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Eddie Aikau memorial big-wave surfing sets sights on Tuesday

December 7, 2009 |  8:28 am

Bruce Irons-003

*Updated to reflect contest will not be held Monday

The largest swell in 10 years is arriving along Hawaii's north-facing beaches, and George Downing, director of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big-wave surfing contest, probably will give the Waimea Bay event a green light Tuesday. Downing had considered calling the contest on for today.

If a green light is issued, it will be for the first time since 2004, when Kauai's Bruce Irons (pictured) won on the merits of a perfect score at the fabled break on Oahu's North Shore.

The contest, in memory of the legendary Oahu waterman, is held only when wave heights reach at least 20 feet, when measured from the backs. That translates into 40-foot faces. The National Weather Service reports that the swell will build early today and continue into Tuesday and Wednesday, with open-ocean swell heights exceeding 22 feet. This will translate to wave heights of 30 feet or higher at North Shore surf spots. Wave faces should exceed 50 feet.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Bruce Irons during the 2004 Eddie Aikau contest. Credit: Quiksilver