The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau is ready to go

December 7, 2009 | Surfing

2009 Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau

In statements fitting of the 25th anniversary of The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, fueled by Monster Energy, Contest Director George Downing and Aikau's brother Clyde stunned the gathered audience when they announced that the event would run within the week.

All forecasts point towards one of the largest swells to hit Hawaii in decades. The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau is an ASP specialty sanctioned event.

"Seven, eight or nine," said Downing to an initially bewildered crowd. "It's gonna happen one of those days." Downing was referring to Monday, December 7, or Tuesday the 8th or Wednesday the 9th.

The ceremony was an overwhelming tribute, complete with the original Hokule'a voyaging canoe in Waimea Bay in the midst of a 15- to 18-foot swell.

The Hokule'a is a symbol of great Hawaiian pride; a traditional double-hulled vessel that represents the original Polynesian voyage to the Hawaiian islands. It is also the same boat from which Aikau paddled for assistance in 1978, never to be seen again. Hokule’a had capsized in heavy seas in the Moloka'i Channel, injuring crew, en-route to Tahiti.

Clyde Aikau, winner of the 1987 Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, today led the paddle-out of this year's official Invitees and Alternates. Instead of gracing the lineup as they usually do, they circled the Hokule’a and paid respects to Aikau, joined by some of Eddie’s original crewmates on the vessel he loved so dearly.

"Hokule’a and Eddie were all about perpetuating the Hawaiian spirit," said Kahu Billy Mitchell. "The Hokule’a keeps our culture alive, and Eddie reminds us how."

Clyde is ready to ride on what he expects to be the swell of a lifetime: "Knowing that it's probably gonna go, 90%, Monday or Tuesday, everybody's real jacked, including yours truly. I really think it's going to be a big one, probably the biggest waves ever for the event. I've surfed all the big waves that have come through here - '74, '69, and this one on Monday or Tuesday should be even bigger than that. If you're not 101% gas for the day, let somebody else surf."

Hawaii's Mark Healey spoke for a psyched up younger crew of Invitees who are amping to surf The Bay. For many it will be their first time. The last time the event ran was in December 2004.

I've been surfing the Bay big since I was 17," said rider Mark Healey, "Right now, my group of friends who ride big waves that are in this event, they're really good at forecasting, guys like Greg long have never been wrong and don't usually go out on a limb on things, but he's like 'it's on I'm coming over.' It's an emotional rollercoaster. I see the big storm on the charts on the internet."

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