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fever5

Learning to Barefoot

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fever5

I am looking to try barefooting. Everyplace I go to says barefoot suit (w/cup ;-) and boom are necessary.

The problem is I don't know anyone around my area that foots, let alone even sells the equipment. Also I'd rather not spend $500 on the boom, $300 on the suit not to like it.

Is it possible to use a really long line (100' or so) with a full dive suit (5 mm in chest), and a kneeboard start to get a taste of footing? Or is the suit and boom unavoidable pre-req?

Thanks guys!

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Helinut

I have no idea since I've never done it, but I'd say the boom would go a long ways in learning how to foot. The long line is what you would graduate to once you've learned. I may get up the nerve some day to try, but I would actually really like to try the sky ski!

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fever5
I have no idea since I've never done it, but I'd say the boom would go a long ways in learning how to foot. The long line is what you would graduate to once you've learned. I may get up the nerve some day to try, but I would actually really like to try the sky ski!

I REALLY want to try a ski sky. It seems like doing inverts on that is a bit easier than wakeboarding, but who knows. I could have just seen a lot of good riders. The problem is that is $2000 or so to break into!

My understanding is a long line is use to avoid the harsh prop wash, unless one has a boom. I feel pretty confident that I could probably get up on a kneeboard approach. I can visualize doing it, and it makes sense to my how the physics would work...but I mean ideally a boom would be better....

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jjackkrash

Obviously, a boom and good equipment and an instructor makes things easier. I am not an expert footer or footer instructor by any means, but I learned to foot behind a 16 foot deep v with a 115 hp Yamaha outboard with a 75' rope and a shorty. We used a slalom ski or a hydroslide between our legs at first to get started, but, truthfully, I thought starting with your feet wrapped around the rope, pulling up to where your butt is skimming across the water, crossing outside the wake, then goosing the throttle and standing up, was the easiest. Others will chime in, but learning without all the fancy equipment is doable if you don't mind a couple dozen face plants while learning. Also, a pair of Converse Chuck Tailor's makes it a little easier as well.

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mlange

IMO a boom is essential for learning. You can learn long line - I did back when I was a kid. But in hindsight that was insane and my back is still screwed up to this day from a scorpion fall I took when learning long line.

The nice thing about a boom is that if you have kids it's a great tool to teach them to ski as well. So while I understand why you don't want to drop a wad on something you might not even like in the long run, the boom can be used for other things and hold their value pretty well, too.

Mike

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jjackkrash
IMO a boom is essential for learning. You can learn long line - I did back when I was a kid. But in hindsight that was insane and my back is still screwed up to this day from a scorpion fall I took when learning long line.

The nice thing about a boom is that if you have kids it's a great tool to teach them to ski as well. So while I understand why you don't want to drop a wad on something you might not even like in the long run, the boom can be used for other things and hold their value pretty well, too.

Mike

I agree 100%. But it is doable to learn long line if you have a high risk tolerance and a wild hair. Crazy.gif

Edited by jjackkrash

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LS1boarder
I am looking to try barefooting. Everyplace I go to says barefoot suit (w/cup ;-) and boom are necessary.

The problem is I don't know anyone around my area that foots, let alone even sells the equipment. Also I'd rather not spend $500 on the boom, $300 on the suit not to like it.

Is it possible to use a really long line (100' or so) with a full dive suit (5 mm in chest), and a kneeboard start to get a taste of footing? Or is the suit and boom unavoidable pre-req?

Thanks guys!

How far into Ontario do you live? You could come out and try my boom. I basically live in Detroit and take my boat out 30 minutes west of here. Although, I don't have any clue how to use it since it came with the boat and I have not tried it yet. I know how to hook it up, just not sure how to barefoot. I would also like to give it a try.

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Sunset_Bob

First let me suggest that before you go out and buy a bunch of equipment, invest in a trip to a Professional Barefoot school in Florida. The top 3 are Keith St'Onge, Ron Scarpa's and Lane Bower's. Any one of these three will get you on your feet without breaking your neck. I've skied with all of them and I can tell you they all three helped me tremendously. Especially Keith, he is in my opinion probably the best instructor I've had.

