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Richard Gray View Drop Down
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    Posted: 20/Apr/2012 at 00:06
This forum was created to help the History & Timeline committee develope an Historical Timeline of achievements and events in the sport of Barefoot Water Skiing.
Mike Gissibl is heading up this project and welcomes all the assistance he can get!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mgissibl7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24/Apr/2012 at 10:15
We will use this forum as one method of communication with the (yet to be officially created) 'history and timeline of barefoot water skiing' sub-committee of the WBC History committee. 
Certainly Philippe Poyet has done a super job with his written and updated history.  This will be the foundation for any additions discovered in the research as we move forward.  Phil's history is written in the form of a timeline and is devoted strictly to competitive barefoot water skiing and milestone developments in that facet of our sub-division of water skiing.
As we are proceeding, most 'discoveries' so far have been in this area...mostly from skiers of the 1947 to 1965 era, regarding the development of tricks and start methods, tournament formats, and organized barefoot tournaments in the 50's and early 60's.
As a our research for the history and timeline goes forward, we will spend some research time and some "ink" in the timeline/history on show barefooting, figure-8 tournaments, endurance tournaments, and the endurance record...I believe Billy Nichols' record still stands. 

WE ARE LOOKING FOR INTERESTED WBC PEOPLE FOR THIS SUB-COMMITTEE...especially people from each of the regions of WBC, so as to get representation from the whole world.  Also, WE ARE INTERESTED IN FINDING SOMEONE FROM AUSTRALIA TO SERVE AS CO-CHAIRPERSON FOR THIS COMMITTEE, and as said, at least one person from each WBC region to serve as committee members.  Hopefully this will result in a committee of 7 to 9 committed individuals.  Work will begin in earnest after the world tournament, sometime in late September or October of this year.  Thanks in advance, to all who help in any way...even by just "dropping" a name and email address or two, of individual(s) who can be of help would be a big plus for the committee.

The letter below further explains our mission and was sent to Rich Gray and to WBC history committee chair Brian Price and history committee member Philippe Poyet.  

Hello Brian and Philippe, 

Thanks for spreading the word about the history and timeline committee to Graeme D and Brian C of Australia and New Zealand.

Before we go any further with this, I'd like to let this serve as my official request to you, Philippe Poyet, and urge that you volunteer to co-chair, or to serve on our History/Timeline of Barefoot Water Skiing sub-committee.  Though I have not yet met you Phil, it is obvious that there is no one more devoted to the history of our sport than yourself, and your involvement in this task will add greatly to it's success!  Please strongly consider our request!
Setting this up as a sub-committee of WBC's standing History committee Brian, you will not have to do any of the leg work, though you (Rich Gray and any other WBC officials and members) obviously will chose to input as you see fit.  If you are inclined Brian, you may even chose to serve as one of the sub-committee members...that's your call.

My thinking is this; we can have things set up with you and the other member of the History Committee (namely Philippe) as overseers, so there will be a system of checks and balances to insure fairness and impartiality, as you two oversee our 'work'.  As stated above, hopefully Phil takes a more active role. 

Clearly Graeme and and Brian will be a big plus...Graeme would also be a great choice as co-chair, should he want to serve in that capacity.  His name is a familiar one to many competitive footers.

My initial reason for having a co-chair was to split up the work load.  Though this will surely be the case, I now see that it is mainly to maintain this 'impartiality balance'.  In such endeavors, some people may be driven by, or at least be accused of, partiality.  We will maintain impartiality.  Having this 'co-chair' set-up will be an outward display of this. 

The letter to Graeme and Brian did not tell them that we are looking for someone to serve as co-chair.  Did you forward the email I had written, Brian? If so, I hope they have each read the letter and notice the request for committee volunteers and for a co-chair volunteer.  As I mentioned, I would like for the co-chair to be either Australian or Philippe Poyet...should he want to invest the time (I have not yet heard from Phil on the matter).

The next step is getting the affiliates involved in giving input from around the globe, preferably in the form of each one's timeline and history of their countries respective barefooting milestones, and barefooting developments.

That will really be the main part of our job, because once each affiliate's timeline/history is written, our committee will then compile the milestones and developments into an accurate, concise, complete and 'enjoyable to read'  WBC (world) timeline/history of barefooting water skiing.

Sounds simple said that way, huh?  And it may well be, though my guess is that it will take several years to accomplish.  It took us 3+ years just to properly set up a water ski hall of fame in Wisconsin, from 1991 to 1994.

Smooth sailing on the way to the 'Worlds in Waco'! 

Some contacts are being made with good results, as we are digging into the pioneering years and hearing from the men and women of that era.  We will 'take off' in earnest in October!

