The Inertia Gear Editor
Meta foil session

Kai Lenny and Mark Zuckerberg enjoy a foil session in the “Metaverse.” Photo: Meta//YouTube Screenshot.

The Inertia

On rare occasions, surf news intertwines with the wider world and goes viral in the mainstream. Recently a decent bit of that “world surf news” has revolved around Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook (a.k.a. Meta), and his sometimes-awkward relationship with surfing.

Zuckerberg’s been spotted foiling with way too much sunscreen on as well as foiling with an American flag in tow, and been roasted by the internet for both. He’s also used surfing to promote Facebook’s “Meta” rebrand (below) with a simulation of himself and Kai Lenny foiling together in the Metaverse, which had many wondering about the possible friendship between the two.



Furthering those questions, most recently Zuck claimed he surfs 15-foot waves during a podcast with MIT researcher Lex Fridman (you can find that here) which had some on the internet wondering if Kai Lenny was lending a helping hand (or tow rope). The interview itself has received over 2.9 million views, as well as the attention of Kook of the Day, where commenters had a field day.

“Well, I train hard,” Zuckerberg said in the pod. “If I’m gonna go out to like a fifteen-foot wave, I’ll make sure we’ve got the right safety gear, and that I’m used to that spot and all that stuff. But you know, you might take some head blows along the way.” The comments created a lot of online banter, to say the least, with some confirming Zuckerberg’s claims (below). In an effort to do away with internet hearsay, I got Kai Lenny on the phone to hear more about his exploits with Zuckerberg, and if he’s ever towed him into 15-foot waves, or any waves at all.


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Kai, of course, transcends surfing. So it’s only natural for him to draw the attention of a Mark Zuckerberg, who is obsessed with surfing and surf culture. But did he actually tow surf with Mark Zuckerberg? The answer? No.

“I’ve hung out with Mark a couple of times, but I’ve never towed with him,” Kai told me. But he did confirm that, while he’s not the one who did it with Mark, it’s highly likely that the rumors of Zuckerberg surfing 15-footers are true. “I know he’s doing some big-wave tow foiling over on Kauai,” Kai said. “Relatively big, like 15-foot waves, which on a foil is pretty big. But he’s doing it with the Kauai crew over there. I’ve never towed on Kauai, just done foil downwinders.”

We dove into Kai’s relationship with the social media mogul.

“I often think he gets a worse rep than he deserves,” said Kai. “I think it’s just ironic sometimes, people complain and hating on someone while using their platform… In my experience, he’s been nothing but kind. His family is super cool and if you ask him he could care less. He’s just like ‘Oh yeah, I’m a public figure that’s about what you’d expect,’ and I’m like ‘Wow man, that’s a lot of heat you’re always carrying around.’ He can really do no right.”

mark zuckerberg american flag

The Zuck can apparently do no right… Photo: Mark Zuckerberg//Instagram.

Kai Lenny has hung out with plenty of luminaries and says that when he met Zuck, it changed his view.

“To me, it grounds him that he wants to do other water sports and be active…” Kai said. “When I first had the opportunity to meet him, I saw it as one of those things where, if you have an opportunity to meet someone very significant in history, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to because at least you’d have the opportunity to look them in the eyes and see who they really are… And when I got to meet him, I was surprised because he’s really nice and he does give back a lot more than people give him credit for. He was really cool, and I’ve met a lot of people who are not cool and have done far less with their lives, so I was pleasantly surprised. He just seemed like somebody that was really into doing watersports, and we never really talked about anything but the kind of surf talk that one might have with your buddies. So I had a great experience hanging out with him, and from my perspective, he’s just a really nice guy.”




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