Eddie May NOT Go! Big Wave Surf Contest in Hawaii in Jeopardy

Here in Hawaii, we can’t wait to utter the words, “Eddie Would Go” when wintertime hits and the big waves come to Oahu. That’s because it’s the phrase that’s associated with the most popular big wave surf contest in Hawaii, the Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau.

But, this year, the surf contest may be cancelled, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

The paper reports that a breakdown between the family of surfing legend, Eddie Aikau, and surf company, Quicksilver, is to blame.

The Aikaus’ attorney, Seth Reiss delivered the news to reporters last week.

For many surfers, residents, and visitors, the Eddie Aikau surf contest was the pinnacle of the big wave surf season.

“The family is proud of the event and appreciated the role Quiksilver played,” Reiss said in the statement. “That relationship ended earlier this year. There were substantial discussions between the family and Quiksilver about how the relationship could be continued, but in the end, no agreement was reached.”

The paper reports that Clyde Aikau, brother of the legendary waterman, said the disagreement with Quiksilver “has nothing to do with money,” but rather unresolved concerns the family had about the relationship.

However, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and city officials are working with the Aikau family to keep the competition alive, despite ongoing issues regarding permitting. Monday, members of the family called on city leaders to help them resolve ongoing permitting issues related to the annual event at Waimea Bay.

“We’re fighting really hard to continue the legacy of Eddie Aikau,” brother Solomon Aikau, president of the Eddie Aikau Foundation, told the paper.

The city approved a permit for the upcoming December-to-February waiting-period but the application was specifically for Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, and the permit may no longer be valid with the two sides unable to come to terms on an agreement for continued sponsorship, the paper reports.

The competition was staged just nine times in 32 years, the last time in February, when local surfer John John Florence took first place.

Here are some facts about the legendary surf competition, courtesy of the Honolulu Star Advertiser:

  • The surf competition was first staged in 1984 to honor Eddie Aikau, an accomplished surfer and the first lifeguard to work along Oahu’s North Shore. He died in 1978 while attempting to get help for fellow crew members of the voyaging canoe Hokulea, which had overturned in waters off Molokai.
  • The contest required a minimum of 20-foot wave heights, and invited surfers and surfing fans around the world would wait anxiously from Dec. 1 to the end of February to see whether the contest was a go.
  • The competition was staged just nine times in 32 years, the last time in February, when local surfer John John Florence took first place.

The surf competition is also one of the most popular visitor events in the state, with many visitors buying last-minute tickets to Oahu just to experience the contest. For visitors taking Hawaii Aloha Travel’s Oahu Circle Island Tour, the North Shore is also one of the most popular stops along the route.

As more details become available, we’ll keep you posted with the latest updates. So, stay tuned to Hawaii Aloha Travel’s Vacation Blog to find out if the big wave surf contest in Hawaii will re”surf”ace next year!

Posted by: Bruce Fisher