Mike Gissibl  
Mike Ukraine
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mgissibl7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/Apr/2012 at 09:49
Thanks Bftskir, for posting the article/interview with Brett Wing on the "open forum' part of this WBC forum...Great Article!

THIS IS WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR at the WBC History and timeline committee.  It looks like Bret pioneered toe-ups, step-overs, and the toe-front (back to front) and Brett gave credit to a friend of his, Allan Moffat for being the first to do the toe-back (front to back).  In your article Brett explains that when he was a kid, he did toe turns on a trick ski, as he thought it would be impossible to do barefooted, so he didn't even try the toe front to back ...Moffat called him up one day and told Brett that he did the trick.  Then Brett went out and did it on his second try and now it's his favorite trick. 
Brett also gives credit to Gary Barton for pioneering some things.  Quoting Brett in the article, as he answered the question of who he admires most in barefooting:

"When I was young it was Gary Barton.  He set a pretty good milestone for barefooting, he won four national overalls in a row.  He invented back deep and was doing back toes around 1970, other people were doing them but he was the only one doing a reverse…in a pair of shorts."

This is the kind of 'milestone' information that we need, either documented, witnessed by others, or from the pioneers themselves, along with the dates when done.  And if the info comes to us from Australia, Europe, NZ, RSA, and USA, then we should have the world covered.  So we are encouraging countries that have 'barefoot clubs, foundations, councils"...no matter what they are called...to give documented "firsts" (milestones), certified by others or print, that is 'firsts' in their individual country then these firsts in that country can be compared.  Then we can compile the dates and see when and where each trick was done.  

We are finding that many tricks were pioneered while 'playing around between shows" by pro skiers and then unveiled in the next show performance, well before they began being 'paid' in tournaments...as such, show barefooting will surely be included in our history and timeline, as will endurance footing, figure-8 tournaments, and world endurance record (Billy Nichols still holds that one to my knowledge)...

Right now we have 7 tricks/starts paid as 'extra seconds in 1966, in Wisconsin (this excerpt is copied from the 1966 entry form below which The Skeeters sent us..."7th annual" means 1966 as the first annual was 1960):



sponsored by


Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin

“Barefoot Capitol of the Midwest”

Tournament Rules

8. Each second the skier remains standing on his feet, will be counted as one point. Additional points may be received for completing any of the below mentioned tricks during the course of the run:

TRICK Points

two-ski-jump out 10

deepwater start 45

Backward step-off 50

l80 turn 55

beach start 35

one foot (minimum 5 seconds) 25

dock start 45

9. The skier whose total points are greatest on the best two out of

three runs will be the Wisconsin State Barefoot Champion.

PLEASE NOTE THAT RICH GRAY HAS STARTED A SPECIAL 'HISTORY AND TIMELINE' FORUM, as a supplemental forum to the official WBC Forum.   The Password is TIMELINE.  Go there whenever you want...We may change that to 'no password needed', but in any case, I will try to double post on both this forum and the timeline forum  This 'post will show up there) so interested people like yourself can read what's going and any and all can serve as overseers and contributors...when you see something incorrect or something to add, just chime in... 

The "Brett Wing" article is saved it to my World Barefoot History Folder and the info will be used by the committee.

Mike Ukraine
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mgissibl7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30/Apr/2012 at 09:12
Thanks for the email Phil,

Your letter to me states:

Phillip Smyth  wrote:
 I talked to a women years ago that told me a story about her husband and a guy who was famous in Australia Gelignite Jack Murray,even before Powell in FL. I believe that they may have been the first barefooters out a place called Lake Cagellico in western NSW. The back deep and lots of tricks were all started in Australia by Gary Barton, Rudy Stout, When the USA came to Australia for the first worlds in Canberra in 78 they were in ore of our footers in Australia. and the starts we/ Aussies were doing Flying backward Tumble turns to one foot stand up.  I loved the starts competition. but it was slow and not spectator friendly.  Ask away anything I can help with. regards Phill
Here is my reply:

I am now researching the 1947 to 1965 time frame in the USA.  We need some people, say 2, or 10, or 20 people from the Australia AND THE USA, and anywhere else in the world that one might think, that pioneered milestone barefoot achievements, to step up and volunteer.  It will involve investing time and doing work with and for the WBC history/timeline committee.  We will, among other things, post any RELEVANT, CONCISE, VERIFIABLE  information on the WBC barefoot forum, for interested barefoot skiers to review. 

