I would like to say how proud I am of Kai Lenny for winning the wave riding stand up world title. I had a chance to work with him a little bit on his wave riding technique and style prior to the event, so like any self respecting coach, I would like to take more credit than I am certainly due. The problem with trying to claim any credit is that the kid is so talented. But his success really comes from his work ethic and passion for the water in general.
As some people know from being in or around sports for a long time, there are basically three types of athletes:
- Naturally gifted with no work ethic
- Great work ethic and moderate talent
- Naturally gifted and great work ethic.
The later are the rare ones like Kobe, Micheal, Tiger, Kelly, Lance or any of the truly dominate athletes. Kai is a mix of 2 and 3 with a lot of intelligence thrown in. I’ve seen a couple of kids come along in surfing that might have had a smidgen more raw talent, but they usually end up overdosing on some kind of drug as soon as they experience some success.
Kai is way to smart and grounded to ever let that happen. His drive and dedication to the water is unmatched by anyone his age, at least that I’ve seen, and the support and guidance that he has from his parents is going to be one of the most important factors to his success. He reminds me of a young me in a way but with a bit more talent and a lot more smarts, and shit, while I’m being honest lets throw in looks. He also possesses one other trait that is rare in kids these days, he’s polite and has respect for his elders. I’m very lucky to have a training partner like that because it not only keeps me young trying to keep up in the workouts, but it also keeps me on my toes out in the water, I’ve got to be on my game if I want to continue to spar with the champ.
Anyway, congratulations Kai!