About Kai Barger

Maui’s Kai Barger had been earmarked as one of Hawaii’s most talented surfers from a very young age. In surfing circles, the 31-year-old became a household name when he competed and won numerous events on the ultra-competitive NSSA circuit as a teenager.

His promise and reputation were further burnished when he won the World Junior title in 2008 aged 19. Previous winners like Joel Parkinson, Andy Irons, Jordy Smith, and Adriano de Souza would go on to become World Champions and legends of the sport. There was no evidence to suggest that Barger didn’t have the talents to follow in their footsteps.

However, the pathway to the elite CT became blocked for Barger after his junior successes and incredible talent on the Qualifying Series, and by 2015 had given up on his dream.

Injuries played their part. Some were common muscle and tendon issues and some were downright unlucky. He suddenly became lactose intolerant and almost died from a bee sting after discovering he was allergic.

However whenever he was fit, his surfing matched any of his famous Maui peers like Matt Meola and Albee Layer. He might not have had the outgoing personality and bravado of those two, but he was a match for either when performing giant aerials in two-foot beachbreaks or charging massive waves in Jaws. The rare edits of his surfing became a reminder that in terms of pure surfing, few could match his all-around ability and pure dynamism.

Now injury-free and with a loving girlfriend and the backing of his Maui posse, Barger still has a lot to offer the sport. The Ultimate Surfer might just show that while form is temporary, class is permanent. If Barger can bring his A-Game, anything is possible for the former World Champion.

Instagram: @ kai__barger

Read more about Kai Barger
  • Men's QS 2016
  • Avg. wave score

Event results



Career stats

YearRankPointsEventsHeatsMax heat scoreBest result

Kai Barger


Kai Barger

  • First season
    2008 Men's QS
  • Hometown
    Haiku, Hawaii
World Surf League
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