“Seven, eight or nine,” said Downing to an initially bewildered crowd. “It’s gonna happen one of those days.” Downing was referring to Monday, December 7, or Tuesday the 8th or Wednesday the 9th.
Today’s ceremony was an overwhelming tribute, complete with the original Hokule’a voyaging canoe in Waimea Bay in the midst of a 15- to 18-foot swell. The Hokule’a is a symbol of great Hawaiian pride; a traditional double-hulled vessel that represents the original Polynesian voyage to the Hawaiian islands. It is also the same boat from which Aikau paddled for assistance in 1978, never to be seen again. Hokule’a had capsized in heavy seas in the Moloka’i Channel, injuring crew, en-route to Tahiti.
Clyde Aikau, winner of the 1987 Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, today led the paddle-out of this year’s official Invitees and Alternates. Instead of gracing the lineup as they usually do, they circled the Hokule’a and paid respects to Aikau, joined by some of Eddie’s original crewmates on the vessel he loved so dearly.
“Hokule’a and Eddie were all about perpetuating the Hawaiian spirit,” said Kahu Billy Mitchell. “The Hokule’a keeps our culture alive, and Eddie reminds us how.”
Clyde is ready to ride on what he expects to be the swell of a lifetime: “Knowing that it’s probably gonna go, 90%, Monday or Tuesday, everybody’s real jacked, including yours truly. I really think it’s going to be a big one, probably the biggest waves ever for the event. I’ve surfed all the big waves that have come through here – ’74, ’69, and this one on Monday or Tuesday should be even bigger than that. If you’re not 101% gas for the day, let somebody else surf.”
Hawaii’s Mark Healey spoke for a psyched up younger crew of Invitees who are amping to surf The Bay. For many it will be their first time. The last time the event ran was in December 2004.
“I’ve been surfing the Bay big since I was 17,” said Healey, “Right now, my group of friends who ride big waves that are in this event, they’re really good at forecasting, guys like Greg long have never been wrong and don’t usually go out on a limb on things, but he’s like ‘it’s on I’m coming over.’ It’s an emotional rollercoaster. I see the big storm on the charts on the internet.”
Surfers ended the day by collecting their silver memorial Big Wave board trophies and were gifted with custom one-of-a-kind 25th Anniversary Eddie Aikau Diamond Dobby DeluxeTM competitor boardshorts. Sign up for mobile text alerts to know which day The Eddie will go at quiksilver.com/Eddie.
he Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, fueled by Monster Energy, will take place on one day when waves exceed the 20-foot minimum threshold and Invitees contend for the $98K prize purse and Monster Drop award.
Monster Energy will be presenting the Monster Drop Specialty Award for the surfer who makes the most critical drop and rides out of it during the event. The judges will determine the winner the day of the competition and will present the chosen surfer with a unique Monster Drop Specialty Award Trophy.
Held in honor of the legendary Hawaiian waterman, Eddie Aikau, The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, fueled by Monster Energy, gathers the most skillful and dynamic big-wave surfers from around the globe. It is the world’s longest running and most prestigious big-wave invitational and is the only one sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the governing body of professional surfing.
The universal appeal and strength of “The Eddie” is a testament to the human spirit it honors and that we all seek to connect with: a life lived with passion, dedicated with meaning, and exited from heroically. Just 31 when he lost his life in an attempt to save others, Aikau has physically been gone now for as long as he was here. But far from being forgotten, his life story is now woven into the fabric of Hawaii.
The Eddie has only run seven times in the past 24 years. You don’t want to miss it when the Bay calls the momentous day. Go to Quiksilver.com/Eddie for swell updates, happenings from the North Shore, and to sign up for text alerts, to make sure you’re the first to know when the Bay calls the day!
To view the list of Invitees and Alternates to this year’s event, click here.
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