Kai Lenny’s Wave Conquering Life and Metaverse Crash


The Strapped Crew also experimented with the first kitesurfing platforms, launching 60-foot antennas before most people even knew the sport existed; they more or less invented the foil-board, by cutting a hydrofoil from a strange machine called the Air Chair; and they were responsible for reviving the ancient Hawaiian practice of stand-up paddleboarding.

As unusual as the Strapped Crew was – there wasn’t a similar group of guys elsewhere on earth – to Lenny they were larger-than-life local heroes, “like the Avengers or the Justice League,” as he puts it. .

Lenny’s parents helped him emulate the Strapped Crew by acquiring a family jet ski for towed surf trips, hiring a competitive kitesurfer for family lessons, and purchasing one of the first foil boards.

Martin and Paula feared that Lenny would miss out on childhood. “He’s talking about fins, board development, sales,” Martin explained, referring to Lenny’s early teenage years. “We thought, ‘My God, he has to go out with kids his age.’ We were going to force him to go to a sleepover on a weekend and he was just like, ‘Daddy, I really don’t wanna go. All these kids do is play Nintendo. I prefer to windsurf with you guys.

This must have hurt Lenny’s social status further, as did the waning popularity of the Strapped Crew’s multi-sport approach in the early 2000s. As windsurfing, in particular, has lost its cultural cachet, the young water-plugged children in Maui have for the most part given up the sport.

“All the kids he learned to windsurf with,” said Martin, “they all just turned their backs and they all went surfing.”

Lenny, who never changed course at all except to the extent that his personal journey focused on relentless changes, gear and focus on competing, began to lose surfing contests to everyone’s benefit. these young specialists. In no time he had given up small wave surfing competitions.

By small wave surfing I mean just the old regular competitive surf, as in, not big waves surf. There is no sharp dividing line between the two disciplines, but regular competitive surfing, the kind practiced by Kelly Slater and all the other superstar surfers, usually occurs on waves less than 20 feet or so. The fact is that this type of competitive surfing was quickly becoming the main event in wind and wave sports by the 1990s. Lenny’s abandonment was therefore not without social cost.

“I saw him get fogged up all the time,” Martin said. “And I’m like ‘Kai, you know, you just wanna stick to a sport, maybe just surf?’ And he looked at me and said, ‘Why would I do that? Dad, the sports I play are so much fun. I don’t want to abandon them. ‘ The hazing got even worse, Martin recalls, when Lenny added SUP to his repertoire. “Oh, my God,” he said, “that was a big backlash. “

For a while, Lenny avoided negativity by homeschooling, traveling the world windsurfing and all of his other sports, and towing big waves at Jaws, just like Hamilton, his idol of ‘childhood. Lenny was in his late teens, however, in 2010 when other men and women at Jaws discovered how to paddle old-fashioned surfboards in waves bigger than conventional wisdom considered possible. Catching 60-footers with nothing but their own muscle power, this new crew from Maui has reignited the popularity of traditional big wave surfing.


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