WATER SPORTS: WHILE his mates turn out for football and rugby teams every weekend, Anthony Burgess travels to Oxford to hone his skills on a jet ski.
Muddy fields hold no lure for the 15-year-old who prefers to dazzle spectators with incredible tricks on the water. A trip to try the sport just two years ago fuelled a burning ambition.
Now the Malbank School pupil has become the British Jet Sports Racing Association (JSRA) junior freestyle champion in his first year of competition.
Anthony, who lives at The Broadway, Nantwich, said jet skiing has become an obsession.
'My dad Pete, and brothers Craig and Lee, have enjoyed jet skiing and my dad took me to Preston to try it out,' he said.
'I liked it and soon realised I was good at the tricks. I did a lot of practising and then entered the JSRA Freestyle competition at the start of the year.
'I never expected to do so well but it is a fantastic feeling to be a national champion. I am already looking forward to next season.'
He added: 'My mates play football and rugby. They are interested in what I do, they wish me good luck and congratulate me when I do well, but it is just normal for them so they don't get too excited any more.'
Freestyle jet skiing is not like racing. Each rider has to put together a two-minute routine of tricks which a panel of judges gives a score for different aspects.
They include difficulty of tricks, success of tricks, crowd appreciation, smoothness and individuality.
Anthony shows off skills like barrel rolls, somersaults, aerial turns, sub-marine dives and handstands to bring crowds of more than 1,000 to their feet at different events throughout the season.
The youngster, who has just begun studying for his GCSE exams, achieved a fifth place finish in the overall JSRA competition, along with his victory in the U16 class.
Anthony, who travels to either Oxford or Preston to practise every weekend where he spends a minimum of five hours on the water, stopping only to refuel, is ready for the new season, next May.
He said: 'I do get really nervous before a big event but it helps to get the adrenalin pumping. The routine I have used this year has served me well but I want an even better one for next season, and I will practise until it is perfect.
'I aim to win the overall competition next year but it will be tough. Becoming an overall champion in the freestyle will earn me a place representing Britain at the World Finals, at Lake Havasu in Arizona, USA, next year.'
He added: 'It is possible to forge a career in jet skiing and that is my aim. It is very expensive and my dad and sponsors have been brilliant, so I just have to put the work in.'
Sponsored by H20 Leisure Sports, at Leisure Lakes near Southport, and Queenford Jetski, near Oxford, Anthony is also a member of the British Freestyle Display Team, and this year has been in displays at the Southampton Sportsboat and Rib Show, The RYA Powerboat Festival at Cardiff and at the Jet Bou Festival on the island of Ibiza.