Eddie Didn't Go

The sirens sounded only as a warning, but it seemed like the entire
surfing world was waiting and watching. The chances of a day-after-
New Years treat with the running of The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie
Aikau – at Waimea Bay was too good to be true, but what the heck, get
everyone down to the Bay and let's see what happens. In the dead
center of a lack-luster winter season the first loudly hyped Great
Storm popped up on the weather maps (and everyone's personal radar)
and the North Shore rumor mill was in full torque. But, the closer
it got to the Date Line, the 'lesser' it looked like the Real
Deal – too much northwesterly wind. Still, it was a good, impromptu
gathering of surfers, officials, pre-dawn spectators and cops ready
to keep the traffic moving along Kam Highway (good luck). The only
element a little late in waking up for the event? The surf.

The swell was still dragging its new-born image the afternoon
before, only nudging up the buoy read-outs a couple hours before
dark – and even then ONLY as a hiccup. The numbers were nowhere near
the power to guarantee anything near 'legit.' for the event. Even
a full twelve hours later, under first light, Waimea's sets were
barely moving off Pinballs point. Up the road, Pipeline was already
2nd reefing – supporting a twenty-pack ready to challenge the outer
peak under dawn glass. Sunset was toooo nuts, even on the
'smallish' 8-foot (Island height) sets. The westerly swell was
steering the rip back through the line-up like the Mississippi river
through your bedroom and there were no takers. Smartly, no one
wanted to fight the flush that would drag them straight out to
Backyards, with little chance of paddling back before a) lunch time
or b) the impending close-out session, which ever appeared first. In
the end Waimea played its classic tease game with the first shift.
Only by noon – and no sooner – IF you had the free time to kill,
there was the odd set in the normal line-up. But a wave even
resembling the understood minimum wave requirement –MWR- didn't
spill into the Bay till too late in the day to start anything other
than draw more spectators and that frustrating, snail-pace traffic
tie-up that stretches for miles.

By dark there was barely even a
single wave with enough character as to qualify for anything OTHER
than the dying swell that it was. All in all, a fun day if you
caught one or two or three, but nothing more than that –not an Eddie day. The swell
collapsed, drifting south to Peru and "The Eddie" project was
safely put back into its time-tested case, ready for the next alert –
whenever that next Great Storm rages across the maps.