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IBA Open Letter

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Lee Stone View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05/Feb/2015 at 16:46

February 5, 2015

Open Letter to All Footers

Dear Fellow Footers,

I’m writing this open letter in an attempt to clear the air and calm the anxiety surrounding recent events in the sport.  The IBA was formed to grow the sport of barefoot water-skiing.  Our formation surprised some people, but should not have been unexpected by the WBCouncil.

Skiers stated they would not ski in another Barefoot World Championships if things did not change and the IBA was formed in part due to these concerns.  And yes, there was a survey sent out under our letterhead to determine how many skiers supported a change that could have limited some skiers’ participation in some events.  We recognized this was a mistake and made it clear that skiers may ski in any events they would like.  The IBA will not restrict any skier’s participation, nor will we compel any skier’s participation.  However, the WBCouncil should not count on these skiers participating under the current format.  We still plan on working with the WBCouncil, through technology improvements and event formats.  Despite being blamed for issues discussed below.

When Heller Farms became aware of the skiers who would not attend the 2016 Championships, compounded with their own concerns with the contract language for the event, they looked for a plan B.  The IBA was a natural alternative.  At that time, the IBA and Heller Farms agreed an IWWF sanctioned World Championships with a different format was the best outcome.

Acknowledging concerns expressed from the barefooting community, the IBA agreed to work with the WBCouncil to develop a format that would be acceptable to the 40+ skiers who responded to the survey mentioned above while Heller Farms negotiated with the WBCouncil for the contract for the event.  The format does not appear to have been accepted and apparently there are still issues with the contract negotiations. 

The IBA has not had any input into the decisions of the Pan Am Council or the election of their representatives.  We decided early on that we could not produce the results we want and participate in regional councils or the WBCouncil.  Yes, there are IBA members who wear many hats and work in many functions in the sport; at Heller Farms and the Pan Am Council.  With this clearly understood, the IBA has not attempted to determine the outcomes of anything except a format for the World Championships.

I hope this helps to clear the air and takes the IBA out of the blame for these events.  These events will work themselves out.  If someone has questions, I can be reached at lee.stone@barefootassociation.org.


Lee Stone, CEO, IBA



I have an excuse....I'm from Texas!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Foot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/Feb/2015 at 08:59
A letter from Evert Aartsen
Hi Foot

I did a little counting in the standing list and came to a shocking conclusion.

If we take mens and womens world standings overall. and we compare 2012 to 2014 we get the following: 
E&A men +3 women +10 total increase +13. 
Australia men +32 women -4 total increase +28 
USA men -55 women -4 total decrease -59. 

Total amount of open men and women on the standing list at 2012  433
Total amount of open men and women on the standing list at 2014  421

Total decrease from 2012 to 2014 is 12 skiers.
If we take in consideration that the States lost 59 skiers the rest of the World has seen an increase of 47 skiers that is more then 10% growth in 2 years.

In other words barefoot is not doing as bad as we all thought it was, except we have a rotten apple and its a big one It is called the USA.
And now the same guys in charge of the USA (who managed to get the USA to decline by more then 30% while the rest of the world is growing) are in Charge of IBA and want to control world barefoot.

These are scary numbers.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Foot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/Feb/2015 at 09:08

The WBC, the IBA . Our worries and ideas.
By Ken Derry Jr and Evert Aartsen Sr

We are extremely worried about the current development in our sport.
Barefoot has not just been a big part of our life it is our life, and that of our kids.

The current development with the IBA challenging the WBC is in our opinion a huge risk for barefoot. We are a small sport and the last thing we want is split our sport up in two camps, this could easily mean the end of our organized barefoot water-skiing.

We need to realise what the soul of barefoot is (at least in our opinion).
Barefoot is a lifestyle sport, which connects a big group of people from all around the world with the same passion. It is the connectivity and the intense friendship that makes our sport so unique. We have great respect for each-other no matter how different our levels are, the Worlds number one can sit and have a pint with the number last and talk about their passion as equals it is these things that truly make our sport unique. And lets not forget that we have lots of fun together. We hope that no matter what happens this part of our sport will never go away.

The current changes with a new association (the International Barefoot Association) IBA being founded are a risk and an opportunity at the same-time.
We see a big and interesting potential in the IBA, but the initial motivation and approach of the IBA we see as brutal, undiplomatic and hostile. The good thing is that the IBA board members seem to also realise that things where maybe approached a bit to aggressive and communication between IBA and the WBC is on-going now which gives us hope.

In our opinion there is no reason what so ever to try and overthrow the WBC and let the IBA take over as was the initial plan. This would without a doubt be the worst scenario possible in Barefoot and very likely split our sport in two camps. Barefoot would lose its connection with all national and international sports associations as the IBA would not be recognised by anybody and the WBC would be reduced too much for barefoot to be taken seriously (its already on the edge).
But we also realise that the IBA was founded out of discontent with where our sport was going by our elite skiers (a very important group that needs to be taken very serious). So it is clear that something needs to happen.

Lets first have a look at what this elite group is not happy about:
They want to see a more professional and higher level World championships format. They believe our connection with the IWWF is a waist of money and we do not receive anything in return.

We believe that going our own way without the WBC and IWWF will be suicide for barefoot as the Barefoot waterski World Championships are owned by IWWF and can only be used by organizations associated with them. This would mean that right away we would lose the right to organize a world championship, not to speak of the tens of thousands of Euro’s (combined) lots of national federations receive through their national sports associations and Olympic committees that would be lost for our sport.
We believe there is absolutely place for a higher lever barefoot event where only the absolute best of the best compete, but we believe this should be a separate event not connected to the traditional Worlds, and we think here is where the IBA can play a fantastic role.

Here is how we believe International barefoot can be structured.

Resposibility of the WBC:

Connection and communication with international sport organizations
World Championship format
World Championship organization

Responsibility of the IBA

Pro World cup format
Pro World cup organization (using WBC trained officials if needed)
Grass root development

There should in this set up be one person that is on the board of both WBC and the IBA. This way there is a direct communication line between the two organizations.

This way we can have the best of both Worlds. We keep our lifestyle Worlds as we know it, which will keep our barefoot family together. At the same-time we get more professional and commercial events that will enable our elite athletes to show case their skills with more exposure and overtime generate income through competing.

We really hope both the IBA and the WBC leave pride and personal feelings out of the way and consider this structure. We all have the same passion lets not loose the common interest out of sight.

Best regards from two guys with a serious foot fetish,

Kenny and Evert

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Geoff Davis View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Geoff Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/Feb/2015 at 12:14
I think you can sign many many more names after Ken and Everts letter. Well more than the 40 skiers who apparently won't go to the Worlds as you state. 

My message to those 40 odd skiers is very simple. Don't come. You're not needed. The sport will live well past your arrogance.

Edited by Geoff Davis - 06/Feb/2015 at 15:00
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