One of the most common phrases heard while teaching someone to barefoot is “toes up.” This misguided instructional tip is intended to prevent a footer from catching a toe by keeping the front of the foot up.
The truth is, rarely does a footer actually catch a toe before they fall. More often than not it's the forward ball of the foot that digs into the water and ends a run prematurely. Lifting your toes upward actually forces this part of the foot downward and results in a less-than-desirable outcome.
The second problem associated with lifting your toes is that the arch of your foot will actually rise off the water and you'll have less surface area in contact with the water and, therefore, less control.
The most effective way to reduce the chances of “catching a toe” is to flex the muscle of your shin. The shin muscle causes the front of your foot to rise off the water without pulling your toes up and causing unnecessary falls. The trick is to figure out how far to pull the front of your foot off the water — too much and you plow like a farmer, too little and you continually trip forward on the water.
Practice a few times in the boat before you hit the water to make sure you have the movement down, and you will be amazed at how quickly your skiing improves.