Kai Lenny Sticks Front Flip At Jaws, Smashes Ski On Rocks + Rescues A Town Engulfed In Flames - Stab Mag

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Kai Lenny Sticks Front Flip At Jaws, Smashes Ski On Rocks + Rescues A Town Engulfed In Flames

A real life superhero of sorts.

cinema // Mar 7, 2024
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In August 2023, Maui suffered the deadliest fires in modern US history. 

101 people perished in the blazes at Lahaina and Kula, and many locals are still in the process of picking up the pieces eight months down the track. A lot of the damage is unfathomable unless seen in the flesh. Just a sad site for many miles. 

Surfers from the region were leaders in the initial recovery effort – Kai Lenny, Matt Meola, Ian Walsh, Albee Layer… the list goes on. Many ordinary people too. But surfers, particularly those with a proclivity for surfing Jaws, might’ve just been the best accidental first responders, not the least for their nerve and cool under pressure, but their equipment as well. The skis, sleds, radios, the rest of it. Handy in dire times.

Maui’s rescue effort drew many parallels to the Northern NSW/QLD floods where surfers like Mikey Wright, Joel Parkinson, Bede Durbridge and others played critical roles in plucking the devastated from roofs of under-water houses. 

Remember: In just the right context, surfers are low-key action heroes. 

Typically, most Life of Kai episodes index heavily on high-BPM exploits – outrunning avalanches with Travis Rice, for example. Or the episode in which he went so fast on a foil he boiled water and had to redesign a new wing prototype. This episode has that too to a degree at the start with the breakdown of the Jaws water safety program, but it’s also got some genuinely moving moments of storytelling. 

“Our people have been voyaging for thousands of years. We know how to sail through a storm. We’re not sailing for a new destination now, we’re sailing for a rediscovery,” Hawaiian waterman Archie Kalepa musters from the verge of tears, referring to the tragedy on his doorstep. 

Powerful stuff. 

Check out Kai’s non-profit — Positively Kai Foundation. The organization inspires, encourages, and supports the next generation’s pursuit of their passions and ambitions in life, through positive experiences and lessons in and on the ocean. All donations go to the families affected by the Lahaina and Kula Fires.

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