At 53 years old, Judy Myers took on a dare from friends: Try water-skiing barefoot. To say she succeeded is an understatement. Now 74, she’s the oldest female competitive barefoot water-skier in the United States.
Knowing Myers was up for high-adventure sports like parasailing, her friends challenged her one day to get up on the water barefoot behind a boat.
“So I went out there, I put my feet on the water, and it was just like the world opened up,” Myers told Growing Bolder. “It was the most awesome feeling in the world to be walking on water.”
Today, she doesn’t just walk on water. She has an arsenal of tricks like balancing on one foot, riding backwards with no hands and even hooking her feet into the handle so she can lay down on her back.
The sport has given Myers so much that she’s paying it forward by teaching others, particularly women, how to barefoot water-ski at the World Barefoot Center in Winter Haven, FL.
She’s also helping others get back into the sport they once loved. For example, 51-year-old Karen Putz lost her hearing in a water-skiing accident at 19 years old when she crashed going 40 MPH. Putz quit water-skiing and went on with her life until her husband passed along a video clip of Myers barefooting.
Inspired by what she saw of Myers, Putz reached out to the legend and began taking lessons.
“I was 200 pounds at the time, and I could barely get the wetsuit zipped up,” she told The Chicago Tribune. “This is midlife; I’m 44. The message that was playing over and over in my mind was that it’s over.”
Now, as Putz is adding to her list of tricks, she also set a goal of barefoot water-skiing in all 50 state while she’s in her 50s.
But, back to Myers. Here’s more on this athlete from Growing Bolder.
So, what is it that you’d like to try in your 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s? The sky’s the limit.