Then if you feel barefooting is for you, then invest in the equipment. You go to one of their schools and they can hook you up with everything you need at a good price.

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fever5

Mike and jjackkrash thanks for the advice. I realized there may be some faceplanting, but I didn't appreciate how the dangerous the initial learning stage seems to be.

LS1boarder, I am up in Kenora, ON Lake of the Woods. Thank-you very much for the offer though! Likewise, if you're ever up hear give me a shout.

Looks like I'll try to find a boom...now I have to find out how easy / hard these things are to install, I'd rather not drill!

Edit: Sunset_Bob, I wrote my post while you wrote yours, but thank-you very much for that advice. Break neck? This sounds worse than wakeboarding...lol

Edited by fever5

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Scottman

A boom is very easy to set up. Clamp it to the pylon and set the cables. You won't have to drill any holes in your boat. I would recommend a Barefoot International boom. Look at ebay and BarefootCentral.com, you can find some pretty good deals on used barefoot suits.

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Sunset_Bob
Mike and jjackkrash thanks for the advice. I realized there may be some faceplanting, but I didn't appreciate how the dangerous the initial learning stage seems to be.

LS1boarder, I am up in Kenora, ON Lake of the Woods. Thank-you very much for the offer though! Likewise, if you're ever up hear give me a shout.

Looks like I'll try to find a boom...now I have to find out how easy / hard these things are to install, I'd rather not drill!

Edit: Sunset_Bob, I wrote my post while you wrote yours, but thank-you very much for that advice. Break neck? This sounds worse than wakeboarding...lol

Barefooting can be brutal on you if done improperly. Believe me, I've had my share of faceplants. I've blown two eardrums, and paralyzed one of my vocal cords from a barefoot fall. And had numerous falls where I come up and have no feeling in my arm and hand. I haven't had a bad fall in a couple of years. Last backward fall I took finished my season for the year early. I hurt my lower back pretty bad and took all winter and a lot of rehab to get over it.

BillFooter and myself have always been pretty competitive with each other until the last year or so. We've both come to the conclusion we are getting older and we don't bounce back from those hard barefoot falls as we used too. But we still foot with the best of them and enjoy it very very much.

I have taken the just for fun approach and don't push myself so hard. My point is learn from a experienced footer, don't skimp on equipment, take it slow and have fun. OH, and take lot's of video. Years later the videos of you learning can be very amusing. I have my very first run on the short line and I laugh my a** off everytime I watch it. ROFL.gifROFL.gif

Edited by Sunset_Bob

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martho

Footing has its pros and cons. The falls during the learning process are a big con!

Here is a video of what can happen when something goes wrong. We are only running about 35mph when the faceplant comes, but as you can tell by the sound of my voice(ohhhh) the footer took a hard fall. The footer has improved dramatically since this video was taken a few years ago.

FEVER5: I want you to see a real life experience of someone learning to foot and why proper gear and quality instruction are so important. While I am not an instructor, I did assist this skier in learning to foot. He had the proper gear, was working on the 5' rope and the speed was good for his weight/ability. How many times can you body take this? SMACK

Edited by martho

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fever5
Footing has its pros and cons. The falls during the learning process are a big con!

Here is a video of what can happen when something goes wrong. We are only running about 35mph when the faceplant comes, but as you can tell by the sound of my voice(ohhhh) the footer took a hard fall. The footer has improved dramatically since this video was taken a few years ago.

FEVER5: I want you to see a real life experience of someone learning to foot and why proper gear and quality instruction are so important. While I am not an instructor, I did assist this skier in learning to foot. He had the proper gear, was working on the 5' rope and the speed was good for his weight/ability. How many times can you body take this? SMACK

My goodness. I saw a few videos, but when you hear the motor, and see the beginner and appreciate how fast they are actually going that's something else. It looks like this guy had the unfortunate luck of capturing a small wave, probably dug his toes in?

