Four of Oakley's Hawaiian Contingent Invited to Prestigious Eddie Aikua Opening Ceremony
The world’s finest watermen gathered in a semi-circle on the white sand beach of Waimea Bay, their big boards laid out before them. Behind them, crowds six-deep enclosed the group of 50-plus athletes. The opening ceremony of what is commonly known as “The Eddie” has happened every winter on the North Shore of Oahu since 1984. In that time, however, the event, which has a three-month waiting period, has only run on seven occasions. The Bay calls the day.
In order for the event to run, waves must be over 20-foot “Hawaiian,” meaning a minimum of 30 feet on the face. The event last ran in 2010.
Among the invited members of the big-wave surfing community were Oakley’s Makua Rothman, Danny Fuller, Kalani Chapman, and former event winner (2005), Bruce Irons. Chapman and Fuller are alternates for the event. Other invitees include 11-time world champion Kelly Slater, Greg Long, Shane Dorian, Sunny Garcia, Tommy Carroll and John John Florence.
After a blessing from a Hawaiian priest, the invitees paddled out into the lineup at Waimea, where they formed a circle, commemorating Aikau’s spirit, and ushering the event into a new year.
There are few greater honors in surfing than receiving that much-coveted invite to The Eddie. It’s an event that commemorates the legacy of the late Eddie Aikau, the first official lifeguard at Waimea Bay and at the same renowned as one of the best big wave riders in the world. In 1978, Aikau was among a handful selected to join the cultural expedition of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule’a, which set sail from Magic Island, Oahu, bound for Tahiti, on March 16, 1978. Hokule’a soon encountered treacherous seas outside the Hawaiian Islands and the canoe capsized. After a wild night adrift, Aikau set off on his paddleboard on March 17 in search of help for his stranded crew members. He was never seen again. The ensuing search for Aikau was the largest air-sea search in Hawaii history.
Learn more about the event and follow its happenings on the website.