Cheeking Outside the Wake for Your Front Deep Water Start

If you are a barefooter, you already know that footing on calm water is a lot more fun than barefooting in rough water. The start of every barefooting run sets up the entire run for success and the best-case scenario is that you learn the skill of cheeking outside the wake for your front deep water start. When you can start in that sweet “curl” next to the wake, you have a much better chance for success!

The addictive challenge of barefooting is to ski that perfect pass where everything flows without the awareness of power and precision.

To achieve this elusive pass requires facing dangers others are not willing to face…and to prevail where others are not willing to sacrifice.

The passion to ride the adrenaline rush of victory over fear on our way to the next greater challenge parallels life in that the successful confrontation of fear defines our existence.–Lanemus Maximus circa 2001


“…Whenever I hit the stern rollers I end up falling to one side or the other, and actually the other day I really hurt my foot when I lost my balance, and my foot got nailed by the handle. anyways, I believe that it has something to do with the position of the handle because I have been holding it against my hips for the start, but then I am supposed to move it forward right? I just don’t know when to do this and where to hold it exactly. I hope to hear from you soon, thanks a lot.”
-Parker Burke

Solution: If you want to learn to properly cheeking outside the wake, then we need to first talk about equipment.

1. Equipment check

rope: Make sure you are using a barefoot no-stretch rope so that there is no bouncing going on that occurs when using a polypropylene rope (wally rope that skiers or tubers use).

handle: A barefoot handle such as the slalom handle is 15 inches instead of 12 inches. This gives better balance unless you are a small child who might be better off using a 12-inch jump handle.

World’s Best Barefoot Suit and IronMan Shorts: this is not a place to skimp on money.

It is critical that you use a great barefoot suit and full wrap shorts. For my recommendations go here.

Super Fly High or Fly High: Tremendously easier with a high pull (Fly High’s make it 30% easier and the Super Fly High makes it 60% easier to barefoot behind the boat compared to the regular pylon height).

2. Boat speed

This is one of the most common mistakes when trying to cheeking outside the wake. Keep your boat speed at 25mph or less until you become proficient at cheeking outside the wake.

Now that you are on a level playing field with the best chance of success, you need to brush up on your butt glide position and then learn how to change directions while in the butt glide position so you
can plant your feet in your three-point position in the calm water outside the wake!

Position- The butt glide position should have your knees completely straight with either one or both feet on the rope. Knees are together to keep water out of your face.

Handle remains into your hips until your feet touch the water in your three-point position. Only then does your handle come out in front of your knees.

EXCEPTIONS: small kids or women(may need to keep the handle AT their knees in the three-point)

and BIG DUDES (220-380lbs) who I allow to keep their handle out further from their hips to counterbalance their beef.

I digress: Check out me teaching 2005 World’s Strongest Man, Phil Pfister, to barefoot. He was 6’8” and 385lbs when I taught him

It is absolutely critical that your legs remain completely straight so that your knees are never above the rope while in the butt glide position. A bent knee is the beginning of many troubles …trust me on this.

Another huge tip for added control is to make sure that your feet and your head are the same distance from the water. This creates stability by keeping your weight balanced.

Rolling over in the butt glide position occurs when you are not balanced.I almost forgot. Make sure never to put your heel over the rope. Only put your foot arch on the rope. This keeps your knees together and below the rope.

If you roll over AND have your heels or ankles crossed on the rope, when the handle comes out of your hands, it smashes your feet when it can not getaway. This usually feels like you have broken bones in your feet from the impact…but it usually is just a nasty contusion.

The only exception to heel over the rope is when you are wearing shoe skis. In this case, but only one heel over the rope. Keep the other off and straight.

Cheeking Outside the Wake

With your new and improved position, think of the wake as a big bowl where you want to get up enough momentum to get up and out.

As soon as you can sit up into your butt glide position, begin by leaning to the left to get your momentum started to the left. I usually tell kids to fart to the left to go left, fart to the right to go right.

Do not try to get out on your first attempt. Simply start the momentum and then as soon as it dies, fart in the other direction. With two or three goes at building up your edging speed, you will be able to cheekout to the trick curl.

Bonus points-

If you start way off to one side instead of directly behind the boat, you can either get one swing and get right outside or even better…get outside the wake without having to go over it!

I hope this helps. If you need more help try a layer of SlickFeet50.

Here is a Virtual Ski School Video Analysis I did for my great 20 year-long client, Jorge Presas! He is a great and generous barefooting friend!

You will also want to check out the following amazing and free information:

Click HERE for Ski School Information

Click HERE for my Virtual Ski School

Please leave me a comment below.

PSA: If you are depressed or feel like there is no hope for you right now, then I would encourage you to ask to hear my message of hope of how I was at deaths’ door and found the miracle I needed. Maybe I can help you get the miracle you need!

email me for my story at or TEXT to 863-269-0786 and maybe I can help get you the miracle you need ?

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