The Step-by-Step Method for Learning World Class Tumble Turns in 20 Minutes or Less

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-Walt Disney

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“Hi Lane-Dawg,

I guess for a novice like me your tips have most of a trick run covered apart from tumbles and hops. I’d sure like to know why I get so much drag on my body doing tumbles, especially when being dragged backwards. My tumbles seem to be giving me a triceps workout!

 Cheers, JohnO”

If you are like JohnO, then you are about to get your problem solved through the power of email. To save re-hashing what I have already covered, I want you, to review my article which covers the “butt glide” (I referred to it as ‘planing’ in this article). Simply go to my Trauma Center where I want you to review the equipment tips, boom height, handle and ropes, and wetsuit suggestions!


I want you to know that I wish I had a dollar for everyone I have skied with that thought they had good tumbles when, in fact, they were practitioners of heinous tumble turn crimes, let me remind you that tumbles will probably remain the best show-off trick in barefoot water skiing! If you cannot do tumbles effortlessly and have fun while performing them, you will learn a lot from this article.

Please remember that I am supplying this information to you for FREE. If this is helpful to you, then please do me a favor and forward this information to at least one barefooting or ski buddy so they can join my newsletter at.

This information is no longer being supplied by Water Ski magazine, which charges a subscription and is limited by the length of the article that they would allow me to write. But in fairness to them, they did allow me to write on this subject by publishing one of their most popular articles they have ever published, Spin Doctor, published in the March issue 1994. (Also, thank you Rob May and Robert Stephens whom I believe were the best supporters of barefoot water skiing that World Publications has ever employed as judged by the coverage in the magazine.)




NOW, let me reveal for the first time ever my list of the top 5 tumble turn felonies!

#1 Poor technique; read this article or see it in action on my video by clicking here.

#2 Incorrect speed-99% of the people drive way too fast

#3 Poor set-up; boom height, rope length

#4 Bad wetsuit; I am constantly surprised at how people will try this trick in a wetsuit that is not meant for barefooting or a wetsuit that is too large. If your wetsuit flaps painfully against your lower or upper back, then it is too large and the speed may be too fast. You can get the same wetsuit that I wear in my Pro Shop by clicking here.

#5 Trying 360 tumble turns before learning 180’s or the windshield wiper technique.

I love helping solve these problems because I get tremendous joy watching my students go from never having done a tumble turn (or from having tumble turns that look more like torture) to perfect tumbles! My approach will be to start you from the beginning just like I would for anyone skiing with me down here in paradise. Down here, this is a half-day to a full day project. On your own, it may take much longer, but if you use this article in conjunction with the video, you will find success!

Now that you have established the good butt glide, good set-up, and good equipment, we will be able to concentrate on speed and technique.

The speed should be between 25-30mph (remember: high boom with 2′ extension). Even large individuals (over 225lbs) equipped properly should do tumbles in the low 30’s. Small children (less than 75lbs) could perform tumbles in the low 20’s (mph) as long as the ‘chine spray’ (from the side of the boat) is not hitting the skier!

Now it is time to get down to the nitty gritty, technique! After you are able to ride comfortably in the butt glide position in total control, you are ready for my patented No Feet Tumbles technique that has helped thousands learn to tumble safely! It has also taught “spasmodic tumblers” to gain control. Simply put, it is a slow speed maneuver in which all four tumbles (180’s and 360’s in BOTH directions) are done without standing up in-between each one.

TIP: It is very helpful to strengthen your abdominals, as the butt glide position will work your abs BIG TIME! If you do not know how to do this, set-up a handle on dry land and practice holding the butt glide position until you can hold it for 30 seconds at a time.

The next step is to learn the magic of handle control. Handle control makes great tumbles and there is only two positions you need to learn, the starting and ending position and the gun-holster position!


The starting and ending position requires that your handle be tight to your hip with your knuckles placed firmly against the very top of your legs. This is the single biggest technique mistake that I see people making. Starting or ending with the handle ‘out’ causes more problems than are worth mentioning.