 To do this, go to THE WBC website:   
http://www.wbcforum.activeboards.net/forums.html    then under "WBC public forum", click on "History Timeline", then enter the password "timeline" and submit COMPLETE INFORMATION...VERIFIABLE AND IN DETAIL WITH EMAIL ADDRESSES, PHONE NUMBERS, STORIES, AND MEDIA SUPPORT WHEREVER POSSIBLE, CORROBORATED BY WITNESSES, DRIVERS, OBSERVERS, CAMERA PERSONS, ETC.

Names, which are nice, but we want a lot more... the specifics of date, where, how done, (in other words, a brief story)...including witnesses we can contact, newspaper articles, video/films/etc.  Then, to verify, we'll need the names of corroborators, like boat driver, passengers in the boat, person taking photos/film or video and any other verification that strengthens the "milestone achievement" claim. (What do any of you, reading this, consider a 'milestone' achievement and how would you be sure the info is verified?...we want your input on the "ground rules" by which this committee will operate, starting after the world tourney)

In order for milestone achievements/information to be considered, this information has to be put on the barefoot forum, WHERE DOZENS OF PEOPLE CAN SEE IT AND HELP VERIFY OR DISPUTE IT.  When we get verification, great!  When we get dispute, also great!  Because then we can ask what the real facts are.  If the person that disputed the claim has no facts that dispute a legitimate milestone claim, it will strengthen the claim, rather than refute it.

   A personal email cannot help because we want dozens of others to see the info and be able to corroborate it's authenticity.  ONCE AGAIN...WE ARE LESS INTERESTED IN A PERSON'S NAME RIGHT NOW.  The milestone achievement is what we want, with any and all details and corroborational information...the name of who did it will naturally follow and be included.

Any name mentioned (of a live person) must include email address, country of the person and phone number.  If the person has passed on, we need the above info of the spouse, and his/her children, the same info of FRIENDS WHO WERE "THERE" in the boat, and in another boat, and on shore...who were witnessing/filming/videoing the milestone event.

This is the only fair way to handle all the info that we will gather...THE WBC PUBLIC FORUM, THEN, CAN FILTER THE INFO IMMEDIATELY AS IT IS GIVEN.

Your email is very interesting and has general information.  Here is just ONE example of what 'general info' get's us:  

I have a piece of (astounding) general information from a letter by Jon Broderick...it says...and I will quote:    
 "And I remember Bobby and Gene Marotti of Winter Haven, Florida who actually were the first barefooters, ever. They used to tell the story of being the first on Lake Howard in Winter Haven to barefoot ski. They were hired part time at Cypress Gardens with the mission of teaching Downing, (Dick Pope, jr.) to ski barefoot. After that, Marotti's were not needed." 

Our current perception of who was the first barefooter in the USA (and we believe the world) was Dick (first name: Downing) Pope Jr. as shown in 1947 newsreels the world over.  Recent information has told us that AG Hancock showed barefooting to Pope and the Cyprus Gardens skiers, but  Hancock had to leave on Holiday with his family, so was not around for the filming of the newsreels.

So now here came this 'blockbuster' information that Gene and Bobby Marotti were the first to barefoot in the USA (stated by Jon B. as "the first on Lake Howard in Winter Haven (FL) to barefoot ski") and thus we presume, the first ever barefoot water skiers. 

Karen Hughes Larson (wife of a former Cyprus Gardens skier George Hughes) has sent Bobby M's email address.  
Three initial things will be done as a result of this revelation:
1. write Bobby M., asking about the information that they were the first footers ever and ask him for his brother Gene M's email address to ask him the same question.  And 2. Ask Bobby M., Gene M., Karen Hughes Larson, and Jon Broderick for corroborating info...names/email addresses/phone numbers of the driver, passengers, eye witnesses on shore or other boats, the exact dates, place, film/video of the event, newspaper articles, pictures, etc.  
And, 3. We will post this all in the WBC History Timeline forum, making public, for the first time, the claim that Bobby and Gene were seen to be the first barefooters in history...sometime before March 7, 1947...the current date credited with the feat.
Now the world can digest the claim and offer response.  Should anyone have any pertinent, verifiable, (either corroborating or conflicting) input, it's time to step-up and share.

Thanks in advance for going to said "WBC forum".  When there, please submit THE WHOLE STORY!  Emails with little detail will not be pursued (and can not be followed up...with no addresses, phone numbers, dates, the story, the newspaper/magazine stories, etc.  Surely one can understand that there can be no follow up if one has just a name or two)...only a well researched story with all the facts will result in follow-up.
Hope you, Phil Smyth, (and everyone else) can understand this!

Thanks again!  Please stay in the loop.

Mike Ukraine
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