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The Inertia

Some bristle at his enthusiasm. Others question his motives. But there’s really no need. Kai Lenny is out for one thing when he’s at play on the ocean: fun. And that in itself is inspiring enough. On cue, this is what he calls “downwind hydro foiling” or paddling a standup board, downwind surfing open-ocean swell with a foil attached to his board. Let us explain.

Downwind paddling is one of the true joys of ocean paddling—be it SUP, traditional paddleboard, canoe or surf ski. It’s considered a pure way to traverse Poseidon’s wilderness, traveling from point A to point B with the wind, surfing big, open-ocean bumps: no lineups, no hassle, just pure unadulterated fun.

But Kai Lenny, being Kai Lenny, is always looking to push it to the next level. So he’s been messing with a foil on his standup board, having long been a practitioner of the difficult art after watching his heroes like Dave Kalama and Laird Hamilton have at it. But paddling on a foil is that much more difficult. You have to get up to speed–there is no help from a jetski–and the balance required is next level. But Lenny makes it look pretty easy. And as is his usual, he makes it look damn fun, too.


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