I am 23, I cheated death last summer in a boat crash that by all rights (and every trauma doc I've met) should have killed me. I think I am going to re-evaluate my barefooting desire. lol. Although I think I usually have a lot of common sense, the reality is I won't have enough time this summer to invest into the sport to take it seriously enough to be safe. Thanks for all the sobering reminders (that video sealed the deal). I will likely still try, but probably not this year.

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Lovetoski

The one thing no one has added here, you also need a person who knows how to drive a barefooter in the equation! I wouldn't suggest anyone try barefooting without going with someone who knows how. You could also try shoe skis as an aid in learning. I agree with others, go to a professional school. Those guys also travel....maybe somewhere close to you? They all have websites you could check out to see where they are traveling this summer.

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footnlongline
I am looking to try barefooting. Everyplace I go to says barefoot suit (w/cup ;-) and boom are necessary.

The problem is I don't know anyone around my area that foots, let alone even sells the equipment. Also I'd rather not spend $500 on the boom, $300 on the suit not to like it.

Is it possible to use a really long line (100' or so) with a full dive suit (5 mm in chest), and a kneeboard start to get a taste of footing? Or is the suit and boom unavoidable pre-req?

Thanks guys!

Thats how we learned. no wet suit and a pinned 115 outboard. we'd foot till we fell cause you couldn't sit down. We did alot of stupid things when we were younger though, but the memories are priceless and the wipe outs would have surely been on WWW of sports if we had video cams back then.

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Matt_Alger

I learned to foot with a kneeboard... granted I was 13 years old so falls were not very painful. With some practice and willingness to fall, I am sure you can do it with a kneeboard. I would suggest going out on a slalom ski and planting a foot several times BUT NOT STEPPING OFF first. You need to get the feel of the plant before trying to plant off the kneeboard. The toughest part of the kneeboard approach is keeping some weight on the front of the board so it doesn't porpoise as you increase speed. Watch some videos to see how to practice on land with the plant from a seated position so you aren't jamming in your feet. Also, with the dive suit, I would suggest a cup ($8)... although it is an investment in the sport, it protects at least one area durring the fall better than just the suit.

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jgouveia3

as all have mentioned above, a boom is the easiest way to learn. I learned many moons ago using both the kneeboard and longline dropping a ski.

One thing that I have not seen mentioned and have seen demoed several times in Waterski magazine is using a wakeboard instead of a kneeboard, if you can't get access to a boom. The wakeboard tracks much better than the kneeboard, and is much easier to get up on.

Also, no one has mentioned that if you do try without proper instruction or equipment, the number one thing you will need is lots of aspirin....

Edited by jgouveia3

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UWSkier

Get the boom. Even with that it's hard. I have a bad shoulder to show for my barefooting experience. I haven't footed in a couple years for that reason.

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1FootDan

I learned by being pulled with a 105 foot line and starting of a tube but do not recommed it... No.gif

If you compare learning to barefoot to learning to ride a bike, the boom is your trainning wheels and your barefoot suit is your protective gear (knee/elbow pads and helmet). Sure you can learn to ride a bike on 2 wheels directly, but you will fall a lot more and hurt a lot more. Sure you can ride a bike without protective gear... if you think that you will never fall. And as for the person teaching you, if he knows no more than you do, it is like a kid who has never ridden a bike trying to teach another kid how to ride.

You can always buy your gear used and re-sell it if you do not like it (ebay if full of used barefoot gear). Here is a minimum of what you need:

  • Barefoot suit (full padded)
    Padded shorts
    Barefoot Boom
    Instructional video* (IMO Lane Bower's is the best for learning)
    Shoe Skis

*If you use an instructional video, have a trainning partner watch it with you to correct your mistakes or have someone in the boat film you si you can see what you are doing wrong.

If you do not want to invest in a instructional video (I use the word invest because it really is an investment...), type DAWGTV in youtube search and you might find a few clips there.

Another thing that is helpful for learning the lower body position (angle of feet, ankles underneath knees) also refered to as "glide" is barefoot International's barefoot trainner AKA: Barefoot swing. It comes with it's own instructional video too.

