‘The Eddie’ may go on Thursday in 25-to-30-foot waves

Jade Eckardt

HALEIWA—Thousands of surf fans and wave-watchers saw Californian Greg Long take the crown in the biggest big wave contest in the world in December 2009.

This year, the Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest may be held on Thursday, January 20 in waves forecasted to be in the 25-to-30-foot range.

The “Eddie” has been held only eight times in the last 25 years, the last being in late 2009 during a swell that was being called the biggest swell to hit the North Shore in 40 years. While Thursday’s waves are reportedly not expected to be as big as the conditions during the 2009 Eddie, which drew 50,000 visitors to the North Shore, the impending waves are putting invitees on hold around the world, as surfers are planning on calling current trips short in order to be at Waimea Bay this week.

Thursday’s conditions are being called “good to epic” by Surfline.com, with the 25-to-30-foot waves being a strong west direction that may result in less than perfect waves for Oahu. The waves are expected to be biggest earlier in the day.

“Unfortunately a lot of the energy is directed a little too west to strike the Hawaiian islands full-on, instead wasting itself in the empty Pacific before making surfers in Western America happy at a more manageable size,” Magicseaweed.com reported.

This week won’t be the last chance for the contest as the holding period lasts until February 28.

The Eddie boasts a $98,000 purse for contestants this year, and if it runs this season, it will be only the second time in six years.

At last year’s In Memory of Eddie Aikau surf contest, the high number of spectators completely stopped traffic along Kamehameha Highway, with numerous North Shore residents renting out any space they could for parking around their homes for $40.

Cars were parked in every nook and cranny, almost in people’s yards, on private roads, and on small stretches of grass between the bike path and Kamehameha Highway. Locals had set up hot dog booths and food stands and were selling T-shirts on the side of the road.

Near Waimea, contest goers were lined up, peering over residents’ driveway gates to get a view of the waves.

On the east side of the bay by the cement wall, the crowd was thick with visitors and their cameras. Some North Shore residents had to ride their bikes to and from work in Haleiwa in the mid-day sun to avoid the traffic.

If Thursday delivers waves big enough for the contest, remember to bring a bicycle or skateboard, or maybe just watch from home at Quicksilver.com/Eddie. It’s sure to be a crowded day again.

2010 Quicksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau invitees:

Clyde Aikau (HAW)
Kala Alexander (HAW)
Tom Carroll (AUS)
Kohl Christenson (HAW)
Ross Clarke-Jones (AUS)
Shane Dorian (HAW)
Keone Downing (HAW)
Sunny Garcia (HAW)
Mark Healy (HAW)
Michael Ho (HAW)
Bruce Irons (HAW)
Noah Johnson (HAW)
Rusty Keaulana (HAW)
Brock Little (HAW)
Greg Long (USA)
Reef McIntosh (HAW)
Garrett McNamara (HAW)
Peter Mel (USA)
Ramon Navarro (CHL)
Jamie O’Brien (HAW)
Makuakai Rothman (HAW)
Kelly Slater (USA)
Jamie Sterling (HAW)
Dave Wassell (HAW)
Grant Baker (ZAF)
Chris Bertish (EUR)
Carlos Burle (BRA)
Takayuki Wakita (JPN)

Honorary invitees:

Donny Solomon (HAW)
Jay Moriarty (USA)
Lester Falatea (HAW)
Mark Foo (HAW)
Peter Davi (USA)
Tiger Espere (HAW)
Todd Chesser (HAW)
Andy Irons (HAW)


Kahea Hart (HAW)—Aikau Pick
Ross Williams (HAW)
Nathan Fletcher (USA)
Mark Mathews (AUS)
Sion Miloski (HAW)
Kalani Chapman (HAW)
Keoni Watson (HAW)
Anthony Tashnick (USA)
Ian Walsh (HAW)
Koby Abberton (AUS)
Danny Fuller (HAW)
Kealii Mamala (HAW)
Ken Collins (USA)
Myles Padaca (HAW)
Laurie Towner (AUS)
Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
Paul Patterson (AUS)
Andrew Marr (HAW)
Rusty Long (USA)
Tony Ray (AUS)
Derek Ho (HAW)
Taylor Knox (USA)
Tau Hannemann (HAW)
Manoa Drollet (PYF)