What the hell?
You’ve seen water skiing, right? Imagine that minus the actual skis. If that sounds like some somebody being dragged behind a boat, hands on a rope and their feet in the water, then you’re on the money.
Throw in a few tumbles and rotations, and you have yourself an action sports fad!
Did anyone actually do it?
Barefoot skiing was apparently popular from the 1950’s, with Cypress Gardens in South Carolina being somewhat of a mecca for the sport.
Many names have come and gone during the popularity of the sport, but two in the 1990’s really stood out; Parks Bonifay and Peter Fleck.
“with a speedboat starting at around £15,000, it can be a little on the pricey side”
Parks Bonifay was born in to a water sports family, and progressed from water skiing to barefoot skiing almost virtually from the womb, before finally seeing the light and making the move to wakeboarding, Parks Bonifay is credited for progressing wakeboarding rapidly.
Peter Fleck took gold home in both 1997 and 1998, back when Barefooting was a X Games event(!) and he continued to be the biggest draw the sport for years after.
Why it deserved to die…
Quite apart from the risk of a severe verruca epidemic, a greater factor was probably the expensive equipment at the heart of the sport.
Granted, you need very little for your feet, but with a speedboat starting at around £15,000, it was a little on the pricey side.