Frames: Kai Bates
Photo: Greg Panas
Twenty-year-old Kai Bates has a flair that’s rare in the standup paddling world, bringing a quick and technical style to his waveriding. That flair comes from a diverse athletic background--the Australian started surfing (in Ulladulla) and skiing (at Mt. Hotham) when he was two, adding windsurfing to his watersports résumé later for good measure. "I try and get in the water everyday whether it's riding a soft top, body surfing or standup paddling," he says. "It all makes you better." Here, he uses his well-rounded skills to go vertical off the top of a Southern California peak.
Kai finished 15th on the 2014 Standup World Tour, and looks to be a serious threat to the top-10 in 2015. For more on Bates and other athletes on the SUWT, see SUP the mag’s coverage of the Standup World Tour, and stay tuned to the Waterman League for updates on the 2015 tour.
Bate’s studliness doesn’t end on the water. He’s also a charismatic and comedically-spoken young chap, which he displays candidly in SUP’s new lifestyle series, “Would You Rather?”