ASP Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau 2011

Itís a rare international sporting event that can have no set date, be held just eight times in a span of 27 years, and still gain strength. The holding period for the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau began on December 1, 2011.

Kelly Slater in Waimea Bay.  Photo: Quiksilver/BielmanThe lifeblood of the big wave Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau lies in what one man’s life represented: the best that surfing and Hawaii have to offer the world.

The story of Eddie Aikau, a Hawaiian hero who saved and inspired lives as Waimea Bay’s resident lifeguard and big wave charger, continues to touch generations. It’s a story that is told anew each December, when the opening ceremony for the event in his honor takes place on Oahu’s North Shore.

The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau is a one-day big wave surfing event that only runs when, and if, waves at Waimea Bay reach a minimum height of 20 feet. It was last held in December of 2009. It is a tribute to Aikau, who rode the mountainous waves of Waimea Bay in the late ’60s and early ’70s and saved lives as its first full-time lifeguard.

He was lost at sea in 1978, west of the Hawaiian Islands during a voyage of the Polynesian sailing canoe, Hokule’a. Hokule’a capsized in heavy seas, stranding her crew. Eddie insisted upon paddling for land to get help, but was never seen again.

“There will be waves,” said Hawaiian kahu (priest) Billy Mitchell, in a voice that traveled to the far reaches of the bay. “But those of you here today know that this is about much more than that. This event is Eddie’s story, and it is a ripple in the ocean to travel around the world.”

The holding period for the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau started, December 1st, and runs through to February 29, 2012. The defending champion is California’s Greg Long. Past champions are Denton Miyamura (Hawaii), Keone Downing (Hawaii), Clyde Aikau (Hawaii), Noah Johnson (Hawaii), Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia), Kelly Slater (USA), and Bruce Irons (Hawaii).

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