“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”

“The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.”

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

-Albert Einstein

Subject:        Learning to barefoot


I am 6’2 and 265lbs.  I am having trouble learning to Barefoot off a boom.While I am on the boom the

driver has trouble controlling the boat.  Please give me any suggestions you might have on teaching a

big guy to Barefoot.


Kevin Wallace

[email protected]

This is a great topic and one that is dear to my heart. I love the challenge of helping people achieve their goals. I have taught so many people of so many sizes, shapes, conditioning, and athletic ability.

The bigger the challenge, the more I enjoy it. I pride myself on taking on challenges that other people might shy away from because they thing it is too difficult.

The biggest dude I have ever helped to barefoot is a guy who was 360 pounds. He claims to be the biggest, and I haven’t found a challenger, but I am constantly looking.

Big dudes and dudettes require special teaching techniques and patience. I would like to unravel some of the mysteries that I have learned.

#1 The Boom is not a friend of the big dude! (DIRECTLY on the boom, that is.)

#2 Eventually, the long line is the most comfortable place to ski, but not at first.

#3 Extra dry land practice is essential to make up for the lack of boom training.

#4 Driving is critical.

#5 Great equipment is a must because there is no boom time. This equipment is usually special order and costs a little more.

The biggest mistake is trying to get someone who is over 225 pounds (this is not a magic number) to learn while holding directly on the boom. Why? This is because although these big dudes are usually VERY strong, the strength to weight ratio can be awkward on the boom.

There are two solutions depending on the equipment owned. If you are properly fitted with a really good barefoot suit AND PADDED SHORTS (here me now.believe me later), the forwards deep water start is the EASIEST way to learn to barefoot. This is usually much more comfortable and easier to control for the big dude.

I draw the line on who I take to the deep water start based on whether I can get them into the Easy Footer on the boom as I explained in NFTE#18-The Easiest Way to Learn to Barefoot Water Ski  (https://www.thefootersedge.com/equipment/articles_listed.html)

If I could teach you that way, I would prefer it, but the methods described below are a close second depending on the size of the footer!


For a review of how to do this, you can see a five minute FREE video lesson at https://www.thefootersedge.com/equipment/videoclip.html

Or if you want a copy of the article I wrote, go to https://www.thefootersedge.com/equipment/articles_listed.html and look for NFTE#10-The Front Deep.

What if you (not you, of course, but your friend) are one of those people who believe that good equipment (i.e. boom, padded shorts, a GOOD barefoot suit) is a luxury to be owned by sissies (make sure you have access to a full size mirror so you can view your severely bruised and pummeled butt the following day) what is the solution? The wake board start is definitely for you. It is almost identical to the forwards deep water start but can be used when there is no boom or wetsuit.

You can see this method in my two hour instructional video at ../../video_ad.htm

Once you have chosen your path, the next step is to go over the butt glide three-point position on dry-land (see previously mentioned articles or video). Make sure you master the art of ankle flex while on dry-land because that is the biggest killer to learning either of these ways. Review at https://www.thefootersedge.com/equipment/articles_listed.html NFTE#14- Ultra Mega Glide

Then go over the proper standing position perfecting your Posture and Glide first on dry-land.

Driving is HUGE so let me give you the “Do’s and Do NOT’s.”  These are not special for big dudes, but are more critical because they have not had the experience and sensation of barefoot first on the boom!!!

DO NOT use speed to solve problems. The correct three-point position whether from your butt glide or from a wake board must be mastered. The drivers responsibility is to keep the speed down until this perfection is achieved. The dry-land should save a lot of time.

If there is a lot of spray when the footer puts their feet in the water, do not speed up! Make the skier relax the knees and allow the feet to float back until they are not covered in spray. I would say that 30mph is a great butt glide and three-point speed.

A major tip to remember is to always be able to see OVER your knees when in the butt glide and three-point position. This is critical. Do not close your eyes. If you are looking UP AT your knees, sit up more.

MAJOR DRIVING TIP. I big dude or dudette is many times, but not all times, blessed with extra padding around the mid section. This makes it MUCH MORE DIFFICULT to sit forward in a three-point position. I use a 2-5mph acceleration to help them sit forward as they are working into the three-point position.

Do not attempt this until the butt glide is VERY comfortable and even BORING for the skier!

Big dudes are usually not able to stay in a three-point position for long because flexibility and the extra padding. This means that the boat driver should accelerate them up into their standing position. The gamble is that too much acceleration makes ANYONE defensive! You are better of using too little at first to see how they respond to the speed.

If the big dude is able to sit forward and up without pushing their heels forward, accelerate to help them off of their butt. Think of this as helping them up from the floor if you reached over and offered a hand. You would grab their hand and then yank. You would hopefully use your strength to apply just the right amount of pull.

My other rule about boat driving is this; NEVER go over 40 mph for someone’s first time up. On the boom this is haneous speed. On the long line, it is just not necessary. Follow this up with the foresight and attention to shut them down if their position deteriorates or if they are struggling. Do this by gently slowing them down to allow them to get to their butt without taking a head packer.

A great first experience is critical for everyone so remember, it is always better to stop one pass too early than one pass too late. Do not allow a first time barefooter to take a hard fall their first time out. This is the biggest killer to more people enjoying the adrenalin rush!

Boom tip: After the big dude is very comfortable sitting in a butt glide position, make sure the boom is higher than their head while in a standing position. This gives lift and helps to get into a three-point position.

There are many more tips to be added, but it is glass down here in paradise and the water is calling me!

By the way, if you are not sure that these techniques produce results, check out https://www.thefootersedge.com/you_are_famous_3.htm

And see for yourself! Congrats, Charlene! You rule!

-Lane Dawgumus Maximus

Don’t have enough time to get down here to paradise? Bring Lane Dawg Bowers to your turf for a private clinic with you and your buddies! http://https://www.thefootersedge.com/skischool

Get an unfair advantage by signing-up for some lessons  with Lane Dawg Bowers http://https://www.thefootersedge.com/skischool

Order the best instructional video on the planet https://www.thefootersedge.com/videos/index.html

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