Saturday, January 20, 2007

Waterskiing Memories

A few nights ago, the hubby was flipping through channels and he came across Stunt Junkies, a program on the Discovery channel. The episode featured Scott Ellis, who was attempting to break a waterskiing jump record by jumping over more than fourteen boats.

As I watched Scott break the record by jumping over a total of nineteen boats, I started thinking back to my own waterskiing days on Christie Lake. I had always dreamed of skiing in shows such as the ones held at Tommy Barlett's or Cypress Gardens but I didn't have the guts to follow the dreams.

The summer that I turned sixteen, I decided that I would learn how to barefoot--to waterski on my own bare feet. At first, I tried using a waterski and kicking off the ski, but I found myself hitting the water face first. After too many face slams, I decided there had to be a better way. So thumbed through the pages of a barefooting book and learned about the "kneeboard start." I dragged my mom to a local boat shop and we purchased a kneeboard.

After a couple of days of trying, I finally planted my feet in the water and stood up. The kneeboard fell away and I suddenly found myself barefooting. I didn't get very far, perhaps a few hundred feet. As I climbed into the boat, I learned that my friend Michele had the throttle wide open and the boat was moving at 39 mph instead of the 33 mph that we were aiming for. No wonder my feet were burning on such a short run.

For the next three years after that, I waterskied and barefooted every chance that I could. I often barefooted with the other guys on the lake, competing to see who could make it all the way around the lake. One of the guys taught me to do a deepwater start which involved wrapping my feet around the rope, gliding on my back and then getting up on my bare feet.

I have to thank my parents for all the gas they bought-- some days we skied up to eight times a day.

I'm now in my early forties and I haven't barefooted in several years. My only consolation is that no other girl/woman on Christie Lake has successfully barefooted, so I still hold the title of the sole woman barefooter. My goal is to get back into barefooting-- especially after seeing Scott Ellis jump a couple of boats. He's got the same amount of gray hair that I do.

But for some real inspiration, check out Banana George--he's 91 years old and still footin!


groovyoldlady said...

That's amazing! I skied for a while as a teen. I loved it, but I never even got to the 1 ski stage.

I haven't been on skies for years and years now. My vision is quite poor without my glasses and I get edgy in the water if I can't see. I'm sure there are some sort of expensive prescription goggles I could get, but I'm not going to go that route.

Besides, I like kayaking...kayaking is good!

Karen said...

I just wear my contacts in the water! :)

Jill Urbane, The Mentor Mom said...

That is incredible! My feet are sore just looking at those photos. I can barely walk without falling down let alone balancing as the soles of my feet skid across the water while going 35 mph!

Kris said...

Great photos! I was never brave enough to try water skiing.

groovyoldlady said...

If I had contacts they'd be so thinck I wouldn't be able to blink! Besides I went down face first into the water TOO many times!