USA Water Ski & Wake Sports

Barefoot - One-Foot-Wave

Barefoot water skier executing one-foot-wave


Note: This article first appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of The Water Skier magazine, the official publication of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports. If you are not a member of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports and you are interested in receiving the quarterly magazine, join now.


Written by Rachel Normand

Photography by Scott Normand

Now is the perfect time for you to set goals and decide what tricks you want to achieve this summer and perform at a competition. If you know how to do a one foot, a great goal is to take that trick to the next level by adding a wave. A one-foot-wave will give you an additional 50 points - 100 if you do both sides! Here are steps to get you started.

Step No. 1: Start in a strong front barefoot position with your shoulders rolled back, hips forward, and knees bent. Your elbows should have a slight bend with your shoulders and hips facing forward throughout the trick.

Step No. 2: Turn your handle down toward your support leg. Van (pictured) is turning his handle down over his left leg, which will be his support leg. Turning your handle down will initiate a weight shift of your hips and shoulders over that leg allowing the other leg to be free to slide forward and lift.

Step No. 3: Completely transfer your weight over your support leg by turning your handle down and shifting your hips and shoulders. Your shoulders and hips should face forward but angle down over the leg on the water. When lifting your right leg, your right hip and shoulder will be slightly higher than the left to keep you balanced on one leg. Once you have shifted your handle, hips and shoulders, slide your free leg forward and off the water in front of you into a one foot.

Step No. 4: After you have established a stable one foot, it is time to release and wave one hand. If your right foot is in the air release your left hand very slowly making sure your shoulders, head, and body stay facing forward and do not twist. To prevent twisting keep your right elbow bent, engaging your arm and core muscles to keep you forward. While maintaining your position slowly release one finger at a time from the handle.

Step No. 5: As your hand releases the handle, hinge at the elbow and bring your hand up by your head to wave. It is especially important to resist the pull of the rope to prevent twisting and coming out of position. Resist by keeping your arm, chest, and core muscles tight, as well as squeezing your thighs together keeping your foot in front of you and under the rope. Also, make sure you are waving with the opposite hand as the one foot in the air.

Step No. 6 (Optional) Turn slightly and smile. Once you are comfortable doing a one-foot-wave, rotate your shoulders an inch or two toward your audience. When doing this, it is particularly important to keep your right arm bent, core muscles engaged, and hips facing forward. Turn slowly, staying in control of how much you rotate and not allowing the rope to twist you out of control. You did it! Enjoy your achievement and new trick!

Rachel Normand is a USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation Water Ski Hall of Fame inductee, five-time world individual champion, and four-time world team gold medalist. She lives, trains and coaches on Lake Wylie in Tega Cay, S.C. The World Barefoot Center and Barefoot International sponsor Rachel. You can contact her at