Two years ago the future of the most prestigious contest in surfing, the In Memory of Eddie Aikau, aka “The Eddie,” seemed uncertain when Quiksilver, the sponsor of the event for 31 years, bailed out. The Aikau family still managed to secure an event permit for the contest after losing their sponsor, but couldn’t find the financial backing to run the event if the 20′ minimum (Hawaiian) wave height requirement happened to steamroll through Waimea Bay. So The Eddie hasn’t gone since 2016.
The Eddie has now been removed from indefinite hiatus and will be staged to, and hopefully, run this year, conditions willing, with several new sponsors. The Honolulu Star Advertiser has reported that Kamehameha Schools, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Waimea Valley, the planning and design studio DTL, the film production company Salt + Air Studios, L&L Hawaii and Duke's Waikiki, have partnered with The Eddie Aikau foundation to sponsor the event.
In an announcement Saturday, the Eddie Aikau Foundation said the new sponsors "acknowledge and align with Eddie's Hawaiian roots."
Kau'i Burgess, Kamehameha Schools director of community and government relations, in an email to the Honolulu Star Advertiser said, "With this new sponsorship collaboration, we celebrate Native Hawaiian ingenuity, innovation and identity and look forward to educating the world about the history of the sport and its Native Hawaiian origins while paying homage to Eddie Aikau, and the importance of his sacrifice."
The opening ceremony, a North Shore winter tradition that honors the late Eddie Aikua as the brave, selfless and talented Hawaiian waterman he was, will be held at Waimea Bay on Thursday, November 29th at 2:00pm. The contest window will be the same as traditional years, December 1st-February 28th.
The Eddie’s website, theeddieaikau.com, reports that over 1.2 million people tuned into watch the last Eddie, which ran during the winter of 2015/16. The fact that The Eddie demands a very high and specific standard of surf to be called on, and that it has only ran nine times out of the 30+ years it’s been staged, make it very popular and widely watched. The Eddie’s website has dubbed the event, “The Superbowl of Surfing.”
To read the Honolulu Star Advertiser’s article, click here.
For more info about the event, click here.
John John Florence
Paige Alms (for Keala Kennelly)
Trevor Sven Carlson