Most Common Barefoot Questions

Learning to Barefoot

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1. What is the easiest way to learn to barefoot?
2. How can I learn if I do not have a boom?
3. What equipment do I need?
4. Is there any way to practice before getting on the water
5. Is it ok to learn to "tumble-up" holding directly on the boom?
6. Should I wear booties or tennis shoes to protect my feet?
7. How much speed do I need?
8. How do I practice falling?

9. I started to try barefooting at the end of last season but flopped bad. Is there a way I can do this without the bruising on my thighs? I am starting from a boom.

1. What is the easiest way to learn to barefoot?

Click here to read the entire article!

Click HERE to see a free video of this method!

By far the safest way to teach a beginner is to put them in a swing such as a barefoot slalom handle or even better yet, The Easy Footer (877 685-6270). The Easy Footer allows the skier the ultimate in safety as long as some guidelines are followed that are not included in the video that Mike Seiple ships with it.

#1 Boom Height: with the skier in the handle (sitting like they are on a swing with the handle on their tail-bone), the skier's butt should be about an inch off the water while the boat is at a stand still. If it is not, adjust your boom height accordingly.

#2 Driving: The driver is responsible for the safety of the skier! As long as the skier knows not to take their hands off of the boom, the driver becomes the one responsible for the skiers safety. If the skier ever catches a toe or looses footing the driver must respond immediately by turning the boat in a direction away from the boom so the skier is lifted out of the water long enough to get back into their posture and glide. The driver may then lower the skier back into the driver using a gentle turn towards the skier until their feet are safely back in the water. A slightly arced boat path is very helpful for getting the boom height right where it is most helpful to the skier.

The worst case scenario is that the skier catches their toe, their feet get swept behind them, and the inattentive driver does not rectify the problem quickly enough by lifting the skier out of the water before the skier gets pulled into the boom. This is especially critical with smaller skiers such as children.

#3 Passengers: Many times passengers think they are helping me out by moving closer to the skier to put the boom lower. This in turn puts more weight on the skiers feet and not so much on the handle that they are sitting on. While this is a good idea in time and with attentive driving, warn the passengers to only help in a coordinated effort to keep the skier safe. The driver calls the shots and should ask for assistance when the boom should be lowered or raised. One thing that I ask of passengers is never to move quickly as this can cause too sudden of a change in the boom height for the skier. Also, I like at least one experienced passenger to carefully watch the skier with me so that if they fall, the passenger then immediately moves away from the boom in order to raise it along with my driving away from the skier to get them quickly out of a bad situation.

#4 Before first attempts: Always go over correct Posture and Glide so that the skier knows what the end position is to look like. Using the instructional video and dry-land practice, carefully go over a perfect Butt Glide and Three-point Position. It is critical that the skier has perfected this on dry-land before attempting it in the swing.

The best way to practice the butt glide is to hold a small Gatorade bottle between the legs as high above the knee as possible. This will keep the skier from opening the knees. Then have the skier extend the legs and lean back a bit until they are balanced on their butt without the use of a handle. Keep the feet and knees no more than six inches off the land (water). This balance point is the key to a great butt glide. This will take some abdominal strength so it is not a bad idea to get the sit-up program in gear. While in the Butt Glide position, practice keeping the handle next to the hips with the knuckles on the skiers' legs.

To practice the Three-point Position  on dry-land, go from handle tucked in to the handle up and out to the top of the knees while sitting forward, raising the knees and bring the heels wide and close to the  outside of the hips. If this is done properly, the skier should never lose the bottle between the legs.

Once these steps have been practiced to perfection on land, have the skier sit in the swing and practice the Butt Glide and the Three-point Position in the handle BEFORE taking off.

When you feel the skiers confidence is good, have the skier lean back to a Butt Glide position holding their feet out of the water until you have accelerated enough to get the skier out of the chine spray (from the side of the boat). This speed should not exceed 20-25 mph for adults and 10-15 for small children. (Many times if I think the child is nervous, or if I am really concerned to gain some extra confidence between the skier and I, I simply put the boom high enough to allow the skier to assume a good position while the boat is at an idle. While doing this their should be a constant stream of praise and reinforcement while attending to good position and making sure the skier keeps the water line right below the ball of the foot consistently.) Then have the skier lift their knees without losing the bottle so that they can bring their heels back to their butt in a wide stance.  Make sure the skiers' ankles are fully flexed to keep the ball of the foot from pushing through.

