A 10-year-old Hastings boy has been crowned the 2019 UK Junior Kitesurfing champion.
Max Tullett triumphed in the British Kitesurfing Championships with victories in the first round at Hayling Island, and the second round at Skegness.
The Ark Blacklands Primary Academy pupil has been brought up in an active family with a sailing background – he joined Pevensey Bay Sailing Club when he was four years old.
He spent most of the weekends there sailing, racing with adults and mainly having fun. At the age of six, Max started to compete on his RS Tera dinghy attending various different sailing events throughout the country and bringing home trophies.
His biggest achievement was the Pier to Pier challenge from Eastbourne pier to Hastings Pier in October 2016 where Max, then aged seven, sailed 14 miles solo to raise money for St Michael’s Hospice and raised an outstanding £3,644.
In 2017, Max got introduced to kitesurfing by his dad Ian Tullett. His passion for this extreme sport started growing and before long, he was more keen to pump his kite up than get his boat out.
Max’s mum, Miroslava Dopirakova, said: “When Max learned to kitesurf he picked it up extremely quickly and it was very apparent from the start that Max was naturally talented to fly the kite and kitesurf.
“Not before long Max became a very competent kitesurfer and within a year Max had his first sponsor, local kiteboarding company Stryder Kiteboards. They were so impressed by Max’s riding that they customised a board especially to match his weight and size because up to this point there were no boards small enough to kite on for Max’s weight.
“Soon after this Max’s riding exceeded to a very high level. He drew the attention of one of the biggest kitesurfing brands, Duotone. Max was turning heads at every beach he was kitesurfing at and has been very lucky to be surrounded by a strong local kitesurfing community based in St Leonards, who have supported him.”
One of the local and very experienced kitesurfers, Christopher Reed, said: “I have been kitesurfing for six years but I’ve never seen such a talented and naturally gifted kitesurfer like Max before and he is just 10 years old!
“He constantly pushes my level of kitesurfing every time we ride together. His awareness of his surroundings when kitesurfing and his kite control is unbelievable.”
Max started attending coaching clinics with professional kitesurfers Lewis Crathern and Jo Wilson. Now Max had firmly found his feet he wanted to compete again, just like when he was sailing. In June 2019, Max won his first kitesurfing competition in the first round of the 15s and Under Junior Championship in Hayling Island. After that, he made the journey to the second round of the British Kitesurfing Championships in Skegness and won again.
Miroslava added: “Both rounds were very different in conditions. Hayling Island presented a very tough combination of light wind and high tide which challenged everyone who was competing, Max won all three heats! Skegness provided good wind conditions but with very strong current, a challenge for the most seasoned competitors. Max showed character and much variation in his skills.
“Unfortunately the third round in Ramsgate didn’t present the conditions to run competition. It was at this round where Max got crowned the UK Junior Kitesurfing Champion for 2019!
“Max is just a normal boy who loves socialising with his friends as well as doing kickboxing. A year ago he said goodbye to his Xbox as that no longer interests him. He’s caring, loving and a very humble boy who is also very creative and a huge role model to his one-and-a-half year old baby sister.
“He doesn’t even fully comprehend the scale of his success and skill but he has huge respect, knowledge and awareness for the sea and environment (he attended the national beach clean day at Camber Sands organised by his sponsor Duotone earlier on this summer).”
For more information or to follow Max’s progress in kitesurfing, visit his Instagram account @madmaxkiting or Facebook page at Mad Max Kiting.
Miroslava added: “We think that Max is someone who has a huge potential in this sport and will represent our community worldwide in the future.”