Russian atop the wind and waves

Russia has produced its first-ever world champion in extreme sports, with Pyotr Tyushkevich becoming a dominant figure in kite surfing.

Pyotr Tyushkevich is the 2009 world champion, the World Cup winner considered the world's best freestyle kite surfer.

This man has truly made history, as he is the first-ever Russian to reach those heights in any extreme sport.

“Nobody could expect a Russian kite surfer to perform well. They just don't believe there are any skillful ones from Russia. So I faced some problems with the judges. They first need to take a close look at you before recognizing you as a competitive participant. I knew I had to be far better than my opponents to win. In any disputable case they would've given preference to somebody else,” Pyotr Tyushkevich said.

Of course, it always takes time to reach the top. The 22-year-old made his international debut in 2005, after becoming champion of Russia.

And he hasn't lost a single domestic event since. However, in Pyotr's case, the best way to do something well is first to enjoy doing it.

“Kite surfing is a lifestyle for me. A pleasure and a job that makes me happy. Could I dream of anything better? I'm not only focused on results or titles. First of all, I enjoy it very much,” he said.

Pyotr Tyushkevich
“He's got very good technical skills and fitness. He trains and competes a lot. He was keen to get into the world top ten during his first international season, and became the world champion four years later. He's very talented. That's the best way to explain his success,” Aleksey Kashin, Pyotr’s coach, said.

Coming from Saint Petersburg, Pyotr hardly has time to spend more than a few weeks a year in his home town.

Traveling all over the globe for the World Cup, he lives and fine tunes his skills in Mauritius.

After his stunning achievements, the young star is far from calming down and resting on his laurels.

The next step is to share his experience with his compatriots and boost the Russian contingent in kite surfing.

“Next season I'm going to contribute to Russian kite surfing development and focus on domestic events. I was not able to do so before, as the World Cup and Russian events are often held at the same time… But now I can afford to do this. I hope it will help other Russian sportsmen improve their skills enough to join me at the World Cup in future. Maybe, even next summer,” Tyushkevich said.

So with one kite surfing world champion already, and his help in promoting the sport, Russia has every reason to expect a new wave of extreme sports hopefuls in the very, very near future.