Kai Lenny

Kai Lenny’s top idols

Photo above: Brian Bielmann/Red Bull Content Pool

Hawaiian stand up paddleboard star Kai Lenny competed in The Ultimate Waterman in New Zealand recently - now he talks about his top idols there.

The unique new concept of The Ultimate Waterman saw eight elite athletes compete against each other in six different surf disciplines – shortboard, longboard and big wave surfing, waka ama, stand up paddleboard endurance and stand up paddleboard surfing. The Red Bulletin asked Lenny to pick his heroes in the six different disciplines.

Kai Lenny

Kai Lenny warms up for the Kai vs Oracle event in San Francisco Bay, San Francisco, CA, USA, 15 July 2013.

© Keith Carlsen / Red Bull Content Pool

Shortboard surfing

Kelly Slater is someone who I take great inspiration from because of his ability to transcend his surfing and competitive prowess through so many generations. To be that adaptable is amazing.”

Kelly Slater

Kelly Slater performs in Torquay, Australia on April 3, 2015

© Trevor Moran / Red Bull Content Pool

Longboard Surfing

“I have always loved Duane Desoto’s approach to high performance longboarding. He mixes his power and shortboard style into classic longboard moments in critical conditions!”

Duane Desoto…

… was born in 1977 in Hawaii and quickly became a longboard pioneer, taking part in championships when he was just 4 years old 

SUP Endurance

Danny Ching is a machine when it comes to long hard grueling races. It’s very hard to beat him when the water is flat and the course is long. He’s got perfect form and technique which allows him to go the distance easier than most.”

Danny Ching…

… has solidified himself as the premier paddle sports athlete in Southern California

SUP Waveriding

“I would say growing up I always liked Dave Kalama’s approach to a wave. He would drive off the bottom like he was doing a windsurfing bottom turn and come of the top with the power of a tank’s shockwave. Boom!”

Dave Kalama…

… has already won Windsurfing World Championships as well as Paddleboard World Championships

Waka Ama

Kai Bartlett is my favorite OC-1 paddler. I recall going for a downwind coast run and seeing him fly through the ocean with little to no effort passing people as if they were standing still. It was so cool because everyone else looked like they working their butts off!”

Kai Bartlett…

… gets some valuable relaxation time in with Kai Lenny 

Tow-in Surfing

“Watching Laird Hamilton ride Peahi was just plain insane. He was on such another level that nobody seemed to come close to his turning ability and speed. Plus he was always on the biggest wave.”

Laird Hamilton…

… dropped into Tahiti’s Teahupoʻo break on the morning of August 17, 2000- this firmly established him as a surfing great


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