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Cornelius News

Brace yourselves for the 45th annual Lake Norman New Year’s Day Barefoot Skiing Tournament

Jeff Blair of Mooresville is the winningest New Year’s Day competitor. Photo Courtesy John Gillette

Dec. 27. The 45th Annual Lake Norman New Year’s Day Barefoot Tournament will be held Sunday, Jan. 1, at Lake Norman Marina and hosted by the Carolina Show Ski Team,

It is one of the longest running and unique barefoot skiing tournaments in the world. Due to COVID-19, 2021 was the first year in the event’s history it had not been held. The event starts at noon and finishes about 3 pm at the marina, 6965 NC Hwy. 150, Sherrills Ford.

What makes the tournament special is that it combines barefoot starts, tricks and endurance skills in one single ride. Contestants receive points for the degree of difficulty of their starting method (flying dock start, backward dock start, etc.), degree of difficulty of any tricks they perform (one foot, tumble-turns, 180 degree turns) and one point for every second they remain on their bare feet.

About 25-30 “footers” (barefoot water skiers) are expected to compete, coming from as far as Florida and New Jersey.   

In 2019 two-time World Barefoot Champion, Keith St. Onge, broke the longstanding course record set by Mooresville resident Jeff Blair.