Easton Olsen is an artist… on the water and off.
The 12-year-old barefoot water skier was inspired by the YouTube videos of Barefoot World Champion Keith St. Onge to learn to barefoot in 2014. And he painted a future on the water with help of oil paint and canvas… chutzpah and GoFundMe.
This small but mighty Utah barefooter paid for his first week of training at the World Barefoot Center in Winter Haven, Florida by painting a picture for everyone who donated to his GoFundMe account and selling drawings.
Barefooters around the world now have at least one Easton Olsen Original hanging in their home.
“I told Easton if he was really serious about barefooting he needed to figure out how to pay for it. There are three other boys in the family and it wouldn’t be fair to spend all that money on one kid,” says Easton’s Dad, Brett.
Easton’s band of brothers includes older brother, Ty, 14, and younger brothers Taj, 6 and Asher, 3.
Easton was more than serious, he thrived in that first of week training and wanted more. His parents bought a used boat, and the family started barefooting together. Their favorite place to barefoot is at an undisclosed location near the Bear River in Idaho.
“I just want to get better and better… and barefoot for as long as I can. I just love the sport and all the people in it. Everyone is so encouraging,” says Easton.
Motivated by the Western Region’s Joe Lovato and Brian Heeney, Easton started competing in tournaments in 2015 along with his friend Stefan Lippelgoos. Their first tournament was Brian Heeney’s legendary Montana State Tournament. Easton says he was hooked from the beginning.
He now has personal bests of 1640 in tricks and 5.9 in wake slalom. Easton finished in second place overall in the highly competitive Boys B Division at the 2017 U.S. Barefoot Nationals. Easton has also qualified for the 2018 Junior Barefoot World Championships in tricks and is focused on getting there in slalom.
“I sometimes think it’s insane I can ski on my feet. It’s so much fun, says Easton.
Easton says his favorite trick is hand skiing but his coolest accomplishment is doing a back deep barefoot start in a cable park.
Easton doesn’t just love barefooting. He likes duck hunting and wildlife. When he grows up he wants to be a hunting show host. It’s also his favorite subject for painting.
So next time you see a barefooter going by dressed in camo and holding a paint brush… it might just be Easton Olsen, Barefooting’s Renaissance man.
If you have a nomination for featured footer of the month… email ABCPresident@barefoot.org