Boy, 11, making waves as one of S'pore's youngest kiteboarders
Enjoy the best the wind and the sea has to offer through this fast-growing sport
You may not have heard of kiteboarding, but here's one boy who just can't get enough of it.
Maximilian Mäder, 11, is one of Singapore's youngest kiteboarders.
This is a fast-growing wave-riding water sport using a large kite, simultaneously involving techniques used in paragliding, wakeboarding and surfing. It will be included in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires next month and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Encouraged by his Swiss father, who is also a kiteboarding enthusiast, Maximilian started the sport at the age of six and joined his first race after three years.
Maximilian, who is home-schooled as he travels frequently for kiteboarding competitions, is mostly based in Indonesia and trains for about five months a year at the Wakatobi resort in Sulawesi owned by his dad.
The Singapore-born boy, whose mum is Singaporean, told The New Paper in an e-mail interview: "Being one of the youngest kiteboarders in Singapore, I hope to inspire my peers to pick up this exhilarating sport. My ability to keep up with some older athletes comes from experimenting and regular training."
Ranked 23rd in the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil Class World Ranking and 30th in the KiteFoil Gold Cup Standings, Maximilian aspires to be a world champion one day.
For the Desaru Coast Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) Asia-Pacific Hydrofoil Series in Malaysia from Dec 14 to 16, he is following his father's advice to practise consistently.
The KTA Asia-Pacific Hydrofoil Series is the first and only Asian continental tour sanctioned by the IKA and is open to both amateur and pro riders.
It will be held at Desaru Coast, a new destination resort in Johor with a portfolio of globally renowned hotels and resorts.
It is home to the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, one of the world's biggest waterparks, and Desaru Coast Riverside, a 9.3ha waterfront landscaped retail and lifestyle village.
It spans over 1,580ha along a pristine 17km beachfront and is easily accessible via road, air and sea.
Maximilian said: "Desaru is a beautiful location for kiteboarding, the winds are not too strong and the beach is nice."
Mr Willy Kerr, founding director and event manager of KTA, told TNP: "The take-up of kiteboarding has been increasing each year, as we have seen with the growing number of competitions and competitors on a yearly basis."
He also highlighted that kiteboarding requires the harnessing of nature's power and utilises both the wind and sea, adding: "Kiteboarding feels a little like flying, which is its philosophy - to feel free, be open and be at one with nature."
According to Mr Kerr, technological advancement through incorporation of hydrofoils allows enthusiasts to kiteboard in areas where wind speed is below six knots.
Desaru Coast is an ideal location because it is not too rocky or windy, and is hence safe enough.
Mr Kerr said: "Personally, I think that Desaru has one of the nicest beaches in South-east Asia. In Desaru Coast, there is pristine water, no obstacles and a wind speed that is steady and consistent.
"Hosting the event there is great as this is an event for anyone - from families to thrill-seekers - and Desaru Coast has all the facilities and activities to cater to all types of travellers who are visiting."