Liberty High School sophomore Hayden Item won the world championship in the X2 Open class at the International Jet Sports Boating Association World Finals that took place at Lake Havasu, Arizona, earlier this month.
Competitors from 34 countries came to test their skill in 55 classes of the sport at the event.
Hayden's family ascribed the winning of his World Champion title at such a young age to his ambition and the strong support of sponsors, mentors and family. Hayden first purchased an X2 Jet Ski with money he raised by mowing lawns to pursue his ambition.
Hayden began his racing career at the age of 12.
"Jim Lambert’s Diablo Jet Ski Association was running a night race out at Mossdale Quarry,” he said. “It was a shoot-out between the North and South. The moment those Jet Skis took off from the starting line, I was hooked!”
In his first year of racing, he secured the support of Advanced Medical & Safety, AquaNutz and RHAAS Products.
The team helped to get Hayden to 11th place in the world rankings in 2016 drawing upon his raw talent, hours of practice and wrenching on the motor with his dad, Eric.
In 2017, Hayden was able to rise to sixth place with the addition of TNT Performance as a sponsor. A custom pipe and a lot of modifications made his boat a true world contender, his family pointed out.
The coaching and encouragement imparted to him by his mentors Doug Wolff, Tim Tynan and Danny Ortega were critical to his success.
“I really appreciate all the love and support from my family, mentors and sponsors,” Hayden said. “This year, TNT Performance took my ski to a world class level. My newest sponsors, Prowatercraft Racing and JetTribe, helped my ski hook up better in the water and helped my gear be that of a true competitor. Racing is such fun and a family-friendly sport.”