Confirmed: Rip Curl To Sponsor The Eddie - Stab Mag

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Confirmed: Rip Curl To Sponsor The Eddie

Hate to say ‘I told you so’.

Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

52 days ago we wrote a rumor piece titled ‘The Eddie Gets A New Headline Sponsor’ where we spoke about Rip Curl potentially stepping in as the major sponsor of the iconic big wave event held at Waimea Bay. 

We were right. 

Per today’s press release: 

“It is an incredible honour for Rip Curl to be a partner of the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational,” said Brooke Farris, CEO Rip Curl. “This event is legendary, as are the big wave surfers who take on the giant waves of Waimea Bay. With our 55-year history of championing surfing events around the world, it is with great respect that we place our name alