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The Art of Barefoot Driving 2017-12-05T08:19:39+00:00

 

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.”

 

“You can get more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

 

 

Dale Carnegie

From: Christi Brown [barefoot_cb@hotmail.com]

Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2000 10:20 PM

To: lane@lanedawg.com

Subject: topics

 

“Hey, Lane!

 

These may not be feasible topics for the newsletter, but just brainstorming off the top of my head, and rambling among them, too. Grab what little sense you can make of this and go. By the way, I really have enjoyed the newsletters.                 Thanks for all of your hard work! I have printed them and read them several times.

1) Driving the boat!! This is in your video, I know, but there are people that still need to buy it!                 Other driver information, mirrors that help, watch for what?                 Tumble turns vs. one-foots, etc.!! Boat preference? How do skiers communicate with drivers without hurting their feelings?                 What qualifies a driver?                 What qualifies as a good “set” or run?                 How long does a driver pull a skier in a run?                 What is safe? How do skiers communicate with tournament boat drivers?                 What’s the lingo?”

Driving for barefooting is an art that must be perfected in order for the skier to have a great experience. Poor driving can be frustrating as well as downright dangerous for both skier and driver! I love the quotes from Dale Carnegie because learning to drive is a lot like making friends. The more interested you are in what the skier is doing the better you will be able to drive! That may require getting involved in the learning process. Watching instructional videos (http://www.thefootersedge.com/equipment/videos.html) or even attending ski schools will yield great amounts of information. Driving is a big part of how I teach and I always try to offer tips as I am driving. It is a good idea to bring your video camera when you come down here so you can video the driving tips as well as your skiing. I will also try to offer tips on driving in my regular articles.

 

For now, let’s start with the basics. I like mirrors! My preference is the Cipa mirror, which can be manipulated to look at the boom or long line. This is critical because it is very important to be able to see the skier without ever putting yourself in harms way. It is very easy to become fixated on the skier have one or two mirrors so that you do not have to turn your head to look at the boat path or the skier.

 

The major rule of driving for barefoot water skiing is this; SAFETY FIRST! What does this mean from a pragmatic standpoint? Be prepared for everything, but do not panic while behind the wheel.

 

  1. Know the water where you are driving! Take the time to get to know if there are any underwater rocks or other problems like the depth of the water.
  2. Make sure that any people in the boat are seated and safe. Do not allow people to stand or walk while barefooting is going on!
  3. No sitting on the gunnels of the boat. People should be on the floor or in a seat!
  4. Never accelerate before checking to make sure riders are seated.
  5. Make sure rope is tight before taking off. Accelerating with a slack line could hurt the skier.
  6. Drive in a straight line unless practicing for endurance or figure eight skiing.
  7. Maintain constant speed for skiers who are not in the learning phase.
  8. If you encounter rollers (waves caused from other boats or sea walls) or rough water, slow the skier down gently to a stop so that they do not get crushed (fall hard)! Your job as a driver is to help protect the skier from objects in the water, from waves, or any other problem that could cause injury EVEN IF the skier has requested something else. If you are going to make a mistake, error on the side of caution and then adjust up from there!

 

The first skills to learn are driving in a straight line and driving at a constant speed. I find that the best way to do this is without a skier until the new driver is fairly confident that he or she can keep the speed within a one-mile per hour variance. Advanced drivers should be able to keep the speed within a half-mile an hour of the requested speed. As far as driving in a straight line, practice picking out a spot at the end of the path you have chosen and aiming for it with the nose of the boat. This should be practiced without a skier also. Once the driver is confident enough to start pulling a skier, it will be helpful to start with a skier who is advanced enough to be able to ski even if the pull is not ideal.

 

The biggest mistake at this point is to expect too much! It is critical that patience on both skier and driver are the over riding themes! Improved skills will come with time and careful nurturing. Getting angry or upset will create problems for the team, and we are a team!

 

Another critical skill is to be able to turn around without creating rollers that the skier will have to cross on the way back! Learning to decelerate without turning does this! This is what separates us barefooters from wallies who simply power turn all over the lake without a care in the world for the damage their rollers cause! Therefore, the driver should slow the boat down, put the boat in neutral, and then turn around in an idle to retrieve the skier. You know you have perfected this when you do not encounter your boat rollers on the return run which should be identical to the previous path except in the opposite direction.

 

Now let’s take a look at more advanced driving techniques for those who have perfected the above skills. Christi mentioned two tricks; tumble-turns and one-foots.

 

  1. Tumble-turns- There are two big driving techniques that help for tumble turns. The first istoslow down as the skier goes to his butt. If the skier is on the five-foot rope on the boom and skis at 35mph, then slow the boat down gently (unnoticeable to the skier) to 30mph while the skier is on his or her butt. This helps the skier stay in control and keep from swinging from left to right during the tumble. As the skier goes to stand-up, accelerate so that you are at 35mph by the time that they are in their normal skiing position.

The next technique is used to help a skier who has difficulty finishing the   tumble turn. A beginner at tumble turns tends to get stuck at the last quarter of the turn. As a good driver, you anticipate when the skier will get stuck and right as they are about to get to that point, you back of sharply about 2-3mph. After they get control in the front position, you should be back at the original speed (the sitting speed discussed above). This technique is a quick one. The whole speed adjustment should be finished in 2-3 seconds. By the way, this exact same technique works for front-to-backs and back-to-fronts, but must be used with caution!

 

  1. One-foots- Most people who are learning one-foots simply slam the throttle up to some heinously fast speed, but this is far from the most beneficial approach. What I do with people is pull them up to a speed at which I am sure that they can hold their good form. As they set-up for the one-foot (News from THE EDGE#3 at http://www.thefootersedge.com/equipment/trauma_center.html and then click on “Tips”), I gently speed them up so that they are atone-foot speed by the time that they have all their weight transferred. This should seem almost imperceptible, but it will allow the skier to feel safe while they are in the learning stages! This also works in reverse. If their position starts to deteriorate during the set-up stage, then I slow them down and turn my head to tell them what form changes to make!

 

As far as other driving help, there are as many boat driving tips as there are tricks. So if you, , would like driving tips on specific tricks or starts, please email me (lane@lanedawg.com) and I will be happy to write more articles on driving at a later date.

 

Boat preference? I absolutely believe Malibu to be the best boat on the planet.

 

How do you communicate with your driver without hurting their feelings? I recommend diplomacy combined with understanding. It is hard to not get angry when you take a hard fall, but do not blame the driver! The only thing worse than a hard fall that may have been caused by bad driving is a follow-up fall caused by a nervous and emotional driver!

 

What qualifies a driver? Anyone with an open mind, good concentration, and an interest in getting better can become a great driver. Some of my drivers were not even skiers, but this is unusual.

 

How do skiers communicate with tournament boat drivers?                 What’s the lingo?” In tournaments, the only communication with boat drivers is done before taking off. There is no more communication until the pass is complete. If your instructions were not followed as requested, then you may request a re-ride. I highly recommend not making this a habit. This could be a whole separate article!

 

I know there were other questions, but I have now been working on this for six hours and I sure hope that this is helping you, . I gotta chill!

 

Keep your eyes open for another KEY announcement coming later this week. Barefoot Nirvana’s Ultimate Ski Week is coming by the end of the week!

 

Email me with your progress. I am expecting a miracle for you!

 

Also, , please help me out and forward this to as many footers or even potential footers as you can. This will help to make this newsletter a BIG success! We want everyone to have a GREAT chance to achieve his or her own miracles!

I am available to personally help you achieve your skiing goals by calling 877 685-6270 (863 585-0602 out of country)! or visit our website @http://www.thefootersedge.com. Feel free to email me personally with any requests that you have and I will try to make time to help you achieve your true potential!

The Footers Edge