The Eddie Opening Ceremony

The world's greatest big-wave surfers arrive at the shores of Waimea Bay

When this much talent is on the beach at Waimea at one time, it can only mean that Eddie season is underway. Photo: Lowe-White

Yesterday afternoon the ranks of big-wave surfing's elite arrived on the famed shores of Waimea Bay to pay their respects to the late Eddie Aikau, and to welcome the arrival of the 27th annual Eddie Big Wave Invitational. North Shore local and legendary Pipeline lifeguard Mark Cunningham played host to the opening ceremony, introducing the invitees who earned their place in the event by embodying the spirit of one of the North Shore's most legendary watermen. Although it was a far cry from the classic Waimea form necessary to run the event, there was a faint swell in the water, allowing a few overhead peaks to peel into the bay. After introducing the invitees, the competitors, friends, and family of Eddie Aikau paddled out and joined hands in remembrance of the fallen North Shore hero. Although the event nearly ran last year with a swell teetering on the edge of the contestable criteria, there hasn't been a proper Eddie swell since 2009, and the big-wave community has high hopes that competition will return to the bay before winter's end.

A friend of the Aikau family led the surfers in a ceremonial blessing before the paddle-out. Photo: Lowe-White
Although the swell was hardly up to snuff to run the event, competitors had their guns waxed and ready for the holding period. Photo: Lowe-White
Hawaiians Danny Fuller and Makua Rothman are no strangers to the Waimea lineup. Photo: Lowe-White
Although John John Florence grew up in the spotlight on the North Shore, he isn't exactly a grom anymore, and his surfing is showing that more and more everyday. Photo: Lowe-White
Having recently turned 50, Tom Carroll has had a long relationship with the most famous big-wave spot on the planet. Photo: Lowe-White

2011 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Invitees:

Brock Little – HAW
Bruce Irons – HAW
Clyde Aikau – HAW
Dave Wassel – HAW
Greg Long – USA
Jamie O’Brien – HAW
Jamie Sterling – HAW
Kala Alexander – HAW
Kelly Slater – USA
Keone Downing – HAW
Kohl Christensen – HAW
Makua Rothman – HAW
Mark Healey – HAW
Michael Ho – HAW
Nathan Fletcher – USA
Noah Johnson – HAW
Peter Mel – USA
Ramon Navarro – CHL
Reef McIntosh – HAW
Ross Clarke – Jones – AUS
Rusty Keaulana – HAW
Shane Dorian – HAW
Sunny Garcia – HAW
Tom Carroll – AUS
Carlos Burle – BRZ
Grant Baker – ZAF
Jeremy Flores – EUR
Takayuki Wakita – JPN

Alternates:

Kalani Chapman – HAW
Garrett McNamara – HAW
Ian Walsh – HAW
Kahea Hart – HAW
Alex Gray – USA
Chris Bertish – ZAF
Mark Mathews – AUS
Shawn Dollar – USA
John John Florence – HAW
Danilo Couto – BRZ
Jamie Mitchell – AUS
Evan Valiere – HAW
Gabriel Villaran – PER
Danny Fuller – HAW
Keoni Watson – HAW
Ben Wilkinson – AUS
Diego Medina – CHL
Rusty Long – USA
Derek Dunfee – USA
Anthony Tashnick – USA
Ken Collins – USA
Kealii Mamala – HAW
Ross Williams – HAW
Tav Hannemann – HAW