View Full Version : Barefooting - Getting Up?

09-14-2004, 08:39 AM
We've never footed before, but would love to try! We are all experienced slalom skiers, don't own a boom, and are wondering what's the best way to learn? Step off a ski? Kneeboard? Deep water start, and if so, front or back? We're prepared to get beat up trying also, because there will be no barefoot suits involved. What do you all think! Thanks a million in advance for your help!

09-14-2004, 08:42 AM
In the few times I have tried barefooting I would say DO NOT try it without a suit. At the very least a wetsuit. :twocents:

09-14-2004, 08:58 AM
i first learnt many moons ago by sitting on a kneeboard.....hook the handle over the top of the kneeboard and balance you butt on the board put the boat in gear and balance yourself with the other hand..(easier with the aquatic hook found on new boards)..get up to planing speed and get yourself comfortable...all this can be removed if you can swivel your legs round from the normal kneeboard pos.....move to one side of the wake and sit in the curl....at this stage you should be doing 15-20mph....accelerate gradually and place your heels onto the water slowly..i edged slightly forward and put more weight onto the water as the boat was accelerating...as you gradually stand up the board will drop away from you....depending on weight you will be doing abt 36-42 mph (weight in lbs/10 plus 20) so 180lbs is 38mph....you are now barefootin my friend and will never look back....foot in the pos.as if you were on the crapper.....you can sub the kneeboard for a wakeskate if you like...i have tried both..

09-14-2004, 09:08 AM
Without a boom I think the best bet is by sitting on a kneeboard. The general process that I use when getting up by kneeboard is:

1) Sit upright in the water with the kneeboard between your legs and the tip just showing out of the water (this is actually a little bit of a balancing act but helps once the rope gets tight).
2) Have the driver accelerate to about 18 mph with a nice gentle pull.
3) Get outside the wake on either the left or right side (left is probably a little easier for the driver). The easiest way is to cut left as soon as the driver starts the pull so you can get outside the wake before it even forms. Otherwise it is a little work to get over the big wake at 18.
4). Once you are up at 18 scoot as far forward on the board as possible. This prevents the board from bouncing (porposing) as you increase speed. I found the best way to scoot forward is hold handle with one hand, put other hand behind your but, put feet on tip, and lift your bottom and move forward. I usually get my but on the very front of the pad.
5).Give the driver a nod to indicate to speed up. I like to go about 33-35 but others will probably say faster.
6). Once up to speed I lay my body back (not all the way to the board but pretty close.
7) Take your feet off the kneeboard and place them on the water nearly flat with your toes curled up. Knees should be bent and feet on either side of the board.
8) Start putting downward pressure on your heels until you are up.
9) Breathe naturally and smile! you're up.

I learned this way but was never ever able to teach anyone else using this approach. Once I got the boom almost everyone could get up holding onto the boom (not as many using a 5' handle but some).

I echo the recommendation to wear a suit. Padded barefoot suit without sleeves is my preffered approach.


09-14-2004, 09:09 AM
if you like it ..invest in a barefoot suit..a must in order to learn deepwater starts,,,a boom is also a godsend..the quickest way to learn

09-14-2004, 09:24 AM
i think we echo each other ..eh lance

09-14-2004, 09:36 AM
I agree with Sizzler and Lance, the kneeboard is the best method next to a boom. It can ba a little tricky getting into the sitting position with your feet out the front. May require tring a few different ways to see which works best for you. I got up in normal kneeboard fashion then moved around to get my feet out the front.
If you dont have a wet suit, I would recommend at least neoprene shorts and a neoprene vest.

I learned before kneeboards and booms were around, using the ski step off method. I still have the scars......

Oh yea, if you happen to face plant when you first get up off the knee board, remember, that board is right behind you, coming at you! :eek:

09-14-2004, 10:10 AM
The boom is for pussies get out there on the long line and learn the hard way like those before us! Plant that foot in the water then take the other one and put it in...and o man your doing it! lean back and dont get a boom because once you can do it on the long line its useless! Suits are not needed i just use my regular wetsuit an have walked away from every run or fall.

09-14-2004, 10:18 AM
I learned 15 years ago behind a 130HP I/O with a slalmon rope and a regular wetsuit, I do not recomend this to any beginner. (still have scars)

The boom is a great way to learn; however once you are comfortable on the 5 foot line go to the long line and don't look back. Some of my friends have learned to depend on the boom (boom babies) and are chicken to foot with the big boys behind the boat.

