Aikau family says The Eddie big-wave contest won’t go this winter

After a tumultuous fall of on-again-off-again announcements, Hawaiian family the Aikaus have finally decided to call The Eddie big-wave surf contest off for this winter.

It looked as if it was going to be a mad scramble that was thrown together this year considering the Aikau family and Quiksilver could not come to an agreement and parted ways back in October.

But this is a devastating blow for the big-wave community, as well as for the Aikau family. The Eddie contest at Waimea Bay (even the years where no contest is run and only the opening ceremony happens) is always a fixture of winter on the North Shore of Oahu.

In a statement released yesterday, the Aikau family said, “The family feels there is insufficient time to properly plan and hold The Eddie this year, and lacks the proper resources to maintain the high integrity of this extraordinary Hawaiian cultural event.”

The Aikau family had announced in early November that the event would continue without Quiksilver’s sponsorship, that it would simply be known as “The Eddie” from now on and that the opening ceremony was still on for November 30.

But there was just too little time to put one of the most important big-wave events in the world together. Big Wave Tour world champion Makua Rothman told KHON2:

“To have it canceled is a real bummer for the surfing community, because a lot of people would come just to watch the ceremony, to be there, to feel the mana and to feel the spirit of a Hawaiian man that embodied everything it meant to be Hawaiian and to spread aloha around the world, and to not be able to surf in his honor, it’s a bummer.”

The event has existed for the last 32 years, but has only taken place nine times in that span. That’s because Waimea Bay must offer 20-foot-plus Hawaiian waves within the running period. So while this is a sad day for big-wave surfing and surf fans, it was not a given that the event would be run this year either.

There is also the thought that this could be a wake-up call for the surf community. With one of the most prestigious events surfing has to offer being called off due to failed financial negotiations, a new approach may be necessary for The Eddie to be saved in time for next season.

Flowers in the ocean during the 2016 opening ceremony of The Eddie. Photo: Courtesy of Ed Sloane/WSL

Rothman offered sentiment that something as wonderful as The Eddie will shine through eventually, “I’ve been part of this event since I was born. All my heroes have surfed it and to be someone now that’s carried on that ambassador of aloha to the world, you know, it’s a shame, but I feel that one day things will come together and people will realize the significance of the competition and come together and make it pono.”

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