Public voting for the 25th anniversary Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational In Memory Of Eddie Aikau, Fueled by Monster, opens today. Voting will close August 31, 2009. More than 100 of the world’s best big wave riders are posted on the polling list. To vote for your favorite big wave rider go to www.polls.quiksilver.com. Voting is limited to one vote per voter.
This is stage one of the selection process to elect the esteemed 24 invitees for the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational. The event will run on one day between December 1, 2009, and February 28, 2010, when waves at Waimea Bay, Oahu, Hawaii, reach a minimum of 20 feet.
The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau is staged in honor of Waimea Bay’s first official lifeguard and Hawaii’s most famous big-wave rider. A humble Hawaiian surfer, Aikau set the bar for big wave riding at Waimea Bay in the ’60s and ’70s. A natural born waterman, Eddie saved countless lives during his watch as Waimea Bay lifeguard. He also traveled as one of the first touring professional surfers in the mid-’70s when he was ranked among the world’s top 16. During his travels Eddie touched countless lives around the world as he voluntarily delivered a personal message of aloha from Hawaii, often accompanied by his younger brother Clyde and their slack-key guitar playing that was famous for bringing people together.
Eddie lost his life too soon, at the age of 31, during an ill-fated voyage of the Hokule’a sailing canoe in 1978. En-route to Tahiti from Oahu, the Hokule’a capsized in the Molokai Channel in heavy weather and giant seas, injuring several crew members. Aikau was last seen paddling for the Hawaiian Islands to get help. His life, spirit of aloha, and passion for the ocean and mankind is celebrated annually through this big wave event. It is arguably the most famous story in surfing.
In powerful tribute to Aikau, “The Eddie” has grown to be the world’s longest-running and most respected big wave contest. First staged at Sunset Beach in the winter of 1984/85 then moved to Waimea in 1985/86, it has been held just seven times. Its strict adherence to wave height stipulations has only served to underscore the authenticity and importance of the event. Past champions are Denton Miyamora (1985), Clyde Aikau (1986), Keone Downing (1990), Noah Johnson (1999), Ross Clarke-Jones (2001), Kelly Slater (2002), and Bruce Irons (2004).
This year’s list of potential invitees includes big wave riders from Australia, Europe, South Africa, South America, Japan, USA, and Hawaii.