As far as backwards, learn fronts first. Anyone who does back deeps or backwards on the boom has paid there dues. It took me twice as long to learn back deeps as front long lines.

"The meek may inharit the earth, but I can walk on water"

09-14-2004, 10:24 AM
The boom is for pussies get out there on the long line and learn the hard way like those before us! Plant that foot in the water then take the other one and put it in...and o man your doing it! lean back and dont get a boom because once you can do it on the long line its useless! Suits are not needed i just use my regular wetsuit an have walked away from every run or fall.
booms may be for pussies,,but try getting your 9 year old daughter to long line deep without ever being on her feet.........booms are best to learn on........

09-14-2004, 10:49 AM
Booms are also good for learning things like tumbleturns and probably backwards although I never made that work.

I am impressed by those that learned the step off method. I still use that only in cases where people really want to see some barefooting and I don't have access toa kneeboard. The thing I don't like about stepping off is that if you use the slow and steady approach you really have to be going fast enough to barefoot on one foot. On the other hand, if you quickly move your foot from ski to water you run the risk of planting too far and doing a face plant.

If it wasn't obvious from my previous post, from the kneeboard or deepwaters I like to actually stand up when I am just outside the wake in the curl.

I also agree with comment about 'boom babies'. There is a guy on the lake that I ski at that just loves to go the full length hanging onto his boom (not even a 5' line). Never does anything beyond stand there. Boom is good for training but it is a training aid and should be used for initial progress but once successful you should go to the long line.

I am surprised no one has picked up on the speed recommendation and provided alternate views. I used to barefoot much faster than 33-35 but found that I had a tough time making it all the way around on tumbleturns if I was going too fast. Anyone else with a view on this?


09-14-2004, 10:59 AM
i foot at 40-41 mph...when i tumble-turn i just make sure that if i am out port of the wake(i.e. left of the boat wake),i sit down onto my left cheek and spin clockwise,tucking my knees up to clear the wake as i go round,when i get back in line i use my right foot to line myself up and to stop over-rotation.... reverse this for the otherside of the wake....i find that by sitting on one cheek as opposed to two and then starting to rotate ,my main problem is overrotation and i tend to form a 720 out of it.......

i hope this helps

09-14-2004, 11:00 AM

I want to hear your approach for learning backwards. When I was barefooting a lot (and was much younger), I got very close to backwards barefooting by getting myself to go backwards on a kneeboard using a 5' line on a boom. Then placed feet very wide and pushed down on the balls of my feet. I got very close a few times (the board started sliding away from my chest but I was only about an inch of the board). The next step would have been to by a rope with a wider handle because I felt my hands were interfering with my ability to get my but high enough... thought if I could get my hands wider I could get my but higher resulting in better foot angle to water.

I then went back to school, got married, moved to hawaii, moved back & had kids so I have never tried again. Now that we just bought waterfront property I am hoping to get back to lake more and would love to add backward barefooting to my waterskii resume.

Your advice would be appreciated.


09-14-2004, 11:04 AM
Recomended speed formula= you weight divided by 10 and add 20.

For me this is 210 divided by 10 = 21 + 10 = 41

This is a good guide but if you are doing one foot wakes bump it up by 2 mph.

09-14-2004, 11:14 AM
lance...the main key to back-deep starts on the shortline is a good driver.....
start with both hands on the handle behind your back and your right leg wrapped over the line....
take a deep breath ,shout "hit it" and turn over..the boat driver accelerates to about 10-12 mph.
feel as if you are trying to break the handle around the small of your back and throw your shoulders back...you are now planing on yourchest...
take your foot off of the line and place your feet as far apart as you can..the driver is accelerating now to abt 15 -17..(i curl my toes up now)...
still accelerating you need to thrust your butt in the air and your chin into the water and move your handle to below your buttcheeks..you are now doing about 22-25mph.....
still accelerating 33-35 bring up your chin,and raise your head....don't stand up too tall ,as this will result in you catching a heel and going over backwards......legs at 7'0'clock,body at 2'0' clock.......

not always easy to describe it sitting at work...but i hope i have not left anything out.....

