Mike Holt 
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About this Skier
[ Contact Mike via Email ]
  Name: Mike Holt Nickname: Holtzy  
  Hails From: Groveland, Florida USA    
Interview
  What got you into barefooting?
At the tender age of 31, a friend asked me to go water-skiing. Having never done that, I took him up on the offer. I learned to get up on two skis after a few tries and I was somewhat proud of the “old guy” (I was 10 years older than everybody else). Naturally, they were all skiing on one ski and I was amazed and wanted to try, but they suggested otherwise. Then late in the day when the water calmed down, they started barefooting. I was just amazed. I never heard of such a thing. This was in 1981.
  How did you learn to barefoot?
The following Monday morning, I called a local “water-ski” school in Pompano, Florida and attended one ski lesson class. I took about 20 face plants as I attempted to barefoot by stepping out of a “single” ski on a 6 ft pigtail from the boom. On the last attempt, I finally barefooted for the first time for about 100 ft. Then, with a smile on my face, I took the final face plant of the day. Lesson 1 – Learn to barefoot from a “barefoot-ski” school, not a “water-ski” school!

Within a week I purchased a 13 ft boat with a 70 hp outboard motor but for some reason, when I attempted to barefoot from a kneeboard, all I got was spray on my face… but no barefooting. Since I only weighed 140 lb, I finally learned to barefoot from the kneeboard. Lesson 2 – Get the right boat for barefooting!
  Who was your first barefoot instructor?
After a month of barefooting at home, I learned that there were actually barefoot competitions. What is this sport? Do people actually compete? What do they do? What are the events? So many questions, but no one had the answers. I got a lead that a World Champion barefooter lived just an hour away and his name was Mike Seiple, so I contacted him immediately and scheduled a lesson that week.

If you know Mike, he’s a pusher and within a few weeks he had me doing or attempting to do all kinds of things like starts, tumbles, crossing the wake, and even backward skiing. Within a month I was registered for my first barefoot tournament and I was committed to winning the “Novice” division.

Oh yea, I won’t go into the details about the early 1980s at Seipel’. All I can say is that what happened at Seipels stays at Seipels. Some of you reading this will know what I’m talking about.
  Tell us about your first tournament
Okay, six months of training and I’m ready for my first tournament at Melbourne, Florida. I called the tournament director and made a prediction that I’ll win the Overall Novice Division!

Short version, at Brian Fuchs first tournament, he and I had a runoff and I beat him by five points to win the Novice Overall title!
  How did you feel the first time you barefooted?
I remember the first time I barefooted forward and backward, like it was yesterday. I remember the water, the ski, the sun, and the special feeling I felt inside. I just can’t explain it. If you’ve been there, you know…
  Why do you continue to barefoot?
There is something special about this sport and the people that participate in it. I’ve found that almost all barefooters have a positive attitude. They take care of their body, and are willing to share their knowledge. I continue to barefoot because it helps me stay in shape, makes me feel great, and helps relieve stress. When I’m not skiing, I feel tight, stiff, and just not as relaxed.
  Who has inspired you in this sport?
Without question it was George Blair. As a matter of fact, when I won my first National title, I sent him (and Mike Seiple) a letter thanking him for his inspiration. What I respected about George was his character, his commitment to the sport and to the people he skied with. George was always bigger than life to me – but he took the time to speak to me at the tournaments and he cared enough to get to know me and my family. Also instructors, Mike Sieple, Rick Powell, Peter Fleck, Steve Merrit, Chris Harris, and my ski partners Paul Lower and Duane Godfrey.
  Have you held any World Records?
No.
  Have you won any medals at a world championship?
No.
  What skiers have you enjoyed watching and why?
I was blessed to ski with or see all of the world’s greatest skiers. For just beauty, it was Rick Powell for tricks; Mike Seiple the first inverted jumper (I was there the first time he did it in a tournament); Ron Scarpa because of his raw skiing style and determination to win, and he’s still an amazing skier (the best barefooter of all time); Billy Nichols just because he skied for almost three hours (I’m still in awe of that accomplishment). Brian Fuchs backward slalom pass (he actually did his transition in the air); and George Blair because at the age of 75, he would do better front toes in a tournament than I could at the age of 40!

Keith St. Onge because of his beautiful line 360’s (I was there the first time he did it in a tournament); I’m blessed to know him personally and he’s just a great guy and instructor.

Finally, David Small, he's not only an amazing skier and instructor, but a great friend. I'm honored to have the opportunity to train with David for a season. His total commitment to success in barefooting and to help other with their success is inspiring. Watching David ski, especially jumping and tricks is a breathtaking event.
  How often do you train ski?
When I first started, I skied every day I could and sometimes twice a day, but over the years with kids, work, and other distractions, I was limited to only ski between the months of April through September, about three to four times a week. Now that the kids are gone, I try to train year round skiing 2-3 times a week with some cross training each week during the off season, and ski four times a week during the season.
  Do you have a nickname and how did you get it?
“Holtzy.” It was given to me by Mike Seipel the first year I trained under him.
  What other activities do you participate in?
For now, my total focus is barefoot waterskiing and cross training to ensure that my core is prepared for the demands the sport requires. I also spend a lot of time on the World Barefoot Rules and Officials Committee.
  What do you do for a living?
I’m a writer and publisher of electrical publications, Mike Holt Enterprises, Inc. www.MikeHolt.com. I’m considered one of the top experts in the world on electrical power as it relates to the USA National Electrical Code.
  What is your motto?
“Set your goals and do your best at all times to achieve them, stay focused, but don’t worry about the results.”
  When did you first start barefooting? 1981
  What is your Personal Best Score in Wakes? 16.2
  and what year 2012
  What is your Personal Best Score in Tricks? 2760
  and what year 2012
  What is your Personal Best Score in Jumping? 11.3
  and what year 2008
 


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