The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau event director George Downing has made a famous statement: In Downing's words, "The Bay calls the day."
That call has been made only seven times in the past 23 years. It's as if the ocean itself is determined to keep this event special.
The winners - Clyde Aikau, Keone Downing, Noah Johnson, Ross Clarke-Jones, Kelly Slater, and Bruce Irons - all possess extraordinary skills in the ocean.
Each has had a "peak day" at Waimea Bay, when paddling power, fitness, wave selection, surfing equipment, confidence, and courage have all come together.
The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau we know has a forerunner: the Eddie Aikau Memorial, held in 1986 in beautiful 10-foot surf at Sunset Beach and won by local ripper Denton Miyamura.
It was a lot of fun, but Quiksilver's Bruce Raymond and Bob McKnight saw a chance to create a true surfing classic.
In concert with the Aikau family, today's dramatic, humbling challenge was mounted.
Each Hawaiian winter, a select group of invitees chosen by polling among big wave experts and riders alike would be welcomed to Waimea Bay at the start of a three-month waiting period.
If the Bay called the day, they would be there.