Skip to main content

Watch Kai Lenny and Jaime O’Brien hydrofoil big waves at Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline

Kai Lenny hydrofoil
Off the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii there’s a place called Banzai Pipeline, which is legendary among top surfers the world over. In fact, they come from just about every corner of the globe looking to ride the Pipeline’s big waves and near-perfect barrels. The place isn’t for the inexperienced or faint of heart, but for those up to the challenge it is one of the top surfing destinations found anywhere on the planet.

That’s exactly why pro surfers Kai Lenny and Jamie O’Brien recently made the pilgrimage to those hallowed waters, setting their sights specifically on a place called the Third Reef. But unlike most surfers who venture into the Pipeline, they didn’t come to ride it on just any old surfboard. Instead, they came to see how a hydrofoil board performed on those wild waves, and lucky for us, they caught the entire experience in the video below.

Hydrofoil boards are quickly becoming a popular alternative to traditional surfboards, in large part because they are beginner-friendly and can ride just about any kind of wave — even those that are less than impressive. A hydrofoil board looks like a standard surfboard in most ways, with one important difference: It has a long pole connect to the bottom that is affixed to a wing that sits beneath the surface of the water. When the surfer catches a wave and starts to move, just like the wing of an aircraft, the hydrofoil wing creates lift, raising the board — and the surfer — out of the water. The result is improved speed and maneuverability.

Lenny has been an advocate for hydrofoil boards  for some time. The big-wave surfer is drawn to this unique experience that allows him to turn mediocre waves into incredibly fun rides. On top of that, a hydrofoil has an incredibly long range, allowing a surfer to skip from wave to wave in an endless fashion. This has allowed Lenny to pull off such stunts as racing a sailboat, ride a river in Idaho, and ride for 50 miles between two islands in Hawaii.

These feats have been turning heads and leaving other surfers to wonder if hydrofoils are the future of the sport.

Editors' Recommendations