09-14-2004, 11:14 AM
Lance, I'll do my best to s'plain it:

This is the way I do it off the boom:

Lay face up in the water with the rope between your legs and the boat in neutral. When you are ready roll over face down in the water with the rope resting on the front of your shin, at this point the driver will slowly bring the boat upto about 15 mph. During this time you should be driving your chest down into water as hard as possible.
After the boat reaches planeing speed remove the rope from your shin, this is the sign to the driver to bring the boat upto about 38 (for me).
Now gentle spead your legs apart and SET your ankles on the water and you will come up.

Two things: when you fall the wake of the boat will hit you in the face so be ready for it and two I always were a cup and neckbrace when going backwards.

09-14-2004, 11:15 AM
One more thing, a good driver that knows what they are doing is key.

09-14-2004, 11:16 AM
Sizzler, looks like we were typing at the same time!

09-14-2004, 11:24 AM
Wow what a plethora of information guys! Thanks a million! I'm now ready to go out there and really wreck myself, but it should be a blast trying. I do have both a dry and wet suit that, and I'll be sure to wear one of them.

I'll roll with the kneeboard start, cruise at 36 and go for it. When you say "hook" the rope on the front of the kneeboard, do you mean put the opening of the triangle through somehow? Second question, how do I stop! :D

09-14-2004, 11:28 AM
Stopping for a beginner will come naturally....hehehe.

When you fall foward and the rush of water peels your eyelids over your head, you will come to a stop.

09-14-2004, 11:31 AM
think mastercrafting was joking....I say go out behind an 85 horse johnson and get a good whip going and step off....dont forget your saftey belt(before vests) and 2 pairs of cut off jeans(saftey equipment)...keep trying till you peel your eye lids back! :uglyhamme

09-14-2004, 11:35 AM
petes.........the triangle of your handle willfit over the nose of your kneeboard...o'brien kneeboards have a hook to attach your handle to....

footin'.....if your at work ,you're as" board "as me!!!!!!! (scuse pun)

09-14-2004, 11:41 AM
Pete....deeps are super easy with a dry suit..you float like a cork....get some good padded shorts too.

09-14-2004, 11:52 AM
That's good to know about the dry suit, thanks! Now I'm really looking forward to the process of stopping! I have visions of the speed getting slower, slower, and then STOPPING! Is there really no easy method? :o

09-14-2004, 11:59 AM
the only way is to sit down.put your feet up in the air and cruise in....but hey,once your a footer yoy will want to face plant and take water in thru' the eyes to show every one in the bar.....

09-14-2004, 12:04 PM
Too funny. I can already tell this is going to be a riot.

09-14-2004, 12:12 PM
Footin is right about beginners not needing to know how to stop ;)

Seriously though, when I am done I find that the best way for me is to let go of the rope and slowly lean back further and further as you slow down. Finally you will be at about a 30 to 45 degree angle with the water when you are going about 25 mph (or so) and your feet will finally go through the surface. At this point you will go straight in. In general though it is better to fall back than forward so when you do let go error on the side of going backwards.

09-14-2004, 12:14 PM
Another thought. When I learned I wore shoes (Chuck Taylors to be specific). I reasoned that if there was anything floating in the water I would be less likely to damage my foot. I also thought that the larger smooth surface would make it harder to catch a toe. I did this for about 1.5 years until I bought my current mastercraft and the co-owner at the time claimed that shoes were only for pussies. I quit wearing them but might still recommend that for beginners.

Any thoughts?


09-14-2004, 12:22 PM
if we were meant to wear shoes lance it wouldn't be called BAREFOOTIN,would it...........

on that note,,i am leaving work and my pc and am going down the "RUB A DUB" (PUB) to get brahms and listz (pi$$ed).......me old chinas

09-14-2004, 12:58 PM
ok... nix the shoes and do it like a man

09-14-2004, 01:00 PM
No shoes allowed. Some guys I know use tennis shoes, we make fun of them "Team Reebock"

09-14-2004, 01:10 PM
Never tried it with shoes, but I did once with socks.

The socks held the bandaids on from the run in with the stick the day before.

09-14-2004, 01:27 PM
Shoe skis are good for learning new tricks.....not tennis shoes

09-14-2004, 01:57 PM
don't forget the double handle!

