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The Eddie Surf Tournament, O‘ahu

Waimea Bay is home to the iconic Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, an annual one-day event that honors the late North Shore waterman Eddie Aikau and the surfers who dedicate their lives to riding giant waves. Eddie was the first official lifeguard at Waimea Bay and a revered big wave surfer.

In 1978, Eddie was selected to help crew a Polynesian voyaging canoe, a cultural expedition bound for Tahiti. When the canoe encountered treacherous seas outside the Hawaiian Islands and capsized, Eddie struck out fearlessly on a paddleboard back to Hawaii to save his stranded crew. He was never seen again.

A surfer tests his mettle against a large wave at the Eddie Aikau Invitational.
The Eddie Surf Tournament is by invitation only and has stringent requirements to be held– the waves must be at least 20-feet for the entire day. Photo © karendesuyo, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Since 1985, The Eddie is staged every year to test the strongest and best big wave surfers in the spirit of Eddie’s courageous selflessness. The invitational–limited to just 28 big-wave riders a year–has some impressive criteria: the waves must be at least 20-feet for the entire day of competition. Because of this minimum wave height requirement, The Eddie has only run eight times in 27 years. The waiting period is from December through February and as the saying goes on the North Shore, “The Bay calls the day.”

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