Kai Lenny shows Steve Aoki how to ride a hydrofoil surfboard

On paper, big wave surfer Kai Lenny and superstar DJ Steve Aoki don’t appear to have a lot in common. But both men have left significant marks on their chosen professions, with Lenny winning major championships for stand-up paddleboarding and kiteboarding, while Aoki is recognized as one of the most talented and innovative DJs working today. The duo recently got together so that Lenny could introduce Aoki to another one of his aquatic passions — hydrofoil surfing.

In the video above, Aoki traveled to Maui to visit Lenny, who took him hydrofoil surfing for the first time. The pair headed out onto the water, where the pro surfer towed the DJ behind him on a jet ski. After a couple of practice runs, Aoki was off and running, riding the board like a pro.

In much the same way that a hydrofoil attached to a boat increases speed by lifting the craft out of the water, the same principle applies to surfboards equipped with a hydrofoil too. Surfers of all skill levels are discovering that by converting to a hydrofoil board, they are achieving faster speeds, allowing an ordinary wave to become much more challenging and interesting.

Iker Basterretxea / Red Bull Content Pool

That same effect is amplified all the more when they ride larger waves. Lenny learned this all too well earlier this year, when he managed to ride his hydrofoil surfboard for more than 50 miles, crossing the Alenuihaha channel that connects the Big Island to Maui in Hawaii. Those kinds of feats simply aren’t possible on a traditional surfboard.

A number of big name surfers — including the legendary Laird Hamilton — feel that hydrofoil boards are the future of the sport. For many, these boards are viewed as the great equalizer, turning average waves into something that is far more surfable. More importantly, they allow riders to chain multiple waves together, making it possible to surf further and longer without stopping.

Judging from the video, it seems safe to say that Lenny made a convert out of Aoki, who looks like he was thoroughly enjoying the experience. Whether or not the mainstream surf crowd will flock to the hydrofoil movement remains to be seen, however.

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