The 33rd annual Lake Norman New Year's Day Barefoot Challenge is on again this year.
The event will start about noon at Lake Norman Marina in Sherrills Ford on Jan. 1.
The challenge is one of the longest-running barefoot water-ski tournaments in the world. About 30 contestants from the Carolinas and nearby states are expected to participate, including one of the nation's best barefoot-endurance competitors, Seth Frase, 16, of Tega Cay, S.C. Frase is expected to be the top challenger.
Competitors will earn one point for every second they stay on their bare feet and extra points for their starting method and any tricks. The towboat's tight circle pattern increases the difficulty, but enables spectators to keep a close eye on the skiers.
Former World Barefoot Champion Ron Scarpa set the course record in 1996. He combined a backward deepwater start with multiple 180-degree turns, tumble turns, one-foots and a front flip.
The tournament was founded in 1978 by Sherrills Ford resident Terry Cody.
The tournament, hosted by Lake Norman Marina and the Carolina Show Ski Team, is sanctioned by USA Water Ski, the national governing body of organized water skiing in the United States.