Foilboarding with Kai Lenny

Great fun to have a foilboard lesson from Kai Lenny – a stand-up paddleboard World Champion seven times over. 

The last time I tried to foilboard was when President Obama was here on Necker and we had our fun competition, so it was great to have Kai back to give me a refresher. It’s such an honour to be taught by the best.

Richard Branson foilboarding

If there’s a wave, Kai can ride it – on anything it seems. He’s mastered surfing, kiting, paddleboarding and as long he’s riding a wave he doesn’t seem to mind what he does it on.

He’s even designed his own board and had brought it with him so I gave it a go. It made a huge difference and was definitely easier to ride the waves – although I still landed in the water a few times.

Richard Branson foilboarding

It’s so exhilarating when you’re up there, you can’t help but think: “Oh my god, I’m flying!” Foilboards go so much faster than your usual kiteboard as there’s a lot less drag. It feels like a surprisingly light ride because you ride above the surface of the water so it’s a loss less bumpy. There’s such a sense of freedom when you’re gliding along over the top of the waves.

Like a lot of sports, you have to do everything quite gently and make sure you don’t overreact, just let the kite and the board take the lead. There’s nothing quite like it. You’re such a long way above the water, just soaring along. We’ve been encouraging people to try new things and get more active all year, so I’m glad I’m taking my own advice!

Richard Branson foilboarding
Richard Branson foilboarding
Richard Branson

The first few goes feel really unnatural and it does take a while to get the hang of it as you’re so far above the waves but after a while you get used to it. People who completely master it don’t often go back to ordinary kiting – I have to say it is chalk and cheese better than windsurfing, which is what I used to do before I learned to kite.

Kai has been taming waves since he was a young boy and told me he only ever wanted to be a surfer. I love spending time with people who are fulfilling their dreams and having such a good time doing it.

Thank you for coming to visit Necker Island Kai.


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