- 17 November 2009 | Surfing
It's the story that sets an event apart. There is no fabricating the life of a man, the gigantic waves he rode with a passion, or the venue of symbolic cultural importance where he rode them.
What began as a local tribute to one of Hawaii's favorite surfing sons in 1984 - the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau - took on a life all its own. And the story is the reason why we will celebrate 25 years of the event this winter, perpetuating Aikau's life, legacy and spirit.
The universal appeal and strength of "The Eddie" is a testament to the human spirit it honors and that we all seek to connect with: a life lived with passion, dedicated with meaning, and exited from heroically. Aikau was all that. And this is his story.
Just 31 when he lost his life in an attempt to save others, Aikau has physically been gone now for as long as he was here: 31 years.
But far from being forgotten, his life, the waves he rode, and the lives he saved on his ancestral grounds at Waimea Bay have become a part of Hawaii's story, passed on from person to person around the world, like a wave seeking shore. Aikau is not just a part of surfing history, but a life story woven into the fabric of Hawaii.
Big wave events, big contest purses, big names of the day, they come and they go. But none tell a story like that of Eddie Aikau.
The indicators for a monster big wave winter on Oahu's North Shore are lining up and the anticipatory buzz surrounding the 25th Anniversary Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, fueled by Monster, is audible.
September, the harbinger of winter waves, bolted out of the gates to set a record: four times as many days in the high surf category - 8-12 feet Hawaiian scale - than the 1968-2009 September average.
October continued the famous El Nino trend of clear skies, light winds and above average swell, and Hawaii's big wave season is officially underway, starting November.
It's been five years since Waimea Bay rose from her slumber: December 15, 2004. The day that Bruce Irons rode his way into the record books on the 20th anniversary of the event. Waimea Bay is stirring.