"The Eddie" is a big wave surfing tournament held at Waimea Bay on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The tournament is named for native Hawaiian, champion big wave surfer, and life-saving Waimea Bay lifeguard, Eddie Aikau. Created in 1984 at nearby Sunset Beach, the invitational tournament moved to the notoriously big waved Waimea Bay, where Aikau's family maintains an ancestral tradition as caretakers of the Waimea Valley. It was formerly known as the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau after its sponsor Quiksilver, but the company and the Aikau family could not agree to terms for a new contract after the previous one expired in 2016.
The tournament is known for a unique requirement that open-ocean swells reach a minimum height of 20 feet (6.1 m) before the competition can be held. Open-ocean swells of this height generally translate to wave faces in the bay of 30 feet (9.1 m) to 40 feet (12 m). As a result of this requirement, the tournament has only been held nine times during the history of the event, most recently on February 25, 2016.
The competition window is between December 1 and the last day of February annually, when winter storms in the North Pacific provide the energy for big waves on Oahu's North Shore. Each day, surf conditions, ocean swells, and weather forecasts are monitored by oceanographers, meteorologists and big wave surfing experts, providing input to the Tournament Director (currently George Downing)—who is responsible for making the Official Call to run the tournament. If the minimum conditions are not met during the competition window, the event is not held that year, and the process repeats itself the following December.
Each year, 28 surfers, chosen by polling among their peers, are invited to Waimea Bay to participate in the opening ceremony "Blessing of Eddie Aikau" on the first Thursday of December. These surfers then await an Official Call during the competition window, at which point they have 12 hours to arrive at Waimea Bay to check in the morning of the competition. Participants will compete in two rounds of about three or four waves each during the competition day, which is generally from 08:00 to 17:00. Their four best scoring waves over two rounds will make up their total score.
Participants are not allowed to use personal watercraft to tow themselves into the waves; they must paddle out into the waves entirely under their own power.
Eddie Aikau's brother, Clyde Aikau, won the second "Eddie" in 1986. Before Eddie's death, at 31 in 1978, the two brothers had surfed together and competitively for a number of years. They are the only native Hawaiians to win the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship.
- winter of 1985/86 - Contest Date: missing - Denton Miyamura (at age ?)
- winter of 1986/87 - Contest Date: 21 DEC 1986 - Clyde Aikau (at age 30)
- winter of 1989/90 - Contest Date: LATE JAN 1990 - Keone Downing (at age 36)
- winter of 1998/99 - Contest Date: 1 JAN 1999 - Noah Johnson (at age 25)
- winter of 2000/01 - Contest Date: 12 JAN 2001 - Ross Clarke-Jones (at age 34)
- winter of 2001/02 - Contest Date: 8 JAN 2002 - Kelly Slater (at age 29)
- winter of 2004/05 - Contest Date: 15 DEC 2004 - Bruce Irons (at age 25)
- winter of 2009/10 - Contest Date: 8 DEC 2009 - Greg Long (at age 25)
- winter of 2015/16 - Contest Date: 25 FEB 2016 - John John Florence (at age 23)
- Craig Hysell. "It Could Be Worse: Eddie Aikau". Celebrate Hilton Head website.
- Eddie would go: the big waves of Eddie Aikau, The Roar, Retrieved on 9 December 2009
- Hawaiian Legends Series - Info, Kuliana, Retrieved 27 February 2016
- "Quiksilver pulls sponsorship of 'The Eddie' surfing contest". Associated Press. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. October 9, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
- "Greg Long passes Kelly Slater to win the Eddie Aikau". Retrieved 2018-05-19.
- McKinley, Jesse (December 8, 2009). "Surf's Up, Way Up, and Competitors Let Out a Big 'Mahalo'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
- "Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau contest: Rare big-wave surfing meet starts in Hawaii". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 7, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
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