The longest-standing big-wave contest has only been held seven times due to its stringent wave requirements
Waimea Bay, Oahu, HAWAII – (February 27, 2009) – The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau holding period officially draws to a close tomorrow, February 28, 2009. Since the event’s inception in the winter of 1984/85, it has only been held seven times, due to the event’s uncompromising wave requirement of minimum 20-foot surf Hawaiian-scale (40 foot faces). It last ran in December of 2004. The 2009/2010 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau will be the 25th anniversary of the event.
“This is an event like no other,” says Contest Director George Downing. “It began as a tribute to one of Hawaii’s greatest big-wave riders, Eddie Aikau, who loved to ride Waimea Bay on those magical, rare days of 20 feet Hawaiian and above. In staging this event, Quiksilver established a standard that we have maintained now for 24 years. That standard honors Aikau’s passion and ensures that surfers and the public alike will be treated to an exceptional event when it runs.”
Held in honor of the legendary Hawaiian waterman and first lifeguard at Waimea Bay, Eddie Aikau, The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau is the most prestigious and longest-standing big-wave surfing contest in the world. It is the only big-wave surf contest sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the governing body of professional surfing and, as such, is able to bring together some of the most recognized names in surfing, including nine-time ASP World Tour Champion Kelly Slater and three-time ASP World Tour Champion Andy Irons. The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau offers the largest first place prize cash award of any ASP sanctioned surf contest ($55,000 USD).
The Invitee list is comprised of 28 of the most skillful and dynamic big-wave surfers from around the world. During the three-month event window, these surfers are on stand-by for that rare day when Waimea Bay truly comes to life, delivering thundering waves in excess of 40-foot faces (20-foot Hawaiian scale).
“We were all hoping for the event to run this year,” said Quiksilver team-rider and Invitee Mark Healey. “We had some really fun larger swells come through, but nothing of Eddie size. With the legacy of Eddie Aikau and the prestige this event has, The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau is unlike any other big-wave event out there, let’s hope it goes next year!”
Over the past three months Oahu’s North Shore enjoyed an action-packed winter of surf, however there was not a single day of surf in the stipulated 20-foot-plus range during the event’s holding period window: December 1, 2008, through February 28, 2009. January was the most active month, but the only days that broached 20 feet Hawaiian suffered strong, adverse winds.
Mahalo to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) in Honolulu for their forecasting and historic data support throughout this event. Special thanks to Pat Caldwell and team in the NCDDC Pacific/Hawaii Liaison Office.
Much Mahalo to the Aikau Family for their continued support and aloha. We look forward to celebrating 25 years of this prestigious event with them come December 2009. For more information on The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, go to www.quiksilver.com/eddie
About Eddie Aikau
In the realm of big-wave riding, the name Eddie Aikau commands as much respect as Waimea Bay itself. Aikau was the first lifeguard of the North Shore of Oahu, watching over the Bay when he wasn’t charging the biggest waves of the winter. Tragically, he lost his life in 1978, at the age of 33, during a re-creation of the Polynesian voyage between Hawaii and Tahiti. In huge seas, the voyaging canoe Hokule’a was capsized. Eddie paddled off in an attempt to reach help for his fellow crewmen. He was never seen again but his spirit and legacy live on.
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