Please note that his gear changes all the time. This is as accurate as possible at the time of publishing: 27/10/2019.
Let’s start with the board. Kai’s is custom board from KT, but the the closest off-the-shelf board is a ‘Drifter Pro Compact’, designed and made by KT Surfing in Maui, Hawaii. It’s on trend – short and stubby but with a high volume (relative to its size). The Drifter Pro Compact comes in 30, 35 and 40L volumes so all the bases are covered no matter what size you are. Kai uses the super basic Tyrant Footstrap from Dakine which are fairly wide and allow a large range of movement for easier board manouverability – these sit on top of the custom graphic KT Surf deckpad.
Foil wise, Kai was on the Kai 120 GoFoil for a long time. They’re the bright red wings that are reknown for being super-light and are the most popular foil at the moment on the beaches in Hawaii. However, Kai is currently using a wing from The Hydofoil Company – a outfit that his brother, Ridge Lenny, founded with Carlos Merino and has since been taken under the wing of the mass-manufacturers, MFC (Maui Fin Company). Depending on the conditions Kai looks to be using either the ‘fw1400‘ or the ‘fw1600‘ front wing with the stock MFC fuselage and the shorter MFC Hydros M70 70cm mast.
Now for the easy bit. Kai uses the off-the-shelf Wasp V1 from Ozone, albeit with custom graphics to incorporate his sponsors into the canopy. The Wasp, much like it’s kiteboarding siblings, is light. It’s also quite a stiff wing and is at the lower-aspect end of the spectrum, making it an easy wing to keep out of the water aswell as being a bit gruntier than most.
There you have it: everything the WingSurf whisperer uses, from Foil to Footstrap! It goes without saying that this is a more performance orientated set-up, however, the MFC wing is nothing like a viscious kite foil racing wing and the Wasp V1 is very usable. The only element that is truly pro-level is the board. It’s small volume makes waterstarts much trickier, but once you’re up the benefits are immediately obvious: More manoeuvrable. Less clunky. Easier to rocket up into the sky…
Want to see it all in action? Watch Kai’s latest WingSurf video here
WSW is a hub of useful equipment and technique features / videos for wingsurf and other hydrofoil related board sports.