THE family of kiteboarder Tom Hutchinson have paid tribute to him, and said he died doing what he loved the most in his beloved home waters.

Tom died at 52 on August 7 after sustaining fatal injuries while kiteboarding at Compton.

His brother Riff was on the beach when the accident happened and cared for him while he was bleeding profusely and in a coma, until the emergency services reached him.

Tom was born in Brighstone in 1967, and spent his childhood in the West Wight.

His love of the sea saw him leave school at 16 and become a deckhand on a luxury yacht in the Mediterranean.

He then delivered several yachts across the Atlantic, becoming a delivery skipper at 18. He decided to choose a niche career in yachting and specialised in rigging.

He took an apprenticeship and moved to San Diego in California to run a workshop servicing yachts competing in the America’s Cup.

The opportunity enabled him to get to know all the international contacts associated with the America’s Cup, which was established in Cowes in 1851.

These contacts proved invaluable when he established his own rigging company, Future Fibres, based in London.

He employed Riff and other Islanders, and the company was visited by Prince Charles, who was intrigued to see manufacturing taking place within the Square Mile, under the arches at Shoreditch.

When New Zealand won the America's Cup, Future Fibres transferred its business to Auckland to service the needs of the competing yachts.

Four years later, the whole operation transferred to Valencia where it continued to supply America’s Cup contestants, but also produced rigging for other campaigns.

His father Francis said: "Tom’s work took him all over the world, which suited his free-spirited, charismatic personality, and he made many life-long friends in the process.

"But the draw of the Island was always with him and he returned to his cliff-top cottage whenever he could to pursue his great love of kiteboarding in the Back of the Wight."

Tom leaves his father and brother, mother Johanna Farmer, and sister Frances.

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