13 July, 2012 13 July, 2012

Kai Linder AKA Captain Kai

Captain Kai (right) in the Billabong Pro J-Bay commentary booth with Wok.

While the surfers have been blowing up in the water during the Billabong Pro with plenty of dark horses stealing the show, the same has been happening in the commentary booth. Kai Linder, or ‘Captain Kai’ as he’s known on his 2OceansVibe radio show, has been dominating the mic alongside Wok and providing some of the best commentary during a stellar event.  Zag caught up with the Llandudno local to  find out how he took his act from his popular blog and radio show to what’s been called “the best WQS ever”.

Zigzag: Our spys tell us you used to run your own business, but then did a U-turn and got involved with blogs and radio. How did you end up here?
Kai: Four years ago I had a successful events company, but it wasn’t my passion, and too far removed from what I loved most, and that was surfing. People thought I was crazy giving up something that was successful and paying the bills, but I needed more, and I wanted to find a way of surviving from surfing.

So what was the first step?
I started off with a partnership for my video production company and then my blog; captainkaisworld.blogspot.com evolved next. What started off as a casual, fun blog suddenly exploded into something people were talking about and just wanted more of. I was blown away with the response and felt I could take it to another level with broadcasting and commentating. 2oceansvibe.com gave me my first real break when Richard Hardiman asked if I would be keen to commentate on some rugby games. I had never done anything like it before, but threw myself in the deep-end and gave it a chance. It went really well, and Richard suggested I start my own radio show; Captain Kai’s World. They originally put me on the air on Monday nights between 20:00 – 22:00, but after the ratings went up, they moved me into the prime time window of 18:00 – 20:00.

Is it mostly surf-related content on the show?
I would say it’s about 60% surf-related, and then a cool mix of extreme sports like snowboarding etc, music, anything interesting that fits into the lifestyle of surfing.

So how did you land this job?
Chad D’Arcy actually suggested I commentate for SA Champs this year, which was my first real gig as a commentator. It was a big first step, but both Chad and Laura were stoked with the result and wanted me to get involved in the Billabong Pro event.

Kai lines one up during a recent trip to the KZN South Coast.

And what’s it been like so far?
Wow, it’s been a dream come true. It usually takes years of commentating and working hard to get yourself into the position I fell into with this event. Heff (Billabong Global Events Manager) and Luke Egan (Contest Director) gave me a huge opportunity and suggested I join Wok and give the webcast a go. After the initial positive response everyone was stoked and it’s just been gathering momentum ever since. It really is a dream come true for me, and I would love for it to take me to other events like Tahiti and others around the world.

There seem to be a lot of Saffas involved in prime positions in the international surf industry?
Ja, that’s true, and I think it stems from the fact that South Africans for the most part are able to set aside their egos and get the job done. We have a great work ethic and because of our size and limited opportunities locally, we are hungry to prove ourselves and get out there internationally.

So give it to us straight: what is it like working with Wok?
(Laughs) It’s been great working with Wok. I don’t think ous always get Wok and his whole vibe, but I do. I think we have a great natural connection and together, bring some much needed edge and humour to commentating. I think people are tired of the old-school, boring commentating we hear most of the time, so it’s good to be slightly controversial and loose. And we’re just enjoying ourselves. People have called us on being slightly biased during moments like Jordy’s heat (laughs), but I like how we unashamedly scream for the Saffa’s when the opportunity presents itself. Why not?

Tells us a bit about the event from your side?
I couldn’t have asked for a better event to start webcasting or commentating. It honestly has been some of the best surf I have ever seen, which makes the job all the easier and enjoyable for me. I actually spoke to Chris Ward today about the waves, and he was saying it was without a doubt the best waves he has ever seen and surfed in a World Tour event. I also think that it is brilliant that the qualifying guys got to have this event this year. It really opened up the field and gave the younger upcoming guys a chance – especially the Saffas. I mean look at a guy like Casey Grant. He really made a name for himself on the international scale.

Nice one Kai, all the best with the rest of the event and your future career in the booth.
Thanks guys!


  1. pd
    13 July, 2012 at 8:26 am · Reply

    KAI rocked it – keep him there!

  2. Mole
    13 July, 2012 at 3:14 pm · Reply

    It’s his voice… That warm, gravelly, welcoming tone that just makes you want to listen. Keep talking Kai, love your work. Call me.

  3. pat flan
    14 July, 2012 at 6:27 am · Reply

    Kai, Wok and Greg Long (perfect foil and super knowledgeable) made this the best Web cast commentary I’ve experienced from any international surf event. Good Web cast all round. Two days when I got little done.

  4. Upset
    14 July, 2012 at 8:37 am · Reply

    Fat bastard cant commentate for sh!t. Surfing is a healthy sport, go work for KFC Kai or whatever you’re called.

  5. Skunk
    14 July, 2012 at 12:53 pm · Reply

    @Upset – those sound like the words of a jealous p0e$. Kai would probably surf circles round you too. Get a life you loser.

    • Upset
      16 July, 2012 at 8:25 am · Reply

      The only circles Kai can make in the water are the ones he makes when belly flopping. #freespeech i can say what I like. Jealous of what? I make $200k a year get to travel, surf and have a great life…I aint “losing” Skunk.

      • 790
        17 July, 2012 at 11:56 am · Reply

        you are such a loser – no wonder you are upset!

      • Captain Kai
        18 July, 2012 at 3:11 pm · Reply

        Yet not man enough to let us know who you are “Upset”. I am always amused by negative comments left by people to scared to let the world know who they are. Happy to have a surf off anytime, unless you scared of being schooled by a fat bastard of course…

        • Upset
          20 July, 2012 at 6:59 pm · Reply

          Cornholio Kai take a lesson in spelling and grammar (note there is a difference between “too” and “to”. OK, surf-off is on. I am in Puerto Escondido, MX at the moment. Meet me on the beach at 7am tomorrow (you said any time, so I am just throwing it out there). Get your game face on fat boy. Ha Ha Ha. What do you mean too scared to let the world know who I am, I am Upset, that’s who I am, what more do you want know? Keep in mind your groupies (read WOK) are reading this so come back with something sharp please!

          • Upset with upset
            21 July, 2012 at 6:37 pm ·

            wadda poes…

  6. techworx
    16 July, 2012 at 10:25 am · Reply

    excellent job kai, you & wok rocked it! don’t listen to lame ass losers like “upset” who probably can’t see the world in front of his mouth with all the vitriolic bullshit it seems to be emanating.

  7. Captain Kai
    18 July, 2012 at 3:03 pm · Reply

    Thanks for the support everyone. Was to much fun working the webcast.

  8. Tanit Phoenix
    18 July, 2012 at 3:32 pm · Reply

    Kai you beauty… well done, I am super proud of you.

  9. Grant
    18 July, 2012 at 3:42 pm · Reply

    Was listening from UK my bud. Good work. ‘Upset’ you will be very upset if I get hold of you!!

  10. Name k8yk8
    14 July, 2017 at 11:35 am · Reply

    amazeballs Kapatein!!! “warm, gravelly, welcoming tone”” nailed it -so proud! x
    as for Upset-“I make $200k a year get to travel, surf and have a great life” HAHA-WHAT A KNOB!!! (still laughing at your mediocrity hahaha what a chop!)
    keep em coming Kai’a!

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