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Blast from the Past: Jason Lee

Jason Lee


1. Tell me about the first time you barefoot water skied. When was this and where? Who taught you?
Probably 1992 in Flora Home Florida. My friend Boomer was a couple years older than me and had been reading a book on barefooting written by Ron Scarpa. We made our first runs behind an inboard ski supreme at 40+ mph. I was about 90lbs, 12 years old, and had only a knee-board (hydroslide), regular bathing suit, and foam jacket.

2. How many years have you been barefooting?
Well if you consider me still barefooing, which i do about a half dozen times a year, I’ve been footing for 20 years this year.

3. Who was/is your favorite instructor/mentor/coach?
Both Calvin Bramlitt and Robert Turezbacher were instrumental to my development.

4. What are some memorable moments of barefooting?
Jeez where to start.

My first Nationals in 1994.
My first tournament ever.
1995 Jr Worlds.
Winning 1997 Jr. Worlds.
Countless Dam 2 Dams.
The Racing Cup Series.
Too many memories to count.

5. Where and when was your first tournament? Tell us about that experience.
My first tournament was the Jennifer Odom Memorial Tournament in Florida in 1994. My coach wanted me to ski my my age division but my mom was adamant that i start in the novice division. I did a 1 foot front to back at the end of my back pass… in the novice division haha. People were like… who is this kid haha.

6. What was your most memorable tournament and why?
1997 Jr Worlds in France… because my whole family was with me overseas and I won!

7. What has been the most challenging skill to learn in barefooting?
How to get your feet to stop burning! Seriously though, feet to feet toe fronts are the hardest.

8. Who inspires/ed you in barefooting? All the usual suspects. Ron, Mike, – I knew/know Ron better than I do Mike.  Mike’s career was coming to an end when I got in.  I was inspired by Mike mostly for Jumping because helped/did pioneer inverted jumping.   I admired Ron for his head game.  There were others with similar skill to Ron but he won ALOT because he was the coolest headed and could put it together when the win was on the line.

9. What is a favorite quote or lesson you live by?
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. ”

10. What was your greatest accomplishment in barefooting?
Probably winning the 97 Jr Worlds. Other than that just being selected for 5 US teams was an honor.

11. What advice would you give to someone in the sport today?
There is no substitute for intelligent persistence. I got good quickly because I fell often, period.


About: Karen

Contributing writer for WaterSki and The Waterskier. Author of Barefoot Water Skiing: From Weekend Warrior to Competitor. Co-author of Gliding Soles with Keith St. Onge. Barefoot junkie.

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