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Surfer uses custom hydrofoil surfboard to cross Hawaii’s most dangerous waters

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To help clean the Hawaiian islands, big wave surfer Kai Lenny traversed 50 miles through the state's treacherous Alenuihaha channel on nothing but his hydrofoil surfboard.

Hawaiian big-wave surfer and all-around water athlete extraordinaire Kai Lenny pulled off an unprecedented feat this month, riding an impressive 50 miles on his unique hydrofoil surfboard. Lenny traversed a channel referred to as the Alenuihaha — a crossing which connects Hawaii’s Big Island to the island of Maui — regarded as one of the most dangerous stretches of open water on the planet. While the achievement itself is impressive, Lenny didn’t do it simply for fun but rather to kick off a massive statewide cleaning of each Hawaiian island.

Like hydrofoils found on boats — which lift the hull off the water to increase speed — Lenny’s surfboard hydrofoil props him a few feet above the ocean, almost giving off the appearance he’s riding a Back to the Future II-style hoverboard. Though the distance between the Big Island and Maui (along the Alenuihaha channel) registers at just 30 miles, the total distance covered accounts for Lenny’s actual trajectory which didn’t end up being a straight point-to-point journey.

“The longest hydrofoil downwinder I’ve done so far, with the longest swells I’ve ridden so far,” said Lenny via an Instagram post. “50 miles on the foil during my crossing of the Alenuihaha (Hawaii island to Maui).”

To get started on the course, Lenny received a small slingshot headstart from a group of Red Bull-affiliated rowers before embarking along the channel. As mentioned above, he completed the triumphant tour to satisfy the larger endeavor of cleaning up the Hawaiian islands. An effort he’s started with the help of Red Bull, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Surfrider, the Hawaii Wildlife Fund, and 5Gyres, Lenny not only plans to help clean but intends to travel between islands via his hydrofoil board.

Lenny documented his remarkable trek on his Instagram account, which is where the famous surfer figures to likely publish updates on future rides and cleaning efforts.