Surfing all-rounder Kai Lenny hits the waves Hawaiian Kai Lenny is like a surfing jack-of-all-trades. Surfing, windsurfing, stand-up paddling, hydro foiling – the versatility of his talent knows no bounds. In PARADIGM LOST, the 25-year-old multisportsman upends the international surfing scene and its paradigms. Total surf action that compels you to get on and ride.
The Hawaiian is the face of this year’s International OCEAN FILM TOUR. Born on Maui in 1992, he caused a stir when he hit the waves off Ho’okipa when he was just a little kid. By now the 25-year-old ups his game in the international surfing scene and challenges its paradigms with his versatile talent.
Born into a surfer’s paradise, what is your first memory of the ocean?
I am so fortunate to have been born and raised on Maui. Without a doubt it’s a paradise and my earliest memories were going down to the beach every afternoon with my parents and playing in the water on body boards and surfboards. When I got older I began surfing, kitesurfing and doing other sports. But my earliest memory of surfing was when I was four years old on the South Shore during a beautiful picturesque day. My parents were on the outer reef. I grabbed a long board from the beach, paddled down a hundred yards and caught the first wave on my own. It was so awesome! I’m still chasing that feeling of catching my first wave. Robby Naish is an important figure in your life.
What is your connection with him and what is the most important lesson you learned from him?
Robby is without a doubt one of the biggest influences in my life. I wanted to mold myself to be the next generation of what he accomplished in windsurfing and kiteboarding. What I really learned from him is to never have a big head, stay humble, stay dedicated to your goals and try to figure out, how to do it as long as you can, because it is the best lifestyle in the world in my opinion. Kai, you’re the ultimate waterman when it comes to versatility.
Windsurfing, SUP, Foiling, surfing and big wave. How do you decide which board to pick up each morning?
My favorite thing in the world is to just ride waves. I really enjoy the feeling of gliding on this physical energy. The way I decide what sports I’m going to do is purely based on the conditions. When I go to the beach, I take a look at the conditions and decide what board to pick up. For example, if it’s really windy, I go kitesurfing or windsurfing. If the waves are really big or really small, I have equipment covered for that too. At the end of the day it’s pretty darn easy – just having to look what’s in front of you and the answer is always there.
Surfing has been a highly commercial and internationally competitive sport for some time. How do you walk the line between a professional athlete career and simply enjoying the ocean?
The best part about being a professional surfer is this: When the event ends, the first thing you want to do is go back out on the water. I think surfing is one of the few sports, that allows you to keep at it as much as you can, even when your competitive career is over. During the off-season you do the same as during the season. As long as you keep it in perspective and fun you can’t go wrong. I love competing and it only helps to elevate my level, when I go freesurf.
For PARADIGM LOST you joined forces with John DeCesare to make a film about your journey. How did this project come about, what was your role in the making of this film and what is the biggest reward for you personally?
I’m so fortunate to work with such talented people, who are so passionate about what they do: Capturing the highest quality footage of action sports. We have been filming for a couple of years and eventually we had enough great footage and a story behind it, so we could make something unique and exceptional. My biggest take away from the film was learning more about myself since I spent so much time reviewing footage and seeing myself from a third person perspective. It has really helped in the development of myself and where I want to go.
What is next for you? How does your ocean year 2018 look like?
Every year the goal is the same, which is to become a multi sport world champion. Innovate and create new ways to ride waves. And most of all to have fun living every day to my absolute fullest. For sure I have goals to to help me reach those ultimate dreams but those come up at random and I have to stay adaptable.