Planting a pair of naked feet onto the water to kick off the new season can be downright painful. A few winter months off the water have left your feet soft and unprepared to face the rigors of barefooting. That’s why it’s a good idea to take your first few rides wearing a pair of shoe skis. Shoe skis will help build your confidence and stamina, and will keep your feet warmer in the cool water of spring. Further, shoe skis can be used as a great training tool, helping you build important foundation skills. — Keith St. Onge
After a few early season warm-up runs on the shoes, it’s time to start moving on to one-footers. The transition involves a few simple steps. Ensure both ankles are directly under your knees for a perfect glide. From a narrow stance, with your arms out and completely relaxed, begin shifting your weight onto your desired foot. It’s important to keep both feet in contact with the water until your weight has been completely shifted to your desired foot. Once your weight has been transferred and your free foot feels weightless, simply hinge at the knee to lift your foot off the water.
Once you are proficient with one-footers, letting go with one hand is the next step. Start by riding in a controlled one-foot stance. When your balance is set, simply remove the hand on the opposite side of your planted foot. This will ensure that the pull comes across your body and puts you in a strong, balanced position. Riding with a one-foot, one-hand position will provide a full-body warm-up and serve as a great spring conditioning tool.
Photos: Bill Doster