Pro Surfer Kai Lenny Calls Out Government’s Slow Response To Wildfire Devastation In Maui

surfer Kai Lenny

Getty Image / Hoch Zwei / Corbis

Maui native and professional surfer, Kai Lenny, was critical of the government’s response, or lack thereof, to the devastating wildfires that ripped through Maui last week causing one of the worst natural disasters in US history.

Kai Lenny was a guest Tuesday during a CBS Mornings ‘Disaster in Hawaii’ segment. And as one of the most famous surfers and all-around watermen, the Red Bull-sponsored athlete helped throw his voice behind the disenfranchised people of Maui who feel as if the government’s response hasn’t been nearly enough.

The Life of Kai star told CBS Mornings “some of us … were kinda sitting back, waiting for help to arrive, and then nothing was sorta happening. We were just in shock.” Kai says he’s been repeatedly contacted by friends and neighbors asking if there’s anything he can do to help, which encouraged him to launch a grass roots effort to get aid to those most in need.

Speaking about the wildfires, Lenny said “one moment you’re in beautiful Hawaii and it’s just another great day and the next this amazing tragedy occurs and it’s so violent… I don’t know what to do… I haven’t prepared for an entire town going up in flames.”

In addition to Kai Lenny’s efforts to help his brothers and sisters of Maui, Dana White and the UFC have donated $1 million to recovery efforts. Floyd Mayweather Jr. also helped get over 100 people out of Maui and resettled with food and shelter in Honolulu.

Other celebrities that have pitched in to help with disaster relief in Maui include Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Jason Momoa, and Oprah Winfrey. Which begs the question, why are celebrities shouldering the relief efforts and not the local and federal governments who have been woefully slow to respond, according to Kai Lenny.

Lenny told CBS Mornings “I haven’t seen one state, one county, one federal official at any one of the donation hubs where people are most suffering. People are sleeping in their cars. People are asking for specific items now.” Kai added that locals pitching in to help have been working tirelessly day and night.

The morning show report claims there are 300 FEMA employees on the ground in Maui and an additional 250 Red Cross workers.

Kai was responsible for organizing a plane’s worth of aid brought to Maui after the local government initially blocked the flight:

His relief efforts have employed jet-skis, boats, commercial airlines by contacting friends who are pilots. He has been using every avenue at their disposal to get aid to Maui.

He has also been instrumental in raising funds through social media via GoFundMe. The GoFundMe linked on his Instagram page has currently raised $279K and counting. Kai is also sharing footage from the ground in Maui so outsiders can see just how bad the disaster zone is right now.

On Thursday of last week, President Biden issued a federal disaster declaration in order to bring aid to Hawaii. At that time he said “We’re working as quickly as possible to fight those fires and evacuate residents and tourists. In the meantime, our prayers are with the people of Hawaii, but not just our prayers: every asset that we have will be available to them.”

CNN has a list of the aid sent by the federal government but the slow response appears to be what caused the ‘boots on the ground’ effort to mobilize.

Despite being one of the most famous surfers on earth and one of the busiest men alive, Kai Lenny has been gracious enough to sit for several interviews with BroBible throughout the years. If you have the ability to pitch in with the Maui relief, please consider doing so.

Cass Anderson avatar
Cass Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of BroBible. Based out of Florida, he covers an array of topics including NFL, Pop Culture, Fishing News, and the Outdoors.