A SOUTHEND kitesurfer has died in a freak accident.

Mark Paxton suffered severe injuries when he collided with the sea wall at Ray Creek, Point Clear, Clacton, while out kitesurfing on Sunday morning.

Lifeboat crews and paramedics were called to the scene and about 11am and Mr Paxton was later pronounced dead, despite an hour-long battle to save him.

Simon Mudd, 52, a kitesurfing instructor at the Essex Kite Surf School, in Blackgate Road, Shoebury, and chairman of the Essex Kitesurfers’ Club, said the death had shocked the community.

He said: “Mark’s got a lot of friends in the area and was kitesurfing down here pretty much every weekend. He was out in Clacton on a trip with some other guys from Southend.

“He was such a lovely guy and such a competent kitesurfer that I think everyone’s in shock. There are accidents here and a few near-misses, but someone losing their life in the sport you all love is fairly traumatic.

“Anyone losing their life is tragic but he was such a well-known person at the beach, it’s going to hit everyone a lot harder.”

Dave Ursell, a kitesurfing instructor who runs Clacton-based Push Kiting, insisted the tragic incident was not related to the strong winds.

He said: “We can go out in very strong winds, even stronger than it was on Sunday. We have appropriate equipment for different types of weather.

“He was a very experienced and capable kitesurfer. This was just an unfortunate and horrible accident.”

Tributes have also poured in for Mark on kitesurfing forums.

One friend, who did not want to be named, said: “The medical staff on site did everything they could. The compassion and dignity they treated the situation with was outstanding.

“The members of the public who assisted and comforted us as this was going on reminds me that there are so many good people in this world.

“Those who knew Mark will remember him for his love of blasting away the hours on his board.

“This has hit all of his friends and especially his family very hard.”