After the skier is comfortable in the Three-point Position, and not before, have the skier squeeze their feet closer and stand to a good position as practiced on dry land.


#1 Major dry-land practice

#2 Be alert with the driving so that at any given moment you can lift the skier out of the water if they catch a toe.

#3 Constantly monitor the attitude of the skier reassuring them that they can stop at any time if they are uncomfortable or nervous. Do not push the skier at this stage! This is simply a confidence outing and the skiers good state of mind (happiness), and most importantly their safety, is quintessential.

#4 Slower is almost always better than faster, when it comes to boat speeds!

#5 A carefully planned outing that has nothing but good vibes is the key to keeping the skier interested in barefooting. Most barefooters are very tough and they try to force toughness on family members and friends who do not appreciate it or do not respond well to it. Remember, it is always better to end the set one pass too early than one pass too late. I know I have been successful when the skier does not want to stop. This is a good thing!

#6 Make sure you have a great boom because this puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the boom. The safest boom out there is available for FREE Shipping for my members at our equipment page.

Good luck to you in either learning or teaching someone else to barefoot in this manner which I believe to be the safest when the proper homework is done!

 Let me know how you do!! Email me your success stories!

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2. How can I learn if I do not have a boom?

Click here to read the entire article!

I remember the actual spot on the Illinois River where I was trying just like you are. I was behind a very old outboard and was wearing a life jacket and a pair of “ballistic shorts from Bart’s! I thought I was the bomb. And that is what I proceeded to do. I am going to outline how to save you major aggravation.

By the way, since this is getting to be the time where everybody is getting their feet wet, I am going to send out a double header. I will fire out another article on entering your first tournament as soon as I finish this brief project! I will keep this short so that I can help as many of you as possible.

#1 I prefer a wakeboard (boots removed) to a kneeboard for this type of start as it is longer and easier to balance on!

#2 I go over this start thoroughly in my video so give yourself an unfair advantage!

#3 Booms, Fligh High extended pylons, towers, or a helicopter like the one we use make this much easier than going off a regular pylon or a lower pull. The extra upward pull makes life beautiful. I never ski down low because it makes me feel like I am being pulled by submarine compared to a high pull.

#4 Make sure and read NFTE#19 Long Line Front Deep Water Start ( because it will explain how to set your feet in the water. The only difference between THAT start and a wakeboard start is that you will start slower on your plant when on a wakeboard, and you will not HAVE to wear as much protection—although I highly recommend that you do as it will help you to protect one of your favorite body parts!

By the way, I have made the front deep water start video lesson in its entirety viewable for FREE at !!!

#5 Do not exceed 35 mph as your maximum speed if you are under 200 lbs! I have taught many people over 300 lbs to do this under 40 mph!!!! So to answer your question about speed, speed kills especially when you combine it with inexperience!!!

#6 Reduce the practice time and aggravation by 87.2% and come down to paradise where miracles are in the making! Click HERE for information on training with me at The Footer's Edge Training Center!

Short and sweet. Here we go. Once you have mastered the awkward chore of learning to get out of the water without tipping over (WAY EASIER from about 12 inches of water your first couple of times---long line, I mean…of course!), have the boat driver pull you easy up to about 10-12 mph, but not so fast that you start bouncing!!!

Edge outside the wake staying right next to the curl of the wake. Once you are very comfortable there, work your Three Point Position by lifting your knees a little so that your feet can be as close to your butt as possible.

Are your ankles flexed? Ultra Mega Gliders only please! If you do not know this, you do not have enough tickets for this ride yet!

The boat driver will be doing you a huge favor if he or she slowly accelerates after your feet are planted to about 18-20mph for a good run of perfecting your plant without standing up! This is a MAJOR help! “Here me now, believe me later.” (Spoken in a Hans and Franz accent-Saturday Night Live joke)

After perfecting this maneuver for several passes, you are now ready to accelerate at a medium pace to your minimum barefoot speed. For most people, this will be below 35mph! I am 190 and can do this easily at 30mph!