BTW, you do not need a cup until you start learning back barefooting... or if you have a tiny weinie and don't want it showing thru your suit... Tease.gif

Learning the right way will probably make the difference between if you like barefooting or not... Where in Ontario do you live? I could try to find you someone to give you a few lessons maybe?

Edited by 1FootDan

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whitlecj

Yes fever5. You can do it just as you described in the first post. That is how I learned to do it, less the dry suit. I also think wearing some old flat bottom shoes helps a beginner. Good Luck!

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wanttoski
I am looking to try barefooting. Everyplace I go to says barefoot suit (w/cup ;-) and boom are necessary.

The problem is I don't know anyone around my area that foots, let alone even sells the equipment. Also I'd rather not spend $500 on the boom, $300 on the suit not to like it.

Is it possible to use a really long line (100' or so) with a full dive suit (5 mm in chest), and a kneeboard start to get a taste of footing? Or is the suit and boom unavoidable pre-req?

Thanks guys!

Just toss your manhood out there and do it! I learned with those nice orange PFD's and a combo pair of ski's. Enough determination and you can do it. Now I will add some hints that you will fall and it will hurt like hell...but all in a day's work. The equipment makes it easier, but I can tell you that it can be done without it. I'd recommend doing a step-off not the kneeboard if you don't have any gear. Make sure you really plant your one leg and have all the weight on it before you try and ditch the drop ski. Good luck!

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Addictedto6
Edit: Sunset_Bob, I wrote my post while you wrote yours, but thank-you very much for that advice. Break neck? This sounds worse than wakeboarding...lol

I'll take a barefoot fall over a wakeboard face smack any day....I HATE wakeboard falls.

that said, it's important that you learn how to fall properly when barefooting (chin tuck!) to minimize the chances of getting hurt.

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Addictedto6
Just toss your manhood out there and do it! I learned with those nice orange PFD's and a combo pair of ski's. Enough determination and you can do it. Now I will add some hints that you will fall and it will hurt like hell...but all in a day's work. The equipment makes it easier, but I can tell you that it can be done without it. I'd recommend doing a step-off not the kneeboard if you don't have any gear. Make sure you really plant your one leg and have all the weight on it before you try and ditch the drop ski. Good luck!

I was never able to do the step off method. I learned 23 years ago behind an IO using a kneeboard, barefoot shorts, cup and life vest and no instructor. We needed two 75-ropes tied together to avoid the prop wash. Lots of face plants, but finally made it around the Bass Lake, IN for a victory lap!

On a kneeboard, the key is to get your weight forward on the nose of the board to minimize porpoising. (EDIT: As Matt already said above!)

That said, it's 1000x easier to learn off a boom, and I would definitely go to an instructor if you want to get serious about it.

Edited by Addictedto6

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Lakenut

Don't get scared. Go for it. A wetsuit is a must. You will also need to protect the jewels. Spray at 35+ comes pretty hard. Get a low stretch rope...yes it makes a difference.

I learned on an old yellow hydroslide kneeboard and my dad learned the same way when he was in his late 50s. Yes the falls suck, but they aren't that bad. Using a kneeboard is pretty simple. Have the driver get on the throttle just enough to get you plained out. Too fast and you will likely start bouncing. Get comfortable on the board, and get outside of the wake. For me, the singnal to the driver to accelerate was when my feet hit the water. Keep your weight ballanced-don't lean back trying to fight the spray in your face. If anything, keep your weight forward a bit and your feet underneath you. As the boat hits the upper 20s the spray off your feet will acctually start lifting the board and you up. As you hit the low to mid 30s the board will all of the sudden dissappear.

Big keys for learning is don't push it when the water isn't good. Even slight rolls can be a PITA when you are starting out. Stuff that would be great for skiing or boarding can be frustrating to a beginning footer. Also make sure the boat driver knows what is going on. He needs to do one thing....drive the boat...not spectating. If you have room, a slow turn to the opposite side the footer is on can help keep you out of the wake as you are coming up. As the boat picks up speed, you naturally start drifting back into the middle.

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