Thank You!

A Logo made by BarefootSki Dot Com for this site

I’d like to take a brief moment to thank everyone for visiting my little corner of the internet. My little website still isn’t nearly as popular as The Creaky Rowboat (the nearly always entertaining, often non-nonsensical, general water skiing blog), but it’s gone from the 10-20 visitors a day, to the 40-50 visitors a day. For those of you wondering, you can’t make a living running a website with 40-50 visitors a day, this is strictly a hobby. It’s been fun though. I’ve heard from people all over the USA (and the rest of the world) and met lots of people.

You may start to see the occasional non-barefoot post here and there on the site, but the site’s focus will always stay on barefooting. There are just occasionally other things of note in the world of water skiing worth noting, or that I manage to witness, that I’ll want to share.

As always, the site has never been intended to be just about my opinion on barefooting and what I’ve seen. I’m just one man, who’s very active on a show skiing team (yes, I’m also a show skier) so I only have so much time in my day. So if you have something you want to share (an event, a story, cool barefooting pictures, a slick video you made/found or whatever) drop me a line by sending an email to wedge [at] talesfromthefoot.com. That email address is always in the sidebar in the contact area, you’ll just need to replace that [at] with the actual @ sign (I’m trying to cut down on spam bots finding the address.) If it’s just a one off, I can post that for you. Or if you feel like you want to be a regular (or semi-regular) contributor, we can probably even work that out.

Ever wonder if you’re the only one showing up besides me, you’re host? Well, I’d like to let you know that you are not alone. According to Google Analytics, over the past month, the site has had a little over 800 visitors, from 65 different countries spanning all of the continents (I’m even going to count Antarctica since there are 10 visits with an unspecified continent:)) Since the site launched in January 2008, there have been about 9000 visitors.

So, if you’d like to let the world know that you’re stopping by here, just drop a comment down below and say hi to everyone. You can always comment on all of the posts. I’ve also made it easier for people to spread the word about the website. See something you like, just click on the little Facebook share button in the post to tell all of your Facebook friends about what you saw here. Chances are, you have a whole lot of friends who barefoot too.

So once again, thanks for stopping by. Come on back soon.

Jump Jam in Waco, Texas

Just wanted to mention that the Jump Jam is coming up on September, 18 in Waco, Texas at the Barefoot Ski Ranch. They’re offering up $17,000 in cash prizes to the winners of the two events, one of which, anyone can win. People like Keith St. Onge, David Small and Royal Wiseman are expected to be there.

The first event is simply the biggest of jump from your two jumps. Simple, go farther than everyone else and you walk away with 5 grand.

The second event takes a bit more math to figure out who wins, but anyone can win. Simple out jump your personal best from the past 3-years of tournament jumping, and whoever increases their personal best by the largest percentage will also walk away with 5 grand.

If I’m understanding that second event correctly, say your personal best is 40 feet and you jump 60, that’s a 50% increase. If another person’s personal best is 50 feet and jumps 70, that’s only a 40% increase, so you’d win, even though you both increased your PB by the same amount.

I’ve attached the flyer for the event below with more details, including contact info.

You can also watch the Austin Barefoot Ski Club’s website for more details.

Current Figure-8 Barefoot Series Standings

Well, over at barefootski dot com, they’ve updated the Figure-8 Barefoot Series standings through the third event. To win the series, each competitor much compete in at least 3 of the 4 tournaments. The number each competitor has already attended are in parenthesis behind their name. Since they are only taking points from your 3 best tournaments, if you didn’t do so well at one of them, you can improve that score by going to the final event at the WBC on Saturday, October 16th (I’ll work on tracking down some more details on that event and get them posted here.)

With just one event to go, here are the people in the running for the crown…

JJ Link (3) 100
Marc Donahue (3) 75
Rob Christensen (3) 55
Chad Mietz (3) 45
Mike Miller (3) 40
Paul Stokes (2) 40
Craig Campbell (3) 35
Chris McWatters (3) 25
Greg Wilkinson (2) 20
Ben Desier (3) 15

Double Elimination – JJ Link versus Mike Netzer

Well, here’s the first video (a Tales from the Foot exclusive) from the 2010 Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge. After some great action shots to start the video, it features the runs it took to determine the Barefoot Challenge champion.

JJ Link versus Mike Netzer - Starting Off

The final pairing of the challenge featured Mike Netzer facing off against JJ Link. Mike Netzer entered the final pairing with one loss already, having come back through the loser’s bracket and was facing off against JJ Link, who hadn’t lost yet. For those that don’t know, that means for Mike Netzer to win the Barefoot Challenge, he needed to beat JJ Link twice. For JJ Link to win, he just had to beat Mike Netzer once.

Yet somehow, they still needed three runs to determine the winner…


Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge – 2010 Finals  

Please excuse the shaky camera in the video. My video editing program actually did a hell of a job making it less shaky (you should have seen it before I processed the video.) The water was rough, the video camera was hand held and I was holding the video camera in my right hand while holding the still camera (that took all the pictures you’ve seen here) with my left, all the while trying my best to keep them both focused on the barefooters, keeping the video camera as steady as possible and taking a steady stream of still pictures in an effort to capture the moment that someone falls. Did I mention I was in a boat that was going 40.5 MPH that was driving in a TIGHT figure-8 pattern. Given the conditions, I think I did pretty well on both accounts. I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures and like this first video.

Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge – The End of the Runs

Here are a few pictures of “the end of the runs” from the Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge. The pictures are either from right before the fall, right after the fall, and sometimes, when I happened to push the button on the camera at just the right time, during the fall. Regardless of when they were taken, these pictures all turned out pretty cool.

Bumper disappears in the spray next to Bob Mahnke

Paul Elsen goes upside down as Rob Christensen foots away

Mike Rotar catches a toe in the chop next to Paul Stokes

JJ Link on the left, Luke Bruckner on the right, both hanging on for dear life in the "Corner of Death"

JJ Link on the left, Luke Bruckner on the right - 3 Seconds Later... that'd be a foot sticking up on the right side

Paul Stokes (on the left) feet bounce wake to wake, while Greg Wilkinson sinks in to his knees

Mike Netzer barely outlasts Luke Bruckner

It actually took 3 runs to decide the victor between JJ Link and Mike Netzer. Mike needed to beat JJ twice to win the Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge. During the first run they both fell at the same time, no one in the boat could tell who won (the driver, the two judges/spotters and me juggling both a video camera and a still camera). Even though they said we couldn’t use it to determine the winner, we looked at the video after we all agreed they’d have to re-run the first run. After watching the replay (granted it was on the roughly 2.5 inch LCD view screen) we still couldn’t tell. (BTW, lots of video coming in a few days, including this footage.)

Here are the photo finishes of their second and third runs…

JJ Link is losing it on the left while Mike Netzer holds the inside corner

JJ Links knows he's lost from bouncing on his backside a couple times while Mike Netzer watches

I did my best to identify the people in the pictures based on who I do know and using the results that I know. If I miss identified someone, please let me know [wedge [at] talesfromthefoot.com].

FacePlant Fest is Sept 11

Hopefully you’ve noticed this on the calendar and it isn’t news to you, but in case you haven’t, the Twin Cities River Rats will be hosting the 2010 FacePlant Fest Figure 8 Barefoot Tournament on Saturday, September 11th in Long Lake, Minnesota.

Registration starts at 830a and the skiers meeting is at 930a.

For more details and the entry form, head on over to www.faceplantfest.com.

JJ Link vs Luke Bruckner Pictures

Here are a couple more action shots from the boat at the Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge. These two pictures feature JJ Link on the left versus Luke Bruckner on the right as they both hung on for their dear life in what I came to think of as the corner of death (aka the 2nd half of the figure-8).

While I was there for the final runs, I only saw one pair of barefooters make a complete eight and a second pair that almost made an eight. Pretty much everyone else fell in the rollers in the middle or at some point in the corner of death.

JJ Link vs Luke Bruckner - Hanging on for Dear Life

JJ Link vs Luke Bruckner - JJ Wins

JJ went on to take 2nd in the Barefoot Challenge.

Yes, videos will coming soon. I’m working on finishing another video project first, then I’ll start work on the Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge videos. Watch for them next week.

Barefooting Seniors

And I’m not talking about people like Bob Mahnke and Mike Netzer, but Judy Meyers, who at the age of 66 is competing in barefooting tournaments. She’s only been at it for 13 years because she didn’t start until she was 53. And according to the Today Show, she’s the oldest women competing in barefoot tournaments.

Judy isn’t the only one though. She inspired Karen Putz, who 26 years ago caught a toe barefooting and went from hard of hearing to being deaf. Karen’s husband heard about Judy on the today show and sent the story to Karen. Inspired by Judy, she decided to take up footing again and flew down to the World Barefoot Center, where Judy volunteers her time, and started barefooting again at the age of 44.

Joann O'Connor & Karen Putz Barefooting Together (Chicago Tribune)

Since then, Judy introduced Karen to Joann, a 61-year old barefooter from Crandon, Wiscosin and the two of them recently spent a few days barefooting together before heading to Footstock to watch the final day of the figure-8 tournament. There, they got to see some of the barefooting legends like Peter Fleck and Keith St Onge, as well as many other senior barefooters sporting the gray hair.

Check out the following links for more about Judy and Karen:

Let’s Meet Grant Johnson

Grant Johnson versus Mike Netzer

When 13-year old Grant Johnson arrived at the Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge, he planned to only compete in the Junior Division. Being the only junior there, he ended up competing in the OPEN division and became THE crowd favorite as he let all the footers know that he was there to win!

My google bots tracked down this video interview Grant, who took sixth place (out of 30 footers) at the Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge, beating the likes of Mark Donahue, the 2010 Footstock Champion.

Mike Netzer wins the 2010 Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge

Mike Netzer beat JJ Link twice to win the 2010 Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge held at Britingham Park in Madison, WI yesterday. This is the second year in a row that Mike has won this figure-8 tournament, joining Paul Stokes as someone who has claimed this championship more than once and keeping them as the only two people to have ever won this tournament.

JJ Link took second, Luke Brukner took third and Paul Stokes took fourth.

I have a ton of pictures and video to share, but that’ll all need to get organized and edited first.

To wet your appetite, here are just a few of the pictures I took yesterday…

57 years young Mike Netzer managed to outlast the tournament surprise 13 year old Grant Johnson

Mike Netzer beating Luke Brukner

In what would be the longest run of the day under the Capitol Dome, Mike Netzer outlasted Paul Stokes.

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