In Memory of Eddie Aikau 25th anniversary big wave surf contest history

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This event commemorates, honors, and embodies the spirit and aloha Eddie Aikau always showed during his life.The significance of this event is the contest is only held once a year, if only first the waves are at least 25 foot Hawaiian(meaning at least 30 to 40 foot faces) and during the waiting period from December 1st to February 28th. That being said, the event hasn’t run since 2004, due to lack of big swell and good conditions. This event is historic because it is so rare and to be invited to the event you have to demonstrate the Eddie qualities of aloha, courage, reputable stature in the surfing community and balls out big wave charging.

The saying “Eddie Would Go” was coined by local Hawaiians because of Aikau’s virtual no fear attitude of charging in big surf and his courage to never shy away as a lifeguard making impossible rescues. Eddie saved countless lives as Waimea Bay’s first official lifeguard, also surfing Waimea Bay sometimes for up to 8 hours at a time without breaks, a true waterman.

The legacy of Eddie Aikau is duly proper because he gave his life trying to save others and that’s why this event is so legendary and appropriate.Eddie was selected to be part of the crew who would sail the Hokule’a by traditional celestial navigation from Hawaii to Tahiti in March of 1978. It was to be a 30-day, 2,500 mile voyage across the Pacific, following the ancient route of Polynesian migration.

The Hokule’a set sail on the stormy afternoon of March 16, 1978, in strong winds that were whipping up heavy seas. Not far into the journey, the Hokule’a developed a leak in one of her hulls, later capsizing during the night in the Moloka’i Channel. After weathering the night, and with the physical state of crewmembers deteriorating, Aikau insisted upon paddling for the Hawaiian island of Lana’i, estimated to be some 19 miles away. It would be the final rescue attempt of his life. While the crew aboard the Hokule’a were later spotted by a passing plane and rescued, Aikau was never seen again. He was two months shy of his 32nd birthday.
Hawaii’s pride
She sails with the wind
And proud are we
To see her sail free
Feelings deep and so strong
For Hoku – Hokule’a

Eddie Aikau-1978

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