09-14-2004, 02:02 PM
Good point. Lance, make sure to buy a barefoot handle, these handles are wider than others and will help with balance. Barefoot ropes are non-strech and make long line easier.

09-14-2004, 02:24 PM
so i guess all of you that think the boom is for pussies, i guess you think that Keith St. Onge (only the number one footer in the world) is a pussy too. he still likes trickin off of the boom.

09-14-2004, 02:39 PM
The boom is a great way to learn, try new tricks and hone your skills, I just don't like it when the people I ski with will only barefoot if I set up the boom. The are a great tool, but don't depend on them all the time.

09-14-2004, 05:49 PM
Sounds like me every other weekend:o

think mastercrafting was joking....I say go out behind an 85 horse johnson and get a good whip going and step off....dont forget your saftey belt(before vests) and 2 pairs of cut off jeans(saftey equipment)...keep trying till you peel your eye lids back! :uglyhamme

09-14-2004, 06:20 PM
I dont want to start any wars but i think learning the easy way is stupid.

09-14-2004, 07:06 PM
Even for the kids :confused: ? You should make it fun for the kids not hard, that way they stay interested.

09-14-2004, 08:11 PM
...and those of us that no longer want to hurt ourselves during the learning process. I bought my mastercraft when I was 23 and learned to barefoot several years earlier. Now that I am nearing 40 and have a couple of kids to chase after I can't aford to get hurt doing something too stupid. I'll use whatever training aid will help... keeping in mind of the ultimate goal.

09-15-2004, 02:09 PM
What's the point of taking a beating and not learning the basics the correct way? Whether your are a beginner or a long time footer?

Footing behind the boat is great and is the biggest rush easpecially when doing tumble turns, front to backs and slides. But when the water is too choppy, behind the boat makes no sense, especially steppin off a ski. See how long it will take to learn and perfect a trick behind the boat versus on a boom, whether in good water or chop. Guaranteed there will be a difference.

Steppin off "ain't no big thing." If done correctly, it's just as easy as a kneeboard or a deepwater. It's not something that can only be done by an elite group of people. My older sister learned to foot steppin off a ski behind our friend's Hydrostream back in the 70's.

It's great if the lake or river is wide open and will help save energy at times, but sometimes is more of a pain in the butt than anything. It's good to start behind the boat using different techniques but sometimes when it comes to steppin off, "what the point in doing it?" You leave the ski in the river or the lake for some Wally to hit and then you're S*L.

Tom Wortham
09-21-2004, 11:17 AM
Awesome Thread!
Got to try it! :headbang:

09-26-2004, 05:19 PM
The boom is a great learning tool and should never be seen as something to hold you back. The "boom is for pussies" is a ridiculous statement. I took a bunch of 5' runs this AM in total butter water with Scott88Prostar. We started long line and then moved to the 5'. The boom is a great place to work on form and also to master new moves on the shoe skis.

Not knowing how to foot and going out long line is a challenging way to learn. It is possible, but the learning curve is much larger than it needs to be.

09-26-2004, 05:40 PM
right on martho! :headbang:

09-26-2004, 07:43 PM
I stand by my statement. or do i? :cool:

10-10-2004, 09:42 AM
Thanks for the instruction fellas. We ran into some flat water yesterday and I gave it a try. I've footed off a boom a few times before but never off a kneeboard. I got up my first try. It was pretty cool. Although I'm sure having a suit would have made things more pleasant! Thanks.

10-12-2004, 06:49 AM
... The "boom is for pussies" is a ridiculous statement....

.... Not knowing how to foot and going out long line is a challenging way to learn. It is possible, but the learning curve is much larger than it needs to be.
Right on! :headbang:

Since they want to learn the basics first, better drop this "Windows" thing, & go back to Dos - or Unix. Can't start doing Windows until the fundementals are learned in a text only window.

Teaching aides are great & there is nothing wrong with using your "grippy pencil" when you're 40. Most of my footing runs are stepping out on the boom, then swinging out on the teather. I get many more miles in that way then "long line". Call me a pussie if you want, but I've hung on through chop that put the boom underwater (yes, I stayed upright). I can't go backwards, but I have a he!! of a lot of fun!

11-12-2004, 10:29 AM
Let us know how you did, then visit http://www.atlantabarefoot.com/