Kai Lenny Podcast Interview

Kai Lenny – A Candid Interview into the Mindset of Kai

Erik Antonson
Erik Antonson
May 10, 2016May 21, 2016

I’ve got endless ammunition to destroy guys with excitement – Kai Lenny

So lives Kai Lenny.  In a state of passion and excitement.  He’s a SUP surf world champ, a SUP race world champ, a kitesurfer, and one of the best big wave surfers on the planet.  He has transcended surfing into the mainstream world with sponsors like TAG Heuer, Red Bull and Nike.  And his instagram page is an inspirational photo essay.  But who is the real Kai?

Before I recorded with Kai, I told him I didn’t want to do the normal interview.  You can check youtube and find 20 interviews with Kai, his story.  I asked Kai if he’d have a deeper conversation about what motivates him, the pressures of global exposure, and living with debilitating passion (joke) — he was excited to participate.

I enjoyed getting to know Kai and think you will too.  Spend an hour and get to know the future of surfing, Kai Lenny.

Show Notes:

  • What does Kai see when he shows up at Jaws? What does he see that the rest of us don’t see? Tries to think creatively in big waves. Giant Canvas. Kai can sense the conditions.
  • How does Kai practice. Kai’s a product of his environment on Maui. New and exciting gets him going.
  • If Kai feels stale, he jumps over to another sport.
  • Kai wants to feel like he’s in a movie. Lives it better than most movies.
  • Loves watching Formula 1 and MotoGP. Brings those lessons back to racing paddle boards.
  • Life is about having fun.
  • Gets bored very easily.
  • Would rather be mentally stoked and physically drained than physically ready and mental flat.
  • Walks us through the massive airdrop at Jaws. You need that swagger. Match power with power. Energy coming out of his fingers. Use the fear. Mind slows things down when living in the moment… control of space and time. Inner dialogue.
  • Focusing on other people takes up the processing space in his head. Pure intentions.
  • Habit to prepare for surfing Jaws. Visualizing is an important as training. Not focusing on winning, but focusing on any possible scenario, so there’s no surprise. You can react faster.
  • SUP racing is the best training for big wave wipeouts. Big clouds underwater.
  • Passion is so deep in Kai that he has to curtail it when talking to other folks. Folks are interested but don’t get it. Finding people who share your passion.
  • If you want to fly with the eagles you’ve got to go to their nest. _ Martin Lenny
  • Self confidence is the commonality between Robby, Gerry, Laird, Kelly, Kalama… Belief in themselves. If you have self doubts you’re not on their level.
  • Taking little things, applying them… not copying. Take it and then find your own style. Most fun aspect about hanging out with them is it gives you a creative inspiration.
  • Takes from each them… Kelly, competitive focus. Kalama, be really good at everything. Have fun. Focused on details. Laird, spiritual approach to riding giant waves. Robby Naish, passion to be the best at his age.
  • People are sheep. Swayed easily. Surfing is a tribal sport.
  • Pressure coming back from his recent global exposure.
  • Why we’re here: Elevating ourselves and inspiring others.
  • Kai and the brand are the same. Never tried to be anything different. Only because he’s been himself that folks enjoy him and watching him.
  • Equal weight to volume… Best size to use a paddle. Windsurfing rails on standup. Paddle to eyebrows. It’s the style that hides it.
  • Body can’t keep up with spirit.


  • Brenda Ardern

    Finally got around to listening in to this – and using my notes as fuel for my own personal sport – hairdressing ! Doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it at your best ! I can only hope these tips will also subconsciously push my paddle surfing too ;0) great interview!

    • Erik -- PaddleWoo

      Thanks Brenda! It’s more about the process than the activity.

  • Michael Olsen

    Brilliant! You asked the right questions, Not may do that well. It obviously helps that Kai is a stud and lives his names sake; he is like the ocean unstoppable. Well, done! I really enjoyed the content and the direction you took with this piece.

  • Jason

    Had to google Kai Lenny Air Drop Jaws to see if I could find footage of some of what he was referring to ( crazier air drops since the infamous one in the SUP movie)…anyhoo here you go:

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