Senior Editor

According to his Instagram account, Kai Lenny completed a 50-mile-crossing between the islands of Hawai’i (the Big Island) and Maui this week using only a shortboard and foil.
And without help from a motor. Lenny has developed a crazy technique where he takes off prone on downwind, open-ocean bump, paddling into the swell, then popping up and riding with the help of a foil. Until now, he’s mostly worked on the technique on his home downwind run that starts at Maliko Gulch on Maui’s north shore.

“The longest Hydrofoil downwinder I’ve done so far,” he said on his account. “With the longest swells I’ve ridden so far. Fifty miles on the foil during my first crossing of the Alenuihāhā Channel (Hawai’i island to Maui).”

Manufactured foils have become more popular lately–mostly since Lenny introduced the concept–and have started to show up on SUPs and even shortboards. They allow riders to surf extremely small waves, helping them to milk every bit of energy out of even the smallest of swell. They’re kind of a bitch to balance on, even though Lenny makes it look easy. Check out the technique:

It sounds as though this was a Red Bull-sponsored stunt, which means things are fairly tight-lipped. Island to island is about 30 miles but that doesn’t take into account where he started and finished, which may add miles to the actual channel distance. This is another first for Lenny who’s racking up a number of innovative accomplishments that pundits have a hard time putting into context. But Lenny is obviously used to it. His vast athletic talent is generally difficult for most people to get their heads around.

Editor’s Note: Kai Lenny is crossing the channels of the Hawaiian Islands as part of his “downwind challenge,” cleaning up the coastlines with local communities as he goes. Read more here.


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