Will the ‘Eddie’ go? Quicksilver announces invitees for the 2010 big wave surf contest

Jade Eckardt

HALEIWA—Over 50,000 people came to Waimea watch the world’s best big wave surfers compete in honor of Eddie Aikau last year, the first time the historic surf contest was held in five years.

The invitees for this year’s scheduled Quicksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau surf contest at Waimea Bay were recently announced and hopes are high for some big waves this winter. An Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) specialty event, Quicksilver chose just 28 of the world’s best surfers and big wave riders. The contest also honors eight surfers who have passed away, including Hawaii surfer Andy Irons who passed away earlier this month. The event will be held on one day only any time during the holding period between December 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011, when waves reach the 20-foot minimum required to hold the contest.

A $98,000 prize purse waits for contestants—if the contest is held this season. The “Eddie” has been held only eight times in the last 25 years due to insufficient ocean conditions and wave size.

The 2010 opening ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on December 2 at Waimea Bay. The surfer who takes the most radical drop of the contest will receive the Monster Drop Award offered by Monster Energy, which was won last year by Ramon Navarro from Chile.

The contest honors North Shore waterman and lifeguard Eddie Aikau who loved surfing Waimea’s big waves, and dedicated his career to rescuing people who got sucked out to sea. Aikau had a passion for riding big waves, but eventually became interested in joining a crew in a voyage on the Hokulea, a traditional double-hull canoe that would be making the journey from Hawaii to Tahiti. Aikau was chosen to be part of the crew who would make the trip to Tahiti using traditional celestial navigation in March of 1978. The trip was to be a 30-day, 2,500 mile voyage across the Pacific, following the ancient route of Polynesian migration.

On March 16, 1978, the Hokulea departed and after a short time on the journey the canoe capsized during the night in the Molokai Channel. According to crew members, Aikau insisted that he paddle to Lanai which was estimated to be 19 miles away from the location of the fallen canoe. The Hokulea‘s crew was eventually spotted by a plane flying by but Aikau was never seen again. He was only 31 years old.

Aikau’s courageous story is honored each year, whether or not ocean conditions are met. And when the contest does go live, it’s surfing’s pinnacle event.

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 hot dog booths, food stands, and were selling T-shirts on the side of the road. Near Waimea, contest goers were lined up, peering over resident’s 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 20-foot waves arrive this year and the contest is a go, 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)

2009 results:
(Listed in order of 1st through 28th and points earned)

Greg Long (California) 323
Kelly Slater (Florida)  313
Sunny Garcia (Hawaii) 292
Bruce Irons (Hawaii)  276
Ramon Navarro (Chile) and the Monster Drop Award 267
Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia) 257
Jamie O’Brien (Hawaii) 252
Mark Healey (Hawaii) 246
Garret McNamara (Hawaii) 243
Noah Johnson (Hawaii) 241
Shane Dorian (Hawaii) 229
Makuakai Rothman (Hawaii) 226
Reef McIntosh (Hawaii) 222
Andy Irons (Hawaii) 221
Grant Baker (Hawaii) 215
Carlos Burle (Brazil) 202
Kohl Chrtistensen (Hawaii) 201
Kala Alexander (Hawaii) 200
Peter Mel (USA) 195
Takayuki Wakita (Japan) 187
Ibon Amatriain (Spain) 187
Clyde Aikau (Hawaii) 168
Keone Downing (Hawaii) 167
Mike Ho (Hawaii) 160
Darryl ‘Flea’ Virostko (USA) 155
Brian Keaulana (Hawaii) 148
Rusty Keaulana (Hawaii) 122
Pancho Sullivan (Hawaii) 70

For more information, visit Quicksilver.com/Eddie.