Kyle Tate Arrested After Allegedly Pulling a Gun on Three Young Fishermen

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Kyle Tate arrested after allegedly pulling a gun on young fishermen

Tate was arrested in Brevard County on April 14, 2024.

By Jack Burden


Kyle Tate, the former over-45 world slalom champion, made headlines last month after allegedly pulling a gun on three young fishermen, aged 7, 10, and 15, whom he found fishing at Stillwater Lakes, where he serves as the president of the Homeowners Association (HOA).

Tate was arrested on felony charges of criminal mischief and grand theft following the incident. He is accused of approaching the young fishermen while brandishing a shotgun and confiscating one of their cell phones, which has not been recovered. Additionally, he is alleged to have “maliciously” damaged their fishing equipment. Tate, a practicing lawyer himself, was released on bail and now awaits trial.

The 56-year-old Floridian has consistently found himself at the center of controversy in recent years. He has been one of the most vocal critics of Nate Smith, particularly in the lead up to Smith’s SafeSport suspension for alleged sexual misconduct. In 2018, Tate filed a stalking petition against both Nate and Kevin Smith, Nate’s father (both denied before hearing), and in 2021, he and his wife Brenda Nichols Tate filed a lawsuit against USA Water Ski and Wake Sports for alleged retaliatory actions taken by the organization.

Despite these controversies, Tate remains on the Board of Trustees of the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation (USA-WWF), where his wife was recently appointed President. The Kyle P. Tate scholarship, established in 2022, awards $5,000 annually to a male college student who demonstrates excellence in academics, athletics, leadership, and volunteerism. The Tate Law Firm proudly sponsors the recently launched collegiate grant program.

It is difficult to reconcile the image of a man who is, on the one hand, charged with threatening a 7-year-old with a shotgun while, on the other hand, is championing the cause of youth water skiing. Tate is a lifelong devotee of the sport, who showed promise in his youth, winning a collegiate national slalom title and competing in several professional tournaments before attending law school. In his later years, he became one of the mainstays on the Nautique Big Dawg World Tour, finding a second wind as a senior competitor and culminating in an over-45 world title at the 2018 Senior Worlds.

However, Tate has been a polarizing figure in the sport for many years. His efforts to bring down Smith appeared deeply personal, as he shared on an episode of the Ski With Wade podcast, stemming from a traumatic childhood experience of being sexually victimized by a coach. This latest incident appears to be the actions of a man at his wit’s end. Those who remain sympathetic to Tate and his many crusades will struggle to reconcile this, and questions must be raised about the prudence of having this man associated with the charitable arm of American water skiing.

Update (5/5/2024): In a public statement, Nichols Tate has claimed that the incident involved an adult trespasser and that this, and other reports in the media, are missing key details that will be revealed at a later date.