Picasa Web Album

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Mad-City’s First Show is Sunday, May 25 at 6pm

Hey Everybody! Mad-City has been braving the very brisk waters of Lake Monona the last couple weeks getting our skiing legs back underneath us in preperation for our first ski show of the year. And it is coming up fast. We’ve had 3 practices on the water so far and have our first show already. The team suits up on Sunday, May 25 at 6pm for our first show at Law Park (just east of the Monona Terrace on John Nolen Drive). It’ll be a little rough, but come watch it anyways. You’ll be amazed when you stop back in a couple weeks and see how much our show will change in such a very short time.

Here’s a couple pictures from the first few practices. Enjoy!


Anna’s face shows just how cold the water is!


Yeah, Conventional Doubles!


Landing after a 3-high


Dano remembers how to do Helis


Paul on the wakeboard

Pictures courtesy Jim’s Photos the photographer of the Mad-City Ski Team.

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22 Miles of Booze, or There and Back Again, a Drinking Tale

This past Saturday, the Best Dam Barefoot Race took place in Beaver Dam, WI. This year, I suited up with Bugsy, Beau, Dano and Marky to go the distance. Russ was driving for us in his Malibu.

Beau, Bugsy, Wedge, Dano and Marky Ready for 22 Miles of Fun

The weather this year, although not warmer than last year, was better than last year. The winds were much calmer, making the race like a Nascar Race. One slip up and you’re not going to win. For the race results, go check out Tales from the Foot. Basically, they messed up a pit stop and lost the race.

We didn’t have delusions of winning, we just wanted to finish. Shortly after the winners finished the race in a mere 23 minutes, we approached the turn around boat. The story in the bar afterwards goes that we stopped for a “drink” before making the return trip. We’ll neither confirm nor deny that, all we’ll say is that we were happy to see the turn around boat and they were happy to see us.

We finished the race, riding the feet of Marky, Dano and Beau while Bugsy and I did our contributions by giving them some recovery time and entertainment. Admittedly for all of us, it was a rough day. I’ve been on the water once, Dano a couple time, Bugsy did a 3-Event tourny (but hadn’t footed) while Beau and Marky suited up for the first time. None of were really ready for 22 miles, but we went anyways. Towards the end of race, the cold started to take affect, but then we finally spotted the bar and the finish line and rolled across the finish line 63 minutes and 43 seconds after we started.

But when the race finished, the party began.

We put the boat away, dried off and made our way into Dawn and Woody’s Moonlight Bar for food and drink. Before anything got too wild, we parked our cars at the Bell residence and car pooled back to the bar. We planned to have a good time.

As we arrived back at the bar, the karaoke was starting up. Beau, Dano and Marky had to head back to Madison for various reason, but we had reinforcements show up. Sandy and Beth were there to cheer us on, John arrived a little later, Teri was there as well with her own team and Douch arrived for the party as well. Many of us took turns on the stage… Sandy and Teri sang many songs, Pa Bell took the stage, Bugsy graced us with a boy band song, I did some Fishin’ in the Dark and got to sing along with Black Betty.

It took a while to get them to play Black Betty. First they said they’d already played and couldn’t play it again. Then I called them on the fact that they had already repeated several songs that night. Then they were like we don’t have a karaoke version and I told them I knew the words. After Douch made a comment about wanting ot hear it, they finally relented. It took way too much work to get that song played.

While I snacked on some cheese curds, Ann quizzed me on how I thought they were. I gave them 3 stars. They had a good batter on them and were white cheddar so they were pretty decent. We agreed that the curds at Old Fashions would be 5-star cheese curds and the variety served at The Coliseum Bar and The Dane in Fitchburg 4-stars. Ann then tried a cheese curd and agreed they’d be a 3-star cheese curd.

Talked with Footstock Dave and Chris Van Zeeland a little bit (he’d seen my other barefooting sight and liked it.) Shot some pool and caught up with some friends from the Must-Skis. All the while, I had a steady supply of margaritas on the rocks. I felt very good by the end of the night and none of us went home thirsty that night.

