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The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational Will Not Run This Year

Casey Harlow/Adventure Tribune
The 2017 Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational will not occur this year, since waves on Oahu’s North Shore didn’t reach “big wave” status.

According to Surf News Network, “The Eddie can only run when wave face heights hit the range of 40-feet-plus for a full day of competition.” This opportunity didn’t present itself this winter.

“The Eddie” has a three-month window, from December 1st to February 28th, in which the competition can be held. If waves don’t reach their designated height for an entire day’s worth of competition during that timeframe, surfers have to wait until the following year. And, as a World Surf League (WSL) Specialty Event, everyone waits for “The Eddie”.

Held at Waimea Bay, this legendary big wave surf event began in 1985 as an invite-only competition designed to commemorate the North Shore’s first lifeguard, the late Eddie Aikau, whose lifeguard post and regular surf spot was Waimea Bay.

“The waterman [Aikau] became a legendary figure in Hawaii after an ill-fated attempt to save fellow crew members onboard the Hōkūle’a in 1978, and continues to inspire generations with his symbolism of bravery, camaraderie, and aloha spirit,” says Surf News Network.

“The Eddie” has only run nine times since its inception due to wave patterns, but it continues to draw some of the best surfing in the world.

“As a World Surf League (WSL) Speciality-sanctioned big wave event, The Eddie drew a prestigious cross-section of the world's finest watermen, including competitors from the elite WSL Championship Tour (CT),” says the World Surf League.

The 1986 winner of “The Eddie” was Clyde Aikau, Eddie’s brother and fellow North Shore lifeguard, who even participated as a 66-year-old in 2016. Other winners include Kelly Slater, Bruce Irons, and Greg Long.

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Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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