Kitesurfer Races America's Cup Catamaran in SF Bay

Kai Lenny takes on ORACLE TEAM USA in a race to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco.
© Keith Carlsen/Red Bull Content Pool

Watch Hawaiian waterman Kai Lenny strap into his $1,500 kitesurfing set-up to take on ORACLE TEAM USA’s $15 million America’s Cup catamaran in the video above. Regarding the challenge Lenny faced, ORACLE TEAM USA grinder Matt Mitchell commented, “It’s like bringing a knife to a gun fight.”

Kiteboard champ Lenny was amped to take on the 72-foot AC72 catamaran, which he raced from Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island -- after all, pink slips were on the line. The competitors took to the same course that will host the 34th America's Cup in September, with ORACLE TEAM USA set to defend their current title.

Kiteboarder Kai Lenny races against America's Cup sailing crew Oracle Team USA in San Francisco, California
Kai Lenny vs Oracle Team USA closeup © Guilain Grenier/ORACLE TEAM USA

Lenny got a significant jump off the start, launching his kite and harnessing the power of the winds to propel himself at 20 knots (23 mph) across the water. Although ORACLE TEAM USA was caught off guard at first, they found their rhythm and cranked up to 30 knots (34 mph) to blow by the Hawaiian.

"He got a really good start, so we just put the hammer down," said skipper Jimmy Spithill.

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