The gun-holster position is where you put the MIDDLE of the handle into the BOTTOM of your imaginary gun holster without allowing your handle to lose contact with your wetsuit! This is so important that it is worth re-reading and imagining over and over again! , did you re-read it? The big tip to doing this is to lock out you outside arm fully. In other words, if you want to spin to your left, you will need to lock out your right arm until you achieve the gun-holster position.

TIP: NEVER let the handle come-up above your hip at anytime during the tumble turn! This is a heinous crime that causes people to get tremendous drag!

What causes the drag is getting caught with the handle out of position. If you have ever gotten stuck with the handle over your head while you are dragging on your back, then you lost control of your handle! Remember, I said there are only TWO positions for the handle. Having the handle over your head is not one of them.

The only way to safely start to learn your tumbles is to start from the butt glide position and practice letting your feet swing from left to right while your practice going from the starting position to the gun holster position and then back to the ending position!  If you would like to start your first windshield wiper to the right, then look over your right shoulder 180 degrees behind you while locking out your left elbow and PUSHING the middle of the handle into your left gun-holster position! Hold your head position and handle position steady until the tension that you have created from pushing spins you back to the front where you should do.what? That’s right, PULL the handle back into the ending position.  Do not be discouraged if you only spin about 45-degrees on your first attempts. You will eventually be able to make it to 90 degrees and then 180 degrees.

Immediately begin learning the opposite direction. Do not attempt 360-degree tumbles until you have MASTERED the 180’s.

By adhering to great handle control, you will conquer the 180’s that I believe are more difficult than the 360’s. When you are ready for the 360’s, the key becomes timing. A 360 tumble is simply moving the handle from one gun-holster position to the other gun-holster position and then back to the ending position.

The timing of when to move the handle is critical. You move the handle as soon as your feet reach the 90-degree position. If you wait too long, then the handle will be very difficult to move. The key here is realizing when to pull and when to push. A 180 is a pull-push-pull. A 360 is a pull-push-push-pull. The starting and ending positions are always a strong pull. The gun-holster positions are always a push with your outside arm!

MAJOR TIP: Always keep your knees, legs, and ankles touching during the tumble turn! This is critical to getting your hips to move in one motion.

MAJOR TIP: Never let your knees, legs, and ankles get higher off the water than 12 inches! Raising your lower body during the tumble turn is one of the major reason for catching your shoulders or head half way around (mistakenly attributed by some as a “sleeveless” wetsuit problem).

MAJOR TIP: Whenever you are in the butt glide (starting and ending position) you are planing on both cheeks! Whenever you are in a gun holster position, you should be on one butt cheek and one side of your ribs (the opposite side as the handle). But how do I keep my students of excellence from getting confused? By telling them in words they will never forget! REMEMBER always fart TOWARDS the boom! In other words, look to the left lay on your left side. Look to the right lay on your right side!

Well there , I have tapped into the last of my search and destroy typing skills for the day. It is 82 degrees out so I must go take advantage of living in paradise! If I have left any stone unturned and you have my video, email me at [email protected] and I will be happy to help you more once I have been rejuvenated!


Please let me know if this has been of help to you as I am expecting great things from you!

Lane “Dawg” Bowers’ Personal Guarantee:

I GUARANTEE my personal instruction to be the best instruction you have ever had or you ski FREE! I also personally guarantee my 2-hour instructional video, The Footer’s Edge, to be the best instructional video you have ever seen or your money back! How can I do this? I believe that there is no one who has dedicated more time, energy, and money to teaching barefoot water skiing than I have. , when you experience how I integrate my system of Posture and Glide and The Power Band with my enthusiastic faith in you, incredible things happen. This same system of teaching also has helped me to provide the best safety record in water skiing!

  I am available to personally help you achieve your skiing goals by calling 877-685-6270 or visit our website @ 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!

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Have a blessed day.

“Expect a Miracle!”
Lane “Dawg” Bowers

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