I want to start out with three great quotes;
“People think that there are great mysteries connected with this game, but there are not. It is just teaching fundamentals, teaching players how to do things the right way.” —Paul Brown, NFL Coach, Owner
“”Don’t mistake activity for achievement –practice it the
right way.”–John Wooden,
“Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn to do things the right way.”
–Benjamin Franklin, American Inventor
Learning to backwards barefoot behind the boat is absolutely a great goal that you can perfect if you learn 4 critical stages that should be perfected on the boom (5ft rope);
#1 Learn to plane
#2 Learn to plant
#3 Learn to get up creating momentum
#4 Resist from a great position
I would also like to make a bold statement that I believe that for the first time since barefooting backwards was invented, that learning this start long line can become atwo day process instead of a two year process!
Here are two articles that are critical to taking the back
deep water start from the boom to the long line;
Backwards Deep water Start on the Boom
How to resist from a great position
I am also going to go over some driving techniques that are critical to making the back deep. Great driving alone can be the difference between making and not making your start.
Since I want to get down to the difference between the short and the long rope, I am not going to rehash what I have covered in Trauma Center at
First of all, when going to the long line from the boom, there are several things that you must know are a reality before your first attempt;
#1 There is turbulence from the prop on the boat that will
make the water feel different from the boom.
#2 You have to be more patient behind the boat before
#3 Equipment breakthroughs can now make this 80% easier and reduce injuries by 80%
Here are several tips that I want to address that will quickly improve your progress;
1. Always keep arms relaxed and straight until your head gets off the water
2. Never bend your knees until your chin is about to come off the water
3. Only have one foot on the rope until you plant your feet
4. Until you are proficient at this start, never put your feet in the water until you have passed the stern roller (the “bump” you feel from where the boat first took off). Many barefooters miss their start by putting their feet in the water right in this big hole in the water.
Have your driver accelerate to 10 mph. If you start bouncing, reduce the speed slightly until the bouncing stops but there is still a stream of water shooting up like a fountain in between your legs.
Practice doing your “Point and Flex” exercise at least one time before putting your feet in the water see my article at
Plant your feet as I discuss and pick your hips off the water a couple of inches. Hold this position while your driver accelerates to no more than 15 mph.
You should be able to hold this position for at least 10 seconds without bouncing or spearing your feet. Even though it might not feel comfortable, you should practice relaxing your arms, hands, and ankles while perfecting this stage.
If you cannot ride for 10 seconds, the problem will not be solved by accelerating harder. If you can force yourself to have the patience to perfect this stage, you will eliminate the brutal falls that come to those who choose to be tougher rather than smarter.
80% of the problems I help people solve while learning this trick are solved right here.
If your feet are spearing through the water, there are two possible problems. You have either not learned to “Point and Flex” properly or you are planting your ankles in the water.
20 years ago, everybody use to say, “put your ankles in the water.” This MAY work on the short rope, but I have seen many people suffer from doing this on the long line.
If your heels keep feeling like they are catching or your legs feel like they are getting ripped apart, then this is where you should park your butt until the problem is solved.
Once you have mastered the 10 second ride in a relaxed glide, it is time to learn how to get up.
Getting up requires that you pinch your hips upward while turning your feet parallel while following the acceleration of the boat.
Let’s go through this with a game plan.
You and your boat driver both practice the 10 second glide-ride until you own it. DO NOT use this time to accelerate up to speed. 15 mph only for this specific task.
Now that you know how to relax and ride, you are now going to get your boat driver to hold the gliding stage for only 5 seconds and then accelerate up to around 22-25 mph depending on your size. It is ALWAYS safer to be on the slower side of speed until the skier proves himself.
Any children under 100 lbs stay around 18-20 mph Anyone 100-150 lbs stay around 20-23 mph Anyone 150-220 lbs stay around 23-27 mph
Always guess slower until you are sure that the skier needs more speed and it is not a problem of foot position or PowerBand. Almost all injuries will come from over acceleration and not under acceleration.
