Will Eddie Aikau memorial surfing contest finally get green light this season?
It has been five years since the "Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau" big-wave surfing contest has been held, but organizers are hoping an El Niño-supercharged winter will provide the necessary conditions for a green light to the prestigious contest at legendary Waimea Bay on Oahu's North Shore.
On Dec. 15, 2004, Kauai's Bruce Irons won with a dazzling drop down the face of a towering breaker and a ride that culminated with a bone-crunching barrel wipeout in the shore break. The crowd went wild and Irons scored a perfect 100."This is greater than I could ever have imagined," he said afterward. "It's every bit as big as it looked in all the videos and pictures I saw growing up. To ride the biggest waves of my life, to win a contest in the name of Eddie Aikau, a hero we've all grown up with, I don't know. I just don't know what to say."
The event, which honors the memory of the famous Hawaiian waterman, is held only when waves exceed 20 feet when measured Hawaiian-style -- from the back, or about 40 feet from peak to trough. It has been held only seven times in 24 years.
The list of 28 invitees again includes both Irons brothers, Bruce and Andy. A few others: San Clemente's Greg Long, nine-time ASP World Tour champion Kelly Slater (who won "the Eddie" in 2002), Sunny Garcia, Grant Baker and Jamie O'Brien.
Outposts will follow developments and report on the contest as warranted.
-- Pete Thomas
Photo: Bruce Irons on his way to winning the Eddie Aikau memorial contest on Dec. 15, 2004. Credit: Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau