Valerie Shinn grew up in Redmond, Washington in the 50’s. Redmond was a very rural town before Microsoft moved in. She grew up on the shores of Lake Sammamish–swimming and boating during the warm weather. Val kept busy with ballet, snow skiing, running and gymnastics.
“One day my dad decided we would learn to water ski,” Val recalled.
“Well, I hated it– the water was cold and those old skis were so heavy and so
big. But I eventually learned to slalom ski and was very happy with that for many
In the late 80’s, Val went to a water ski show and was enthralled with the skiers forming pyramids and doing tricks on the water. Val saw a perfect opportunity to combine her love of gymnastics with water skiing, so she joined a show team and climbed her way to the top of the pyramid, three skiers high.
“I often went to the ‘boys’ ski team practice and would
watch in awe when they were barefooting,” said Val. “Well after about a year of watching, I
got enough nerve to try it. It took some time to get the hang of it, but the
first time I stood up on the water, I was hooked!”
Val entered her first barefoot water ski competition at the age of 34. Very few women were in the sport at that time. In 1986, Val walked away with the gold in the barefoot slalom event. In 2001, she took home a gold in the trick event at the Western Regionals.
Today, at the age of 60, Val stays active on the water and she still forms pyramids at water ski shows in the summer time. She recently went to the World Barefoot Center for Women’s Barefoot Week and picked up some new skills on the water. “Barefooting is still my favorite water sport” said Val. “If I could, I would love to barefoot every
day. I just know that every time I stand on my bare feet and ski on the water–
I can’t believe I am doing it. Barefooting makes
me happy and keeps me young.”
Tune in on Thursdays to listen to Valerie explore astrological topics–Val specializes in Intuitive Astrology.
Val has no plans to let age stop her from playing on the water or learning new barefoot tricks at 40 mph. Val said with a chuckle, “As
George Burns said, ‘You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to be