Timing is critical that is why I want you and your driver to have the game plan that I am outlining for you.
After you own the glide, you and your driver need to work as a team for the next stage of acceleration.
Think of the getting up stage as being a 3-4 second acceleration burst that stops at the speeds I mentioned above.
After the 5 second glide, you will now try to “follow” the acceleration of the boat by pinching your hips upward into the PowerBand position.
One way to make this easier is to combine your hip motion with your foot position change. Over that same 3-4 second acceleration you need to turn your feet from the “planting” or gliding position to the parallel position.
If you ever felt like you were spending too much energy to get your face off of the water, then this is where the problem is. If you ever hurt your groin trying to squeeze your legs together, then this is your solution.
Notice I said nothing about bring your legs together. Your legs only need to come in from wide to shoulder width, but your feet need to turn parallel by the time your head comes off the water.
The PowerBand and the foot position need to work in combination to finish during that 3-4 second acceleration.
If you wait until the boat acceleration is over before you start pinching and turning your feet, then you are left to muscling the get-up stage.
Driving tip: As a driver, I watch for the hips to start moving upward. If the hips are moving then I am accelerating. If the hips stop coming up, then I stop
accelerating, and I even slow back down until I see the hips moving back up.
This will keep the skier safer and helps them “feel” the pull of the boat helping them get up.
The final step is to morph into the correct position as soon as your face comes off of the water.
The easiest and quickest way to hit the correct position is using my infamous “Growling Technique.”
When your head comes off the water, I want you to growl like an angry animal to get you on the offense instead of being on defense until you fall.
“Head-up, shoulder-roll, meat-hook, Power Band, soft knees, relaxed hands.”
That is a lot of things to go through while your head is coming off of the water so I have my students growl out-load in an aggressive MEAN growl that they associate with the backwards barefoot position.
Now let’s get to questions;
Question: “Why do I start to get up and then fall back down on my face?”
Lane Dawg: Make sure you finish what you start when you begin the Power Band and the feet turning parallel. In addition, make sure that you look for the horizon, as soon as your head comes off the water. If you look down, you will
Question: “How come my feet keep getting pushed underneath me after I get up?”
Lane Dawg: “Growl into a more aggressive position and set your resistance better by leaning away (increasing your resistance) from the boat.
Never let your hips get over your heels. Your hips should be over your toes and no further back. It has to be done by “feel” and some video analysis.
Question: “How do I judge speed effectively so regardless of how slow or fast the driver pulls me, I can still make it up? I am looking forward to your insight into this!– Gale”
Lane Dawg: “This is where the game plan comes in handy. I am very confident that if you start with the 3-4 second acceleration game-plan after waiting for the 5 second glide, that you and your boat driver will be able to better anticipate the timing.”
Question: “Lane, I am sick of getting hurt. If I absolutely had to learn this start on the long line in just 2 days, what would I have to do.”
Lane Dawg: “The absolute fastest way is to have me help you so that you do not have to worry about driving. In addition, by using the Super Fly High combined with my HZ Helmets, I can help you make adjustments in the middle of your run which reduces the amount of attempts you will need.”
There are three new equipment breakthroughs that have made learning the back deep long line dramatically easier. I am so sure of this that I have actually put up a money-back guarantee that allows you to return the equipment if you do< not see immediate results.
Check it all out at
Question: “Lane, how long should my rope be?”
Lane Dawg: “If you have a boat that is meant primarily for barefooting, then 75 feet is good with as much height as possible. If your boat is an all around or slalom boat, I would go to 100 feet rope to smooth the wake out and keep
you from getting stuck in a rut. Make sure that you are using a no stretch rope like the one I use at http://www.thefootersedge.com/equipment/handlesrobes.htm “
Let me know if this helps you. I am expecting a miracle