Podcast Podcast, Episode 5: Big ideas from big wave surfer Kai Lenny


Kai Lenny opens up about his natural affinity for the ocean and what it feels like to be a professional surfer.

The Edge is a series of conversations with extraordinary people operating at the edge of possibility. It’s about the thin line between taking part and tipping into victory; it’s about what gives us our edge and what we can do to go beyond it.

Our next guest is Kai Lenny, a true Waterman born and raised on the island of Maui, with a passion for surf and watersports of all kinds.

With your host Teo Van Den Broeke, the Style Director of British GQ, in our 45 minute full episode we dive deep with pro surfer and eight-time SUP World Champion Kai Lenny. Named after the Hawaiian word for “ocean,” Kai has an affinity for water that is only natural. He opens up about being the product of his environment and wanting to protect that environment, as well as what it feels like to be a professional surfer who travels the world catching big, beautiful waves.

Listen to the full conversation by searching for ‘The Edge TAG Heuer’ wherever you get your podcasts:

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Our aim? To be the monthly source of the fuel you need to leave your limits in the dust.

Attention: only have a minute?

Here are a few snippets to put you on the starting line and get the engines revving. Jump right in! But don’t forget to subscribe to our Podcast so you can listen to the full, unfiltered episode later.

There’s no place like home

Within the surfing world, Hawaii’s really one of the best places on the planet for waves. And so to have one of the best big waves on the entire planet in my backyard, it’s just a huge advantage.”

Intersport inspiration

I’m heavily influenced by big wave riding like snowboarding, but also sports like Formula 1 and Motor GP. Those two sports, for example, are very inspiring to my windsurfing because it’s like, wow, the tricks they’re doing, I can apply them to my windsurfing. I just try to take inspiration from all sorts of sports.”

Take a deep breath

“You know, a lot of times you’re sitting there and you’re all alone and it’s crazy because the cliff is right there and you see fifty thousand people who are comfortably sitting and watching this whole experience and you’re just absolutely getting annihilated like you’re in Thunderdome or you’re in the Coliseum… And you only have maybe eight seconds to take a couple of breaths before the next wave hits you on the head.”

Going pro (and using a GoPro)

“Being a professional athlete isn’t just going out and riding waves. It’s providing a return for your sponsors….And I will say for sure, as an athlete, you have to be willing to adapt and do things that will continue that engagement with people and hopefully they’ll grow with you and want to just see you grow in your sport and become better and better. And for me, I really have always enjoyed filmmaking and kind of capturing what I’m doing…”

The power of the ocean

“I couldn’t imagine my life without the ocean. I think I would probably be pretty miserable because there’s an unexplainable force that draws me back to it. And when I’m pushed to the edge and I’m fearful or I’m scared in the ocean, that’s when I think I get my best performance out of myself.”

Not-so-high expectations

“If you want to get into water sports like surfing or any one of the others, just go for it and don’t have high expectations because surfing is something that takes a long time to get really good at.”