Does it hurt your feet?
Ariana and Kailey Koehler are asked this question often. It’s easy to forget that skimming across the water at over 40mph barefoot can look painful. They admit that the pressure can burn at times, but after years of practice the feeling is similar to moving your feet under running water in a bathtub.
The Koehler sisters are both championship-winning barefoot water skiers. Join them on Lake Como, Wisconsin for a crash course in this mesmerizing sport in the video below.
Ariana and Kailey grew up coming to the lake as a family on the weekends. At the age of ten, Ariana overcame her nerves and entered her first barefoot competition. She found it exhilarating. Kailey joined soon after and they’ve been moving together through state, regional, and national tournaments since.
Side-by-side they have shared in the experience of early mornings, sore muscles, calloused hands, and gold medals. During training sessions, their dad can be found behind the wheel of the boat, and their mom nearby with a video camera in hand. They credit the support they have from each other and their parents for protecting them from the burnout that plagues other extreme athletes.
As Kailey and Ariana anticipate new chapters in their professional lives that will take them away from the water, they know one day they will return to Lake Como and go for a ski with families of their own.
Glide with them in the video above. And whatever you do, don't forget to look around.