- 06 December 2013 | Surfing
The opening ceremony of the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau 2013/2014 took place in Waimea Beach, Hawaii.
The event that only runs if and when waves at Waimea Bay reach the minimum of 20 feet was only held eight times in 29 years. The spirit, though, is always present.
When, on March 17, 1978, Waimea Bay's head lifeguard and beloved big wave Hawaiian surfing son Eddie Aikau was lost at sea, the islands lost a part of their soul.
Aikau was part of the crew aboard the traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule'a, en-route to Tahiti when Hokule'a capsized during a wild storm just outside of the Hawaiian Islands.
Aikau set out on his surfboard to paddle for help for his stranded crew but was never seen again. The tragic story revealed in the book "Eddie Would Go" marked Hawaii forever.
Nainoa Thompson, fellow crewman on Hokule'a and the last person to speak to Aikau, addressed the surfers who gathered today.
His soft voice, still touched by the events that took place 35 years ago, spoke with deep affection, humility, and sincere gratitude for Aikau and his actions on that fateful day that set an example for all who follow his story through time - surfers or otherwise.
Today, Hokule'a is six months from embarking upon a multi-year international voyage that will not only share Hawaii's culture with the world, but also the story of it's hero: Eddie Aikau.
"Every voyage we make is in the wake of Eddie Aikau's greatness," said Nainoa Thompson, master navigator of the Hokule'a voyaging canoe.
Invitees and Alternates have paddled out to form a surfer's circle alongside Hokule'a, as the sun set over the western Oahu' point of Ka'ena.
The holding period for the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau is underway, running from December 1st, 2013, through February 28th, 2014.