Rachel Normand is the Champion of New Years Day Barefoot Tournament!

By John Gillette

Perennial Champion Rachel George Normand is the first woman to take top honors in the 43-year history of the famous Lake Norman New Year’s Day Barefoot Tournament.

3A7DA5DA-BA91-4239-865F-295AAB8D6A7B_1_105_cNormand’s score of 576 points was more than double second place and is the fifth-highest score ever! Normand lives in Tega Cay, South Carolina and is the current Senior Women’s World Champion, 2017 Water Ski Hall of Fame Inductee and Five-Time World Elite Champion. Yes… she is and has always been a BIG Deal!

“After competing the past two years against some of the best men in the sport, I am honored to be the first female to win this unique and grueling event,” says Normand with her signature humbleness.

Rachel Normand tearing it up behind a beautiful Cobalt  Photo Credit: Greg Fossett

“With the smooth pull of the Cobalt towboat, I was able to incorporate a new start into my run boosting my points. With the male competitors hot on my feet, I plan to train hard in hopes of improving my score next year,” says Normand.

Open Division Winners
Open Division Winners from left tor right: Marty Levine,  Rachel George Normand, and Fred Steinbaum  Photo credit: Becky Fox Guess

Second to Normand in the Open Division was Fred Steinbaum (218 points) of Hopatcong, New Jersey, and Marty Levine (160 points) of Short Hills, New Jersey, third.

Mens & Women Divisions Winners
Men & Women Divisions Winners left to right: John McClelland, John Garrity, Lance Smith, Claire Flowers Photo credit: Becky Fox Guess

The Men’s Division was won by the “Beast of the East” John Garrity (186 points) of Byram Township, New Jersey, second John McClelland (168 points) of Mooresville, North Carolina, and third Lance Smith (152 points) of Indianapolis, Indiana.

McClelland also used his participation to raise money for Samaritan’s Feet with $1,492 raised so far! WE LOVE THIS GUY!

Claire Interview
Claire Flowers being interviewed by the media after her run Photo credit: John Gillette

The Women’s Division was won by 11-year-old Claire Flowers (51 points) of Tega Cay, South Carolina, no doubt heir apparent to Rachel Normand!

Beautiful weather brought out about 200 spectators including Steve Steffens from Huntersville.

 “Boats, water, and skiing have always been a way of life for me since I was five years old. I learned about this barefoot tournament four years ago after joining Lake Norman Marina’s boat club, and I haven’t missed one since!” says Steffens.

The tournament is organized by the Carolina Show Ski Team and sponsored by Lake Norman Marina, located at 6965 North Carolina 150 East, Sherrill’s Ford, North Carolina 28673. Lake Norman Marina provides boat sales, service, storage, rentals and a boat club.

Starting area at Lake Norman Marina Photo credit: Becky Fox Guess

Top scores in the event’s history:

2019 Keith St.Onge 1102 points

2011 Jeff Blair, 816 points

1995 Ron Scarpa, 693 points*

1995 John Gillette, 615 points*

*Previous rules did not allow repeating tricks

 Martin Levine, Fred Steinbaum, Don Simon, Ted Eisenstat, Scott Monahan, Kevin Garrity, Allen Smith, John Garrity, Daniel “Sparky” Wicks, Greg Fossett Photo Credit: Greg Fossett



  1. Thanks for the great story. If we currently get emails after the events, is there anyway the barefoot community can get notified in advance for these events in the future?


      1. Thanks Betsy for all you do and the quick response! Is there perhaps an email list I could add my email to to get notified about any barefoot tournaments I’m not aware of,or do you perhaps have a good recommendation for me to somehow “keep in the loop” better? Thanks again in advance!


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