Opening Ceremony: Thursday, December 4, 2008, 3pm, Waimea Bay
The holding period for The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau at Waimea Bay, on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, officially kicked off yesterday. The official opening ceremony will be held this Thursday, December 4th, at 3pm at Waimea Bay. This year’s invited surfers, along with the Aikau Family and special guests, will be on hand to celebrate the 24th anniversary of this unique big-wave riding event.
Originally slated to open on December 1st, the official start to the holding period was moved forward one day as a precautionary measure as reports of an extra-large swell forecast to hit the North Shore over the weekend filtered in. While present expectations are for a sub-Eddie swell in the range of 15-18 feet Hawaiian scale, at the very least it will provide a valuable warm-up opportunity for big-wave riders invited to this prestigious event.
The current long-range weather models for the first week of December indicate above average wave heights in store for the North Shore of Oahu – at least into the extra-large category (minimum 12 feet Hawaiian scale). The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau is typically held in “giant” wave episodes of 20-feet-plus Hawaiian scale, with wave faces exceeding 40-feet.
Scheduled to take place at the hallowed grounds of Waimea Bay, on the North Shore of Oahu, between November 30, 2008, and February 28, 2009, the event, otherwise known as “The Eddie”, requires one day with a minimum of 20-foot surf (Hawaiian scale) in order to run. It is the world’s most prestigious big-wave surfing event and is the only big-wave surf contest sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the governing body of professional surfing.
Held in honor of the legendary Hawaiian waterman, Eddie Aikau, The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau gathers 28 of the most skillful and dynamic big-wave surfers from around the world as polled by a comprehensive panel consisting of influential watermen, members of the surf industry, and internationally recognized surfing Associations.
The first memorial event for Aikau was held in 1984 at Sunset Beach, two miles north of Waimea Bay. It was won by local standout Denton Miyamura. Following the inaugural event, The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau moved to Waimea Bay, where it has remained ever since. 2008 marks the event’s 24th anniversary; in only seven of those years have the waves been big enough and the conditions right to hold the contest.
In the realm of big-wave riding, the name Eddie Aikau commands as much respect as Waimea Bay itself. Aikau was the North Shore of Oahu’s first lifeguard, watching over the Bay when he wasn’t charging the biggest waves of the winter. Tragically, he lost his life in 1978, at the age of 33, during a re-creation of the Polynesian voyage between Hawaii and Tahiti. In huge seas, the voyaging canoe Hokule’a was capsized. Eddie paddled off in an attempt to reach help for his fellow crewmen. He was never seen again but his spirit and legacy live on.
The complete list of Invitees and Alternates for this year’s event are available online at quiksilver.com/eddie. The website also includes photos and video from previous year’s events, invitee profiles and swell updates. Visitors can sign up to receive text updates for the “Official Contest Call” and watch online when the Bay calls the day.
Collectible limited-edition The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau merchandise, including boardshorts, t-shirts, hats, sandals and backpacks, are also available online at quiksilver.com/eddie and in Quiksilver stores.