Eddie Aikau Memorial: Surfing stars chase big waves in Hawaii

Author : brairo1982
Publish Date : 2021-04-01


Eddie Aikau Memorial: Surfing stars chase big waves in Hawaii

The rarity makes it all the more special -- only eight times in the past three decades has the competition been staged, and not since 2009.

From December 1, there is a three-month window for the prestigious invitational event, officially known as the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, as the board riders anticipate the required minimum 20-foot waves.

Aikau, a native Hawaiian big-wave surfer, was lost at sea in 1978, having volunteered to go for help when a canoe trip seeking to recreate an ancient Polynesian migration hit bad weather.



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He was the first official lifeguard on the North Shore of Oahu, and spent much time at Waimea Bay -- a deceptively idyllic setting for deadly waves that put off most surfers until the late 1950s.

'It was surfing's equivalent to Columbus reaching the new world,' according to Sam George, who directed a documentary about Aikau.

The memorial competition began in 1984, and Aikau's younger brother Clyde won its second staging in 1986-87 using one of his late sibling's old boards.

'Eddie is the only guy I know of that had a big smile on his face when he would be dropping down these 30-feet monster waves,' Clyde says in 'The Big Wave Riders of Hawaii,' a new book celebrating 30 years of 'the Eddie.'

It features images by French photographer Bernard Testemale made with 19th-century wet-plate collodion techniques (see gallery at top of story).

'Eddie's legacy is there to inspire the next generation to do great things and to do great things for others,' his brother says in the book.

'You may not have to give your life to save someone, but helping other people is what Eddie's all about.'

Clyde Aikau is one of six past winners in the 27-man invitee list for the 31st staging, along with surfing legend Kelly Slater (2001-02), Greg Long (2009-10), Bruce Irons (2004-05), Ross Clarke-Jones (2000-01) and Noah Johnson (1998-99).

Read: Surfing plumber pipes world's biggest waves

Visit CNN's Main Sail page

Read: Surfing plumber pipes world's biggest waves Clyde Aikau is one of six past winners in the 27-man invitee list for the 31st staging, along with surfing legend Kelly Slater (2001-02), Greg Long (2009-10), Bruce Irons (2004-05), Ross Clarke-Jones (2000-01) and Noah Johnson (1998-99). It features images by French photographer Bernard Testemale made with 19th-century wet-plate collodion techniques (see gallery at top of story). 'It was surfing's equivalent to Columbus reaching the new world,' according to Sam George, who directed a documentary about Aikau. 'Eddie's legacy is there to inspire the next generation to do great things and to do great things for others,' his brother says in the book. 'You may not have to give your life to save someone, but helping other people is what Eddie's all about.' From December 1, there is a three-month window for the prestigious invitational event, officially known as the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, as the board riders anticipate the required minimum 20-foot waves. 'It was surfing's equivalent to Columbus reaching the new world,' according to Sam George, who directed a documentary about Aikau. He was the first official lifeguard on the North Shore of Oahu, and spent much time at Waimea Bay -- a deceptively idyllic setting for deadly waves that put off most surfers until the late 1950s. Visit CNN's Main Sail page Clyde Aikau is one of six past winners in the 27-man invitee list for the 31st staging, along with surfing legend Kelly Slater (2001-02), Greg Long (2009-10), Bruce Irons (2004-05), Ross Clarke-Jones (2000-01) and Noah Johnson (1998-99). 'You may not have to give your life to save someone, but helping other people is what Eddie's all about.' The rarity makes it all the more special -- only eight times in the past three decades has the competition been staged, and not since 2009. 'It was surfing's equivalent to Columbus reaching the new world,' according to Sam George, who directed a documentary about Aikau. The rarity makes it all the more special -- only eight times in the past three decades has the competition been staged, and not since 2009. 'You may not have to give your life to save someone, but helping other people is what Eddie's all about.' 'You may not have to give your life to save someone, but helping other people is what Eddie's all about.' 'You may not have to give your life to save someone, but helping other people is what Eddie's all about.' Aikau, a native Hawaiian big-wave surfer, was lost at sea in 1978, having volunteered to go for help when a canoe trip seeking to recreate an ancient Polynesian migration hit bad weather. The memorial competition began in 1984, and Aikau's younger brother Clyde won its second staging in 1986-87 using one of his late sibling's old boards. It features images by French photographer Bernard Testemale made with 19th-century wet-plate collodion techniques (see gallery at top of story).

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