The Future Of Stand-Up Paddleboarding Will Melt Your Brain

What is this sorcery?

05/05/2016 12:57 PM AEST | Updated 05/05/2016 12:57 PM AEST

Stand-up paddleboarding seems simple: Acquire board, add H2O, stand up, paddle into the sunset. 

We thought so, too -- until Kai Lenny threw a hydro foil into the mix off the coast of Maui.

In a new video, Lenny, a professional stand-up paddleboarder, pushes the boundaries of the sport with a board that appears to defy the laws of physics.

The Maui native is a waterman through and through. He is a six-time SUP world champion who also big-wave surfs, wind surfs and kite surfs. His first name even means "water" in Hawaiian. 

But the video below really highlights his stand-up paddleboarding skills. The foil board he's on has a set of strategically angled "wings" attached to the bottom that allow the board to glide through the water while lifting the board up into the air. More speed equals more lift.

Hydro foils have been used on boats, kayaks and surfboards for a while now -- here's an in-depth explanation of the fluid dynamics at play -- but they typically rely on sails, tow-in methods and waves for propulsion.

Not Lenny. Lenny uses his incredible strength and skill with a paddle to get up to speed, timing his pace with the small waves for a little extra help.

Downwind stand-up paddleboarding requires a strong knowledge of the sea since paddlers need to read wave patterns and know when and how vigorously to paddle, all while staying vertical on the board.

And that's just with a normal stand up paddleboard. Lenny's foil board changes the game, requiring superhuman balance and paddling skills while allowing him to achieve greater speeds with far less friction.

"It truly felt like I was just standing there and, like, walking on water. But going 20 miles an hour," Lenny said in the video. "I’ve never gone that fast downwind before in my life."

Hovering over water isn't as effortless as he makes it seem. Here, for example, is the type of submerged hardware he's balancing on: 

#hojeteve #kitefoil #obrigadosenhor #kingboards #vamospraagua #hydrofoil

A photo posted by Alexandre Tavares (@kingboards) on

But while Lenny makes it look a little too easy, we don't foresee it catching on with us mere mortals anytime soon. Watch the full video below:

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