A giant red blob hustling across the Northern Pacific Ocean has the big-wave contingent of the surf world scrambling.
Forecasts have Hawaii's north shores in the 18- to 20-foot range on Thursday and Friday of this week, which have put contestants in the Eddie Aikau and Pe'ahi (aka: Jaws) tow-in events on standby—but, the swell will come accompanied by unfavorable 25-knot winds caused by a low-pressure system near the islands. That piece of bad news caused Association of Professional Towsurfers (APT) President Eric Akiskalian to put an end to rumors that the Pe'ahi event would run this week.
"We have pulled the plug on this swell for Thursday," Akiskalian told SURFER on Monday afternoon. "Winds are too strong out of the southwest. [Event forecaster] Sean Collins' advice is to wait for another opportunity. There's too much at risk."
The Eddie (which hasn't crowned a champion since Bruce Irons won in stunning fashion in 2005) has yet to be officially postponed, though Quiksilver's Strider Wasilewski seemed less than optimistic about chances that the Eddie will go during this swell event (click here for latest event status update).
"There's a possibility the Eddie will run on Thursday," said Wasilewski on his cell phone on Monday around lunchtime, "but nothing's set in stone. This is a fast-moving swell with winds that may not be favorable, so we're just waiting. I'd say it's 60/40 that it won't run, but we'll see."
At 5 p.m. on Monday there was still no official comment from The Mavericks Surf Contest organizers whether the event would run or be put back on indefinite hold (click here for latest event status update). But surfers like 2008 Mavericks winner Greg Long are readying themselves for huge waves Thursday through Saturday and hoping surfing's premiere big-wave paddle-in events get the green light.
"I have been inquiring about the Eddie, but it's always hard to get first-hand information," Long says. "I'm hearing it's not likely they'll be having it. As of right now, what I've heard about Mavericks is that they're 70 percent sure it's going to go on either Friday or Saturday, but it seemed like they were leaning toward Friday. But again, they need to get more information about what the swell is really doing."
The Mavericks organizers have until Wednesday to make the call, so big wave surfers of the Pacific stay tuned.