By Keith St. Onge
When skimming across the water, it’s essential not to overreact to an uncomfortable situation. I tell people to relax more often than I tell them to remember to bend their knees! Why ski if you’re not going to enjoy the ride? Follow my tips below to nail the fundamentals and take control of your skiing. — Keith St. Onge
Basic #1: Just Breathe. Relaxing is breathing and breathing is relaxing, so remind yourself every time you stand up and it’ll become habit. Big breaths of air in as well as out will help stabilize your position and naturally balance you.
Basic #2: Start Right. If you have a smooth start, you’re more likely to have a smooth run. A great position to get into before the boat powers up is with your feet on the rope and your handle pulled in about midthigh. Trying to lie as flat as possible, put your ears under the water to allow more stability. Now you’re perfectly positioned for takeoff.
Basic #3: Relax Your Grip. Once standing on two feet, relaxing your grip on the handle means you’ll be able to ski three times more often. As funny as this may sound, it’ll help falls become a simple tuck and role – just don’t forget to let go! Place your thumbs next to your index fingers. This will allow your hands to cup the handle instead of gripping it with all your might. No need for those white knuckles. After all, you’re not hanging from a tree!
Basic #4: Don’t Look Down. It is crucial to keep your eyes looking either straight forward or toward the tops of the trees around you. Barefooters have a saying, and it always holds true! “Look down, go down!” Nine out of 10 falls are caused by keeping your eyes down. Unless you happen to be that one lucky footer, I’d suggest you heed this warning.
World champion Keith St. Onge is sponsored by MasterCraft, Vortex Wetsuits, U.S. Gear and Gopal’s Healthfoods. For private instruction, go to ksobarefoot.com.