Kai Lenny: interesting facts about the Hawaiian waterman

February 3, 2020 | Surfing
Kai Lenny: the Hawaiian is one of the most talented watermen in the world | Photo: Pompermeyer/Red Bull

Kai Lenny is widely regarded as one of the world's most accomplished and complete watermen.

The Maui-born athlete often credits windsurfing for helping him excel in big wave surfing, bodysurfing, hydrofoil surfing, kitesurfing, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), prone paddling, wing surfing, and canoeing.

In other words, when Lenny is in the water, we can inevitably expect him to deliver stunning performances in extreme ocean conditions, rivers, bays, lakes, and surf pools.

The all-round watersports fanatic enjoys stepping outside of his comfort zone - he takes high risks and expects high rewards.

Kai Lenny is a natural-born competitor, but also a methodical, disciplined, and highly organized professional.

The Hawaiian carefully maintains and selects his equipment, loves testing new shapes, and always watches a lot of videos before paddling out at new surf spots.

Kai is has a busy agenda, but when he is not chasing swells, the waterman dedicates his time to raising awareness about plastic pollution in the ocean and the dangers of microplastics.

Lenny also supports and sponsors children's events and several charitable projects.

The regular-footer is known for being a charismatic, friendly, polite, gentle, positive, and warm person, and his signature smile lights up everyone's mood.

Let's take a look at Kai Lenny's most important bio and career details.

The Personal Profile

1. Kai Lenny was born on October 8, 1992, in Paia, Maui, Hawaii;

2. His first name has several meanings: In Hawaiian, it means "sea." In Sierra Leone, it translates to "King of Kings," and in the Frisian language, Kai means "warrior";

3. Kai's parents - Martin, a real estate professional, and Paula, a physician - are both ocean enthusiasts who, after marrying, moved to Hawaii in 1985 to surf, windsurf, live near the water, and raise a family;

4. Before working in real estate, Martin Lenny managed one of the most successful restaurants on Maui - Mama's Fish House;

5. Kai has a younger brother named Ridge;

6. Lenny is 5'9" and weighs between 145 to 155 pounds (65 to 70 kilograms);

7. The tanned Hawaiian learned to windsurf at six, surf at seven, and kite surf at nine;

8. Kai won his first title aged 13;

Jaws: Kai Lenny negotiates a safe exit with a behemoth wave | Photo: Pompermayer/WSL

9. Robby Naish (windsurfing), Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama and Rush Randle (big wave surfing) are his mentors and inspiring leaders;

10. Kai foiled for the first time at nine years old equipped with same ski boots and technology used by the legendary "Strapped Crew";

11. Hamilton introduced Kai Lenny to Jaws when he was 16 years old;

12. Kai Lenny's diet consists of consuming large intakes of calorie-rich food, including eggs with cheese, avocado toasts, mahi-mahi, brown rice, quinoa, lentils, salads, and burritos;

13. The Hawaiian waterman doesn't smoke or drink;

14. Kai Lenny is currently dating Molly Payne. The couple has already been seen tandem surfing at the Surf Ranch and tandem foiling in open ocean;

15. Lenny's favorite wave is Jaws/Peahi;

16. What about nicknames? Laird Hamilton calls Lenny the "Renaissance Kid," but he is also known as "Aquaman";

17. Kai Lenny is on Facebook (@kai.lenny), Instagram (@kai_lenny), Twitter (@kai_lenny), and YouTube (@kaischoolwork);

Kai Lenny: riding his hydrofoil surfboard at New York's Hudson River | Photo: Lieberman/Red Bull

The Waterman's Career

1. Kai Lenny is an eight-time stand-up paddleboarding champion and conquered the world's first Stand Up World Tour in 2010 at the age of 18;

2. In September 2011, the Hawaiian challenged Maui's biggest swell in 15 years by riding waves with surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding and SUP boards from 6:30 am to 12:30 pm;

3. In May 2012, Lenny became the first windsurfer to cross Lake Michigan. The athlete completed his 56-mile goal in two hours and 30 minutes, starting at Sturgeon Bay and finishing in Frankfort at an average speed of 25 knots;

4. In August 2012, Kai Lenny introduced Pipeline veteran Jamie O'Brien to windsurfing;

5. In July 2013, Kai Lenny rode a kite in Maui wearing a men's business suit;

6. Immediately after, the waterman raced against Oracle Team USA's 72-foot, $15 million-catamaran in San Francisco;

7. Kai Lenny is a hydrofoil surfing pioneer. He was one of the first wave riders to self-propel himself into a wave, ride it, kick out, pump his foiling gear back out to sea, and then catch another wave;

8. Kai Lenny holds the record for the best time (2h29m38s) in the men's foil division of the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships (M2O);

9. In September 2016, Kai Lenny opened a new chapter in the history of surfing. He rode a 5'6'' foil surfboard in open ocean swells for several miles, off the coast of Maui, in Hawaii;

10. For each session at Jaws, Kai Lenny has to invest thousands of dollars on a boat, jet ski drivers, photographer, and videographers;

11. In April 2017, Kai Lenny crossed all channels of the Hawaiian Islands on a foil surfboard, kiteboards, and SUP boards to raise awareness of plastic pollution;

12. In April 2017, the Hawaiian became one of the first to athletes to ride a foil bodyboard;

13. Kai's favorite quote is from Brian Keaulana. The legendary waterman and lifeguard from Makaha once said: "Don't define me by the equipment I use, but how I use it!";

14. In July 2017, Lenny got barreled on a huge wave and won the Puerto Escondido Challenge, in Mexico. It was his first victory in a World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) event;

15. In September 2018, Kai rode his hydrofoil over the water of New York's Hudson River;

16. In December 2018, the water sportsman landed one of the biggest floaters ever seen in surfing. Lenny airdropped from the top of a giant Jaws wave and survived the impact;

17. In May 2019, the Hawaiian won the WSL Men's XXL Biggest Wave Award and the Men's Overall Performance Award;

18. Also in 2019, Kai Lenny was inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame and named Surf Industry Manufacturers Association's Waterman of the Year;

19. The Mauian's favorite thing in the world is riding a wave, and his ultimate goal is to clinch a Big Wave Tour title;

20. Lenny says that heavy water stand-up paddleboard racing is the most demanding water sports discipline he competes in;

21. On February 11, 2020, the Hawaiian won "Men's Wave of the Day" and "Team Champions" trophy at the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge, at Praia do Norte;

22. Lenny also won "Biggest Wave" and "Performance of the Year" at the 2020 Big Wave Awards;

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