After going dormant for nine years in 2008, the return of Feet on Fire in the summer of 2017 proved that the fire was not just burning on the watersports community’s soles, but still burned deep in its heart as well. Take the popularity of 2017’s return event, and some epic hype going into 2018, this years Feet on Fire was the event you wished you’d gone to see.
Some of the water world’s top athletes took to the glassy waters of Lake Jennie Jewel in Orlando, Florida for a high speed, head-to-head, battle royale. Unlike most endurance barefoot contests, Feet on Fire is comprised of an invite-only list of elite athletes from a broad spectrum of towed water sports, including wake boarders, wake skaters, traditional water skiers, show skiers, stunt men and industry veterans.
The main rule: no barefoot/wet suits allowed – only a pair of shorts and a flotation device.
While a no-fly list is in place for any professional barefooters to be allowed to ski in this exclusive event, exceptions can be made for Legends. The crowd got the opportunity to watch Water Ski Hall of Famer and Barefoot Legend, Ron Scarpa, warm up the crowd with an exhibition run to start the tournament and he didn’t disappoint, showing everyone he still knew how to do a tumbleturn.
With fans lining the shoreline of Lake Jennie Jewel at “The Waterfront” Restaurant , they were accompanied by good music and even better food and drinks while getting their feel of epic barefoot action, and some even better face-plants.
A total of 31 head-to-head runoffs throughout the afternoon found one grand champion out of the 32 contenders – and he was no stranger to first place. Becoming a hat trick Feet on Fire Champion, JD Webb was the first rider to ever win the event three times, and his day didn’t stop there. Along with Grand Champion, JD also picked up awards for “Longest Battle Endurance Award” (4.25 laps in the final run of the day with Runner-up, Zane Schwenk), and “Best Crash of the day” after getting wiped out by a downed opponents handle in the second round. Zane Schwenk took Second place, with water sport veterans Shaun Murray and Mike Anderson taking third place.
2018 Hall of Famer, Tom Weber, took the “Most Impressive Performance” after going three rounds deep on his first ever year competing. Jake Snider proved that his video and editing skills weren’t the only thing award-worthy, taking home the “Best Step Off” coming off his ski with a smooth one foot one hand past the crowd.
If you’re disappointed you miss this one on the calendar, don’t be – this was only half the fun! This year Feet on Fire is a two-part series, with Orlando’s event this May being the Feet on Fire South. Feet on Fire North will be going down on August 17th, at the Twin Lakes Corn Fest at Lance Park in Wisconsin. So if you’re a footer in the area get this one locked down in your calendar now!
A big thank you to all the event sponsors for making this a must do on everybody’s calendars next year, and thank you to all the awesome photographers for capturing all of the action…from land, air, and sea!!
Photo credit – Garrett Cortes, Erik Ruck, John Lipscomb, Andrew Koller, and Dillon Brouch
Story Submitted by Ben Groen, 2016 Barefoot World Jump Silver Medalist and Feet on Fire Ski Picker Upper