Barefooting has really evolved since Dick Pope kicked off the drop ski in 1947 to become the world’s first barefoot skier. Since that time, advances in equipment and techniques have paved the way for new and more exciting ways to “foot.” A barefoot boom allows easier training for novice and advanced footers alike, while padded wet suits provide protection and floatation. Even the ski rope is special with Kevlar material to prevent stretching at boat speeds ranging from 35 to nearly 50 mph.
Typical ways to start barefooting are: to drop a single ski; to “deep-up” (start from deep water with no skis at all); a “double jump-out” (dropping 2 skis simultaneously at high speed); or even a “flyer” (jumping from an elevated starting point).
Once they’ve mastered the basics, barefooters can advance to perform one-foot maneuvers, tumble turns, and even backwards barefoot and barefoot pyramids. Then there’s the “barefoot line” where 10 or more footers fly by the crowd creating a massive wall of water. The team also performs a unique “barefoot thread” where two footn’ skiers cut under two high-speed ski jumpers. Wow! Barefooting brings lots of speed and excitement to the show. They’re the fastest thing on water so don’t look away or you’ll miss it!