Feats of heroism aren’t exactly a new thing for Hawaiian waterman Kai Lenny. He’s a six-time standup paddle world champion. He’s the current M2O title and record holder for the fastest SUP crossing of the Channel of Bones. He stands among the baddest of big-wave surfers and he’s remarkably talented with just about every oceanic boardsport known to man. Bundle all that up and you’d be hard-pressed to argue against Lenny’s status as a Hawaiian hero.
But perhaps his most important act of heroism, for the environment at least, took place earlier this month with his Statewide Cleanup initiative—a project in which Lenny completed four major Hawaiian crossings using a combination of SUP, foil and kiteboard to raise awareness about and help clean up plastic pollution in the islands. Working with local volunteers and his sponsor, Red Bull, alongside the environmental organizations Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and The 5 Gyres Institute, Lenny staged the biggest statewide beach cleanup Hawaii has ever known with trash collection sessions staged on each island he visited throughout the tour. And what’s more? Also along the way, Kai beat his fastest time for the Kaiwi Channel crossing (4:07, the current world record for a SUP crossing of the channel) on his SUP foilboard for a new record of 3:26.
Heroic? We’d say so.