The stand-up is accomplished by following the pull of the boat without pulling in on your arms! Keep your feet and knees relaxed while maintaining Ankle Flex.

As the boat accelerates, lift up your ribs and expand your chest like you are getting all bowed-up (guys-redneck terminology from down south!) or like you are in a bikini contest (girls!).

Do not stand-up higher than a chair position for your first pass. Stop BEFORE you get tired by letting go and sitting down!

I can’t wait to hear about your progress!

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3. What equipment do I need?

I believe that the very basics for barefooting are as follows;

#1 The best barefoot wetsuit you can afford. I believe the best wetsuit on the market is Barefoot International's Iron Man wetsuit. I personally wear this suit and guarantee it to be at least 30% more protection than any other suit. It is an enormous advantage. You can see these suits and receive the best pricing anywhere along with free shipping by clicking here!

#2 I also believe that you MUST use padded shorts and that the best shorts out there are the Iron Man shorts. I unconditionally guarantee these shorts to be the best shorts of any kind in bare foot water skiing.

I highly recommend getting the best boom on the market since this also is a major safety issue. The Barefoot International boom and Fligh High extended pylon are the best out there. I also guarantee these to be the best out there.

Although I do not normally start barefooters out on shoe skis, it is critical to learning the more advanced tricks and are an absolute must for the serious barefooter. The Dawg Paws are the best shoe skis on the planet and I also have a less expensive shoe ski which you can see by visiting our Pro Shop.

If you have specific questions about any equipment, please submit them on the form below and I will post the answers here!

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4. Is there any way to practice before getting on the water?

Click here to read the entire article!

See my newest instructional video, “Great Six Pack and 3-Point Exercise,” at my all new Virtual Ski School!

I have witnessed the power of dry land practice so many times now that I more passionate than ever to help you experience your own special miracle! If you have ever wanted to;

1. learn to barefoot water ski
2. improve on bad form
3. revamp your glide for better one foots
4. just learn a new abs workout to improve your
six pack (don’t worry if yours is a one pack),

then this article is for you!

The following exercise will turn you into a barefooting machine by tapping into the power of proper dry-land practice. First, I am going to show you how to properly practice the foot position for the Ultra Mega Glide

Next I will show you how to practice the butt glide and 3-point position without a rope, and finally the butt glide and 3-point position WITH a rope.

The bonus is that I am going to show you how to set-up a great dry land practice apparatus (pictures and video are on my Virtual Ski School at to realistically prepare you for the water! And the best part is, if you follow my advice, you will learn all this without ever getting hurt! What a huge benefit!

------------------Point and Flex!!!!!---------------------------

I want you to practice the following exercise where ever you are right now! Point your tows and hold for several seconds. Next, flex your ankles WITHOUT lifting your toes. I have the pictures you can see to make sure you are doing it right near the bottom of my Positions’ page

It is critical that you perfect this flexed position because the following exercises will build on this foundation. Make sure to practice this exercise frequently so that your muscle memory will be there perfectly when you
get on the water.

“point….hold…..flex….hold…. point….hold…..
flex….hold… point….hold…..flex….hold…”

If this bores you…get over it! It has been approved by the Department of Redundancy Department.

Butt Glide 3-Point NO ROPE

Sit on the floor with your feet out in front of you. Place your hands about one foot behind you and wider than shoulder width apart. Lean back with your upper body about 45 degrees from vertical.

Keeping your legs completely straight with your knees together and toes pointed, raise your legs until your knees are the same height as your shoulders. Let’s call this the “V Sit Position” because your body resembles the letter “V.”

Now add your point and flex exercise while holding your “V” position! Can you feel your ‘flab-dominals’ working? We are just getting started. Once you have the perfect flex, bring your heels wide and back to your butt at about the same width or just wider than your butt WITHOUT SEPERATING YOUR KNEES … WITHOUT LOWERING YOUR KNEES!

The key here is to keep your knees quiet (no movement).

If you have down this properly;

1. your knees are about shoulder height,
2. your knees are together
3. your ankles are flexed
4. your ankles are as close to your butt as possible
5. your heel is the only part of your foot on the water
6. your toes are not lifted, but the ball of your foot
is off of the surface you are on

Practice this over and over again until it is perfect, smooth, and effortless! This will be a great abs workout as well as turn you into a three-point machine!

Now let’s add another challenging element…

-----Butt Glide 3-Point Position WITH the Rope--------------

I have found a great way to simulate the realistic pull of the boat that works much more dynamically than a handle on a door knob!

To make your own, all you need is;

1. a wakes handle (which is easier to use than a trick handle because it
does not get in the way of your knees as easily)

2. a pulley

3. a bucket

4. about 10 feet of rope

Fill your bucket with enough water to give you a little resistance. I filled it all the way up with water for me, but only about a third of the way full for my wife Cindy who is 98 pounds (and featured on this video).

Connect them all together and scoot back on the floor so that you are keeping the bucket about half way off the floor the entire time.

Adjust the height of the pulley and the rope so you can easily get into the “V Sit Position” and keep your feet on the rope and your knees the same height as your shoulders. Pull the wakes handle into your hip so that the rubber of the handle is touching your hip bone while keeping your knuckles on your legs!

Your feet should be pointed with your toes overlapped on the rope. Your knees should be straight WITHOUT knee bend. Your knees are squeezed together.

Next take your feet off the rope without lowering your knees or feet.

“Point…hold…FLEX…hold…Heels to your butt!”

This needs to be done in the exact same manner as described above!

The only difference is the handle! There are two positions for the handle;

1. IN to your hip
2. OUT on your knee caps

The key here is to accomplish this without ever opening your knees or lowering your knees! The handle goes from the IN position to the OUT position as your knees remain constant!

When do you move the handle from IN to OUT?

As soon as your heels make it to your butt, move the handle to your knee caps.

For women and children, I find it helpful to keep the handle to the IN position until the feet are settled on the water.

For big dudes, I find the handle should come out sooner as long as the “V Sit Position” can be maintained!

The final stage is to prepare your 3-point position for final check mode before standing!

After your handle is on your knees and you feel relaxed and stable…

1. Shoulder Roll-roll your shoulders to the back so that they are behind your chest with your shoulder blades pinched together.

2. Meat Hook! Lift your rib cage in an upward motion so you look all “Bowed-up!”

With this mastered, you may take to the water with more confidence and preparation than I ever had when I was learning. While others rip their heads off, you will foot with the quiet confidence of a Jedi Warrior
(Star Wars reference)!

You can get a 7 Day FREE Trial Membership of My Virtual
Ski School
only by clicking on the link below.

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5. Is it ok to learn to "tumble-up" holding directly on the boom?

! There are more people injured attempting this than in any other way in learning barefooting. You will definitely suffer abuse if not serious injury for too many reasons to mention here so please believe me and read my article NFTE#18 The Easiest Way to Learn to Barefoot

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6. Should I wear booties or tennis shoes to protect my feet?

No! I believe in learning on your feet first unless you are in water that has debris. There is nothing like feeling the rush of the water underneath your feet!

I do believe that shoe skis such as my Puppy Paws are critical to the success of mastering your form, but I do not believe it should be your first experience.

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7. How much speed do I need?

Use this formula: your weight divided by 10 and then add 15mph.

For a 180lb person you would calculate a good starting speed by dividing 180 by 10 which equals 18. Then add 15 to the 18 to get 33mph.

If this speed feels too slow, then your form is incorrect. Please read my articles on Posture and Glide in my Trauma Center.

If you were my personal friend, I would not let you attempt barefooting without first watching my 2 hour instructional video and NFTE#61 Great 3-Point and Six Pack available for members of my Virtual Ski School! Your success will be 10 times greater than without these tools! I guarantee it with a money back guarantee!

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8. How do I practice falling?

Teaching someone to fall is necessary to keep them from getting hurt, BUT practicing falling is like teaching someone to take a good punch by punching them. Please read my article below for my answer to a concerned dad teaching his children.

Click here to read the entire article!

Roger Staubach

NFL Quarterback and Sports Broadcaster

“Confidence comes from hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication. When I am in the last two minute of a December playoff game, I am drawing confidence from wind sprints I did the previous march. It’s just a circle: work and confidence, then more work and confidence.”

“Lane, I realize that you get too many special requests and therefore I hesitate requesting this again.  But, could you talk about falling.  I know of quite a few folks who won't barefoot because they feel they WILL get hurt.  I must say, I definitely have held back knowing that I need to go to work on Monday.  All that I'm asking is...  is there a good way to fall?  A bad way to fall?  What should we beware of?  Falling is part of the sport however how can we reduce the possibility of injury?  I would suspect that you must fall every day.  Right?  Any ideas here would be definitely appreciated.  Congrats on your Worlds accomplishments.  ...Jerry”

Well there Jerry this is an excellent question and I know that there are a lot of people who will benefit from your interest. Maybe you might know someone who might benefit from this too! I am going to answer your questions in two parts; the first is to give you what you need, and the second is to give you what you asked for in your email!

I looked for a quote that would lead me into an answer that would be appropriate. Read again what Roger has to say. Roger’s insight is awesome! He addresses the importance of having confidence and where confidence is derived. Properly placed confidence comes from preparation. Preparation comes from an aggressive plan that is carried out on a regular basis. What you really need to keep safe is preparation for the battle that is barefooting. I can tell from your question that you believe that it is O.K. to fall all the time. This is a fallacy! As hard as it will be for you to understand this without experiencing it first hand down here in paradise, it is true. Ask any of my advanced students and they will tell you the same thing…we hate to fall.

Do we fall? Yes. When a fall comes we usually have a good time laughing about it because it was unnecessary and definitely unexpected. Chances are, it came from a lack of preparation or a bad attitude toward the task at hand.

Do I fall every day? No. I sometimes go for weeks or months without falling. I will give you an example that includes my wife. “Big Momma”, as we like to call her (Cindy), has footed three times over the last week which is the first time in almost a year. I would expect that your old paradigm would suggest that she will most likely fall and fall hard. Because Big Momma is 98lbs soaking wet, and more importantly is my favorite wife (I jest), I am highly motivated to make sure she remains healthy and happy so I build her workouts with the same precision the SWAT team would enter a dangerous lair! Because I have the added advantage of guiding her skiing from its conception, I know what she is capable of and what is risky for her. I start her off with what I am sure she can perform 100% of the time and gently work her towards the things that she is about 75% efficient. You notice that I did not allow her to try anything very difficult no matter how well she was skiing. She suggested to me that she wanted to try a back to front on her feet on the 7 foot rope. I disarmed her enthusiasm with the kind of care an NTSB agent would decide whether to cut the red wire or the blue wire. I talked her down from that dangerous precipice and kept her happily within her safety zone. A lot of smart barefooting is simply good decision making for THAT person at THAT time for THOSE conditions. The best barefooters in the world make these decisions at lightening speed while they are skiing so as to avoid falling.

How do you get to this mythological place? Ask Roger Staubach! Well since he is not here I will reiterate. The beautiful place called Enefpi (N.F.P=No FALL Practice) can only be reached through the map of PREPARATION! Here is my list of suggestions in order of importance;

#1  A trip to paradise here in Winter Haven is the quickest way to achieve barefooting nirvana! You can plan on every day at The Footer’s Edge Training Center is equivalent to a summer on your own (I guarantee it). Visit the ski school page or the question and answer section to get information or call the command center at 877-685-6270 to book your miracle!

#2  If you do not have my  2 hour instructional video, The Footer’s Edge, you are crippling your efforts (call 877-685-6270 and relieve the angst). If you cannot afford to get down here to paradise and learn the optimal way, at least get the best instructional video on the planet and see your goals performed perfectly from a ton of cool angles and with all the speed, boom, and driving tips in one place! Then you can film yourself and compare it. You will learn twice as quickly and will have a much better shot at remaining safe. You also can add all these FREE tips I am sending to you to your collection and you will have ALL the cliff notes. (WARNING: This has been an unannounced haneous plug for video sales). Why am I so adamant about this? Because I am right. Of this I am 100% confident!

#3 Set goals and approach your skiing sets with a plan. Practice the move on dry land being very careful to make sure you are accurately performing the move. Use a mirror or video to make sure it is right!

#4  Break everything down into the smallest steps possible and practice these steps sequentially to perfection from easiest to most difficult. Here’s an example to put this into perspective if this seems too “pie-in-the ski” for you. Let’s say that you feel ready to try a front deep behind the boat. What is the first step. Write it out and then compare it to the following and let’s see if you are getting the hang of this…….. Go write it down!!!

If you were down here with me, I would do it in this order;

#1 check you Butt Glide and Three-Point Position ON THE BOOM. I bet you didn’t have this as your first step. Why? If I have never skied with you, I do not want any surprises or beating before we get down to business. The best way is always the safest way which for many people would be right on the boom. That way if you made a mistake in form it could be corrected without rolling your eye lids backwards!

#2 Same thing on the five or seven foot rope. If there is a problem we go to shoe-skis (Puppy Paws) and solve it safely.

#3 We work on the Butt Glide and Three-Point Position behind the boat. No standing up!

#4 Once you can perform these so well it is getting boring, I will most likely be confident that standing will be safe. This assumes that you have the right boat speeds, boom height, rope length, equipment, and good conditions. These are all things that can be BEAT INTO you or learned safely by reviewing a video of your trick safely while you crack a cold Diet Coke on the coach. Which sounds better to you? Just yesterday, I spent 1 hour reviewing video footage of a trick that I am bringing out of hibernation. I take great joy in this process! You should too!

BUT, I know this is not what you were asking me. You wanted to know how to protect yourself in a fall. My first answer was in short, “the best defense is an offense!” The second part of my answer is what you were wanting in the first place. What is the safest way to get to become a “crash test dummy?” This field is filled with willing participants lined up to compare whose got the best scars, best medivac story, and most complete mobile files filled with the most recent X-RAYS, MRI’s, and complete spinal views provided by your chiropractor. Having Doctors on speed dial is not necessarily a good thing. I am making light here for entertainment value only!

Here is your answer;

#1 ALWAYS let go when you fall on anything other than the boom. If you are on the boom, you need to communicate with the driver to discuss worse case scenarios. I recommend holding on to the boom until the boat driver slows down (boom only!) If your grip is getting tired, be honest with yourself and stop before you take that “one last run” to prove your machismo. It is ALWAYS better to “stop one pass too early than one pass too late!” One of the last falls that many people will take (before realizing they are better suited for wakeboarding) is the fall on the boom when they catch so violently that their hands get ripped off the boom leading to a “scorpion” fall where their heels hit them in the back of the head. This can break your back and surprises many people who think they cannot get hurt on the boom.

#2 Whenever falling forward, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to tuck your chin to your chest. This happens quickly and you need to become lightening fast with this reflex. You might think that tucking might put your face into harms way, but it does the opposite. At this point, you definitely are going to hit the water so the only question is what is the best way to finish this pass? It is critical that you do not fight against the force of falling into the water. On the contrary, go with the flow by tucking your chin, closing your eyes and mouth, and unless you would like a good punch in the face, put your hands down towards your hips. If you are the kind of person who likes a good beating, simply make a fist with both hands and place them about six inches away from your face before you hit the water. This will give you something to talk about at the water cooler tomorrow!

#3 Never, never, never lift your head away from the water. This would be a BAD thing!

#4 Avoid skiing in rolly or rough conditions. Although my buddies in St. Louis take great pride in skiing in a river that has more debris than I have seen in the entire state of Florida, I do not recommend skiing in water that has appliances, vehicles, dead fish, entire trees, or anything that would cause an inelastic collision with your feet!

#5 Keep your elbows in when you fall. The further away they are the more likely you will be to injure your shoulders.

#6 Be as loose as possible when you hit the water. The tighter and straighter you are, the easier things will break.

#7 I should have mentioned this earlier, but you should be thoroughly warmed up and stretched before skiing. The colder and tighter you are the more likely you will be to get hurt.

Well this now ends the longest article I have written to date, I think. It is glass out there as I am writing you this so I must now shred!

p.s. Thanks Jerry for the compliment. The Worlds were a blast! And yes, I did fall.

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

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9. I started to try barefooting at the end of last season but flopped bad. Is there a way I can do this without the bruising on my thighs? I am starting from a boom.

The easiest way to learn to barefoot can be found by reading my article above in question number 1!

To keep from bruising your thighs, you should also wear the correct gear which includes Iron Man padded shorts and an Iron Man barefoot suit which you can get in my Pro Shop by clicking here!

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The Footers Edge | Virtual Ski School

The Footer's Edge Training Center
Winter Haven, Florida
Fax: 1-509-756-4343