Archive for December, 2009

Eddie Aikau Big Wave Surf Contest On Alert at Waimea Bay!

With possible giant waves headed toward the North Shore of Oahu at Waimea Bay, organizers of the “Quicksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau” big wave surfing contest have put out the alert that the contest may be on in the next few days, pending surf conditions.

The Eddie Aikau big wave contest is only held at Waimea Bay when waves reach a minimum 20 feet threshold (wave faces of 40 feet).  Note that the National Weather Service is forecasting wave faces of 40-50 feet.

Eddie Aikau was known as a premier big-wave surfer in the 1960’s and 1970’s – lesser known were the countless lives he saved as a Lifeguard on the North Shore.  In March 1978, Eddie served as a crewmember on the maiden voyage of the traditional Hawaiian double-hulled canoe Hokuleia.  Tragedy struck, as not long into the journey, one of the hulls developed a leak and capsized in stormy seas.  Aikau made the decision to set off paddling on his surfboard for Lanai, about 19 miles away to seek help.  While the crew was later discovered and rescued, tragically, Eddie Aikau was never found.  He was 31 years old.

Because of its strict requirements, the Eddie Aikau has only been held seven times during the last 25 years, with the last contest held in December 2004.  Because of the enormity of the waves and the serious danger involved, only 28 big-wave surfers from around the world are invited.

The wave swells are being monitored every day by contest officials, and as such, the contest could go forward or be cancelled depending on conditions.  That being said, the target dates for the big wave contest are December 7, December 8, or December 9.

For more details, visit the official Eddie Aikau Big Wave Contest website.

Because of the event’s exclusivity, rarity, and spirituality (in memory of Eddie Aikau), the event draws international attention when it is held.

If you’re in Hawaii when the contest goes on, and you want to attend, expect an extreme traffic jam in the North Shore.  Also expect to park far away from Waimea Bay and do some walking to get to the site.

And while you’re at it, if you’re so inclined, say a silent prayer for Eddie too.