“Patience means self-suffering.”

“Cowards can never be moral.”

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment.

Full effort is full victory.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

“Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way if he gets angry…he will be a mile away…and barefoot.”

-unknown author

Hundreds of new barefooters are signing-up every month hoping to find answers and help to find a new rush in barefoot water skiing. I hope I can help. Whether you just joined or have been a faithful subscriber from the beginning, do not be afraid to email me ([email protected]) with your questions no matter how stupid you think they are.

This article is an advanced one, but I am here for everyone…especially if you have never barefooted before! Welcome!

“Hi Lane,
How’s the season so far? I’m ready to see you set a new trick record. I have a question about a problem I have had for years. When I do front to backs (both 1 foot and 2 foot) the hand that I release to go to the back position is lazy and does not grab the handle in the back position. I have to make a second effort to get the handle. I almost always make the turn but the bad handle transfer makes for a sloppy turn. Even when reaching for the handle is the ONLY thing I think about before the turn, that darn hand does not go all the way for the handle. Only after a second effort to grab the handle do I ride away backwards. This makes f to f 360’s almost impossible. I have done 1,000,000 turns on dog paws and do not have even a hint of a lazy hand!! The problem is only when barefoot. Should I just live with sloppy turns (there are no points for good style!) or is there some drills I can do? Drills? Dry land practice? Exercises? Brain surgery? Ect… It seems I have tried everything. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO MAKE MYSELF REACH


Your old friend (42 now),
Mark Wells”

Mark, you are definitely not alone and this is a great question. I have always believed that with all barefooting, “it is not the surface turn that is difficult, only the starting and ending positions that are difficult.”-Lanemus Maximus

I actually see this problem a lot in advanced skiers. The solution is in the position. I would be very suspicious of your starting position, your Power Band, and your squeeze. Please review my article #6, Power Band and Squeezing

I am very certain that we could find some ways to make your starting position more powerful. I could definitely revisit the entire Posture and Glide speech, but I will spare you and go right to some of the things that I personally concentrate on that should help. If you were here, I would definitely spend A LOT more time going over your starting position.

I would be willing to bet big money that when you are going down before your front to back that you are bending forward and letting your arms out away from your body. This is the single biggest problem that attributes to a lousy turn. What is really happening to you is that when you are getting to the back position, you are not in a POWERFUL position. Instead you are temporarily vulnerable because you have lost that loving feeling that comes from keeping the pull in your hips.

The fact that you can take another swipe at the handle tells me several things;

#1 Your eyes are up-very good.

#2 You have good balance-very good.

#3 You are standing high with your upper and lower body-the opposite of very good.

#4 Your legs are wide-a killer of all that is good in the correct position.

#5 You have practiced perfecting this problem until it has become comfortable to turn this way-I know you are not happy about it, but you have trained it into your subconscious-not good.

Here is another great rule that I try to live by for myself and my students:


Here me now, believe me later!

But Lane Dawg, you ask, I never TRY to repeat the same mistake! I understand your intentions are good, but the problem is that “practice does not make perfect…it makes permanent.” If you repeat your mistake without getting results, change it to shoe-skis, dry land practice, or even trick skis. Go to where you can be in your happy place. You need to build the correct muscle memory without beating your body until it expects to repeat the same mistakes. This is where professional help rules.

Let me get back to solving this problem.

#1 Always make sure to turn at or below the PERFECT position see lengthy dry-land practice in video

95 % of the people who do surface turns start too high and turn too high!

“Live low and prosper.”-Lanemus Maximus

#2 I always try to keep my chest out and my shoulders back during all my skiing. Keeping my shoulders behind my butt during the entire set-up for the one-foot or two foot turn is critical. You are very likely to be bending forward as you go into your turn. By keeping your shoulders back and your hips forward you keep the pull in the hips which makes you twice as powerful. When you bend over and let your elbows get away from you, the pull goes from your hips to your shoulders and you are no longer in control.

If you review my articles on the Front to back and One-foot Turns you will find my tips on keeping the handle in close to your body.

#3 It takes a lot of concentration, but it is critical for me to keep my chest expanded forward in between my elbows so that my elbows and chest do not get separated in my set-up. See previously mentioned articles.

#4 Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze! Try using a small Gatorade bottle next to your cup as you practice these turns. If you can keep it without dropping it, you will be well on your way. I also like to squeeze my armpits into my ribs once I am in the correct position so that when I finish the turn, my handle is close to my body!

#5 Power band, Power band, Power band!!! I never stop working to push my butt towards the handle and squeezing my hip flexors. This cannot be over stated!

#6 Reduce the practice time and aggravation by 87.2% and come down to paradise where miracles are in the making!

Let me know if this helps you. If you know someone else who it might help, please forward it to them!

-Lane Dawgumus Maximus

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