Here are some pictures from the night…


Wedge, Douch and a One of Many Margaritas


Bugsy on the Dance Floor


T-Bell and Wedge


Bugsy strikes a pose


Bell Duet

Around 11pm or so, we made it back the Bell house for the after bar. We arrived to find the garage fridge nearly empty, but Greg showed up with reinforcements. Meanwhile, Ma Bell kept feeding us with a steady supply of pizza. What some people found amazing was I was eating the pepperoni pizza even though it also had mushrooms on it. I don’t normally eat mushrooms. Correction… I don’t eat mushrooms. Or at least I hadn’t up until then.

Neither Bugsy or Lisa are doing anything particularly interesting…
But look at Ruby drinking some beer while Pa Bell watches proudly!

We made it past midnight and finally called it a night. I claimed a recliner in the Living Room once again and grabbed a blanket and quickly fell asleep.

Sunday morning arrived way too early and Ruby greeted me at 6am with a wake up call. Unlike last year, she didn’t have a pair of underwear with her this time. I was tired, thirsty and very sore, but surprisingly, not really hung over. Around 8am Ma Bell started making some breakfast for the Mother’s Day Breakfast she had planned. Slowly, the rest of the household started moving. I rolled out at 9am so I could make it back for my Mother’s Day festivities.

More pictures on Picasa.

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Breaking the Seal…

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog-casting. Water Skiing and Barefooting season is finally back!

Spring is doing everything in it’s power to push the last remnants of winter away. The weather is slowly warming, and with that, the water is slowly warming.

Unfortunately, the weather and my schedule haven’t been very cooperative this spring. The handful of nice days that we’ve previously had, I’ve been busy. The days I’ve had time, well let’s just say the weather has been a bit wintery. Hell, we’ve even had snow coming down on some of those days. Other days, 50 MPH gusts of wind. All great for water skiing… err maybe not.

But the weather and my schedule finally lined up on Monday. 60 or so degrees, sunshine, calm winds. After texting T-Bell and calling Lisa, I had the magic number for skiing.

After work, ran home to quickly get my boat, put some fresh gas in the tank, and headed to the lake. Teri and Lisa arrived and away we went. The lake’s a little high right now and we all felt the need to duck are heads as we went under the railroad bridge into the bay. I don’t think my head would have hit, but it was definitely low enough to make me think twice.

Once in the bay, I finished suiting up. And unlike last year, where I needed some assistance zipping up my suit…

Last year I needed some help…

This year, I zipped it all by myself. I’m a big boy now… or maybe not quite as big of a boy now since I fit in my suit a bit better.

Anyways, onto the skiing!

I took the honors and took the first run of the year behind my boat. I usually do. Ownership has it’s privileges. Somehow on my first run, I managed to be footing and have slack in my rope. That’s a neat trick. The first runs of the year took their toll on me. 2 sets of 2 runs each. No major runs, but it had it’s after affects. My feet were sore the next day, ear aches from the cold water, and arms that felt like jelly. Completely worth it though… I was back on the water.


Slack in the rope?


Smiling!

Next up Lisa dusted off her slalom ski. After letting the waves calm down from the barefoot circles, Douch took her runs back and forth across the bay cutting up the glassy water.

Lisa cutting hard!

Nice wall!

Teri dusted off her dry suit (not that it was really needed that night) and took her footing runs for the night and the first of the year for her as well.

Teri sporting the dry suit look!

In front of the Capitol

As we headed back to the boat launch, the three of us were treated to a great sunset!

Sunset on Lake Monona

After just a couple runs, maybe totaling 2 miles, I’m off to Beaver Dam this weekend for The Best Dam Barefoot Race. 22 miles of something. Last year it was brutal water, but a hell of a party afterwards. This year we’re crossing our fingers hoping for better water. No matter what, it’ll be a lot farther than I went on Monday.

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10 Best Places to Ski and Live… Redux

Although I like the fact that Madison, WI was named one of the 10 best places to ski and live, I really didn’t care for the article. Instead of just complaining about it, I’m taking action. I’m going to write my own version of the article. Here goes…

People in Madison, WI love their Packers and Badgers. The city, situated amongst Lake Monona, Mendota and Wingra also has people that love their lakes. Everyone enjoys the lakes, from the Union Terrace situated on Mendota to listen to live music in the summer or attending a wedding reception at the Monona Terrace situated literally on top of Lake Monona, people love the lakes. But people do more than just things around the lakes, they do stuff on the lakes. In the winter, while they’re frozen, you can find a multitude of ice fisherman on the lakes. But once they finally thaw, you can find even more people enjoying the lakes. The lakes are known for their great fishing and also sport both UW Rowing Team and many rowing clubs. There are also avid sailing clubs. Amongst all this activity, you can also find 3-eventers, wakeboarders, barefooters, show skiers and weekend warriors on the lakes. Madison is home to the Mad-City Ski Team, winner of 3 of the past 4 national championships, and the UW-Ski Team, a collegiate team that has competed well at the national level, despite only a month or so on the water in the spring and fall. To support all of the avid skiers, the city has boat dealers for both Mastercrafts and Nautiques. The lakes are facing their challenges though. The Mad-City Ski Team is helping to lead the charge and sponsors the Clean Lakes Festival raising money to help clean the lakes for everyone to enjoy.

Selling point: Minnesota may be the land of 10,000 lakes, but Wisconsin has even more. And 5 of the lakes are in the Madison area. Once the lakes thaw, you can find avid skiers taking to the water while ice still lines the shores, making the most of their precious time on the water. Whatever type of skiing you enjoy, you’ll like find some new friends on the water that share your passion for the sport. And once the sun goes down, you’ll find a lively city scene to keep you occupied till the sun comes up again. Just make sure you’re not allergic to snow.

Website: http://www.madcityskiteam.com or http://www.uwwaterski.org

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10 Best Places to Ski and Live

I was flipping through the April 2008 issue of Water Ski Magazine and saw this picture staring back at me…

Mad-City Ski Team’s Ballet Line
Picture Composed by Don Heilman from the team’s website

Turns out I was on a page in their article titled 10 Best Places to Ski and Live. Now I’m happy to see Madison, WI ranked on their list, but I wish they had spent just a little bit more time writing their paragraph about Madison.

First off, the image is straight off the Mad-City Ski Team’s website. I know, I help run the site and know the person who put the image together. It isn’t a simple photo, there is some photo shop skill on display there as well. The kicker is photo credit doesn’t list the person that created this image or the team. It lists the person that sent them the image. Not good in my opinion.

Next, they talk about Mad City being a “show skier’s haven.” Based on that comment and the picture accompanying the article, I’m guessing Madison made the list, at least in part, because it’s home to the Mad-City Ski Team, winner of 3 of the 4 past National Show Ski Championships. If that’s the case, then just come out and say that it in the article instead of just the allusion to it by referencing Madison’s very common nickname which is incorporated into the team’s name.

The next thing that irked me is they completely got the number of lakes in Wisconsin all messed up. They point at the Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and Wisconsin isn’t that far behind. Now I knew off the top of my head that Wisconsin has more lakes than Minnesota. Using the internet I easily verified that. Wisconsin has about 15,000 lakes, significantly more than the 11,842 lakes in Minnesota. If you’re going to point out how many lakes a state has, even in general terms, make sure you get it right.

Finally, going back to the picture. It’s a picture right off the ski team’s website, so they know where it’s at. I think the picture was on the WWSF’s site too, and if they got it there, they were obviously looking for a Mad-City picture for their article and the WWSF site has links to the team’s website so they could find it. Plus, if you Google the team name, the team’s site is right at the top of the list. The website listed as a local reference for the article is the WWSF website. Nothing against the federations website, but ALL of the other 10 best places have a local chamber of commerce type site listed or local ski club site listed, not the state’s federation site. (I’m guessing this is related to the person who sent them the photo, but not positive.)

Once again, I love the fact that they like Madison enough to put it on their list and featured a picture of the Mad-City Ski Team in the article. They may even have mentioned my skiing habit of skiing until very late in the season in a drysuit amongst the snow and ice. But please do some basic fact checking. Or contact someone with some local knowledge to help with the fact checking.

Just a little note… One of the other cities listed, Seattle, Washington, has a great photo of someone skiing on Lake Sammamish with Mount Rainier in the background. It is a very scenic place to ski… I know, I’ve skied there. Very nice place to ski.

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Approaching 5000 Visitors Fast…

Waaaaay down at the bottom of the bfooter.com home page you’ll find a tiny little counter. That’s what keeps track of how many people stop by. Well, I’m nearly to 5000 visits. Should cross that total later on today or tomorrow. Will you be visitor number 5000? If you are, let me know!

Those of you looking for some water ski commentary… it’ll be coming… real soon. The lakes are nearly open and my boat is ready to go. Just waiting for the water to resume it’s liquid form.

And yes, I’m jealous of Rykert… he’s back on the water. Posted a couple videos too. If you listen closely, there are a couple funny comments from the people holding the video camera.

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UW Oshkosh Forming a Ski Team!

Hot of the press… UW Oshkosh is forming a water ski team. Their first opponent… UW Platteville. Get the full story here.

On a more serious note, it’s good to know water skiing is important enough at UW Oshkosh to warrant an April Fool’s Day Joke. Not sure why they’d have to use the sink holes… they have enough water around the campus in lakes and rivers, unless they just have a whole lotta sink holes on campus. That, and they already have a ski team.

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Hydrofoil Wakeboards = Old News

Not really, but kinda. Over on WakeBoarder’s Spot they had an article about a new form of wake boarding called Hydrofoil Wakeboarding. Basically, you have a wakeboard that instead of the basic fins on the bottom has a hydrofoil. Granted, they still aren’t being mass produced, but it really isn’t that new of an idea.

As I previously documented, some guy in the UK is trying to patent this idea of a hydrofoil wakeboard and I did my own personal debunking of it. If you look closely at the patent, it’s kinda vague and isn’t even new. Laird Hamilton and his crew of surfers in Hawaii have been doing this for years (as shown in the movie Step into Liquid). They stumbled upon an air chair, decided to get rid of the chair and then put some boots on it so they could get towed into the really big waves for surfing purposes. I’ve previously posted about this here and here. The movie came out in 2003 and it looked like they had been doing the foil surfing for several years. They had the process pretty well refined.

But my documentation of the foil boards goes back even further now. In the pilot episode of the classic cartoon Jonny Quest titled Mystery of the Lizard Men they show Jonny on what could almost be a hyrdofoil wakeboard. This back in 1964. Here’s the proof…

Jonny Quest – Mystery of the Lizard Men (1964)

Now this isn’t the best arguement because they put pretty much every water craft that the Quests owned on a foil of some sort, but it does show an elongated board for the purpose of being towed on the water with his feet secured and a hydrofoil.

This also gives me a good place to recommend the modern day version of Jonny Quest titled The Venture Brothers. It airs on [adult swim]. Great little cartoon and the make fun of Jonny Quest too.

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Whole Lotta Updates…

Where to start… it’s been about a month since my last post. No, I haven’t gone away, just been busy dealing with “winter” stuff here in Wisconsin.

I guess the first big update from the last month would be I hit up Think Tank. For those that are wondering what that is, it’s a water skiing convention put on by the Wisconsin Water Ski Federation. You can go there and learn about a lot of different aspects of water skiing. 3-event, collegiate, wake boarding, barefooting and show skiing. Lots of show skiing stuff there. It’s a good way to get people excited about the ski season starting here in Wisconsin (not that it has yet, but it’s getting close). It’s also a good excuse to get a bunch of water skiers together and have a big party. Only real complaint from the weekend is the hotel bar at the Chula Vista is not big enough to hold all the skiers. Over at BFC, they’ve posted a pretty good update about there trip to Think Tank.

My personal experience there was a lot of fun. I had my friend Linda, a show skier herself, up from Florida for the weekend. We got up there late afternoon on Friday and hit the water park in the hotel. I think it’s the first time I’ve gone to a water park in about 15 years. That was a lot of fun. Then we hit the outdoor hot tub for drinks before changing and heading down to the doubles competition and fashion show (better known as 2 good reasons to drink at Think Tank.) Saturday was rough, dranks lots of water, taught my tank in the afternoon and partied some more that night.

Shortly after Think Tank, I heard about a new water skiing movie coming out this summer. H2O Extreme. Guess the plot synopsis is a talented water skier and hockey player moves from Wisconsin to Florida to pursue the big money in professional show skiing, passing on a professional hockey career. Personally, it’s like my life story. Grew up playing hockey, in Wisconsin no less, love to show ski and water ski in general, but still not getting paid. I guess the main difference between me and the guy in the movie, he’s got some made show ski skills. Flying high on the wakeboard and fronts and gainers off the ramp, where as I’m a chick hauler who likes to try and jump. Want some more details? Check out the trailer…

If watch the trailer closely, you’ll see the newest skis from HO (yes that’s a real ski company name), twin tip jump skis. Yes, they’ve been doing it for years on the slopes and now they’ve done it for jump skis. Seen on the water ski blog-o-sphere first over on the Row Boat, you can pick up your own pair for four bills over at waterskis.com.

While I’ve been lacking in my blog posts, the Row Boat has not. Then been posting up a flurry lately. Word on the street is the Row Boat has expanded a little bit. It’s no longer one man on the oars and it sounds likes he’s got a couple people over there helping to row himself around the lake.

Meanwhile, it looks like winter may actually be over here in Wisconsin. Spring officially starts tomorrow and my yard is pretty empty of snow (except where I piled it up clearing off the driveway). The lakes are still not open yet, and probably won’t be for a couple weeks yet. Too much ice needs to melt.

To compare the weather from this year (tons of snow) to years past (not tons of snow), back in 06 I actually went skiing without a dry suit and didn’t freeze on Good Friday. This Friday, which happens to be Good Friday I’ll definitely not be on the water. One reason, the water is still frozen solid. The second reason, which actually trumps the first, is it will likely be snowing here on Friday. Southern Wisco is under a winter storm warning from Thursday night thru Friday. 4 to 6 inches expected. Now you’re thinking “but it’s spring”? Well, spring here in Wisco still means we get some snow now and then.

Finally, been busy with Mad-City stuff. You’re thinking, but it’s winter, how can you be busy. Well, Mad-City goes year round. Being on the board keeps me pretty busy, but I’ve been helping out on the show committee helping to plan next years show, also keeps me pretty busy. Plus, we’ve had some winter practices. Those don’t take up much time, but they are there. We’ve got a small army of new people on the team this year and need to get them up to speed for climbing so once the water thaws, we can get the pyramids going.

We’ll, I try not to go a month before posting again. I’ll be getting my boat ready to hopefully hit the hopefully no longer frozen water the first weekend in April. Won’t be breaking my record season start of March 24 from last year, mainly because the lakes are frozen. Although as you can see from the previous post, I did get a little water time in January. (Still get shivers in my spine thinking about that.)

Couple last things… over on the right, you may have noticed it looks a little different. First off, there’s a section titled What I’m Reading. That’s mainly random funny or interesting things I’ve found on the net. Click on one of the links now and then, it might make you laugh. Just below that there’s my attempt to help cross promote the other skiing sites on the web as I Scour the Web for Water Skiing. The good sites that I’ve found, I’ve set up in a feed so as they post stories, you’ll see them in the feed there on the right. Way down at bottom of the right side column, there’s a place to sign up for email updates from here. Put your email address in, and after you confirm your subscription, these posts will come right to your Inbox. Inbox cluttered, just use the RSS feed… don’t know what an RSS feed is? Go here to get a crash course on what they are, then make your way over to Google Reader. Sign up or use your existing Google/Gmail account and it’ll keep track of all your RSS feeds.

Lastly, if you’ve made it this far, you’re a dedicated reader. Show your dedication by sending my a barefooting story my other site… Tales from the Foot. I want to get some reader generated content up there. Send me barefoot successes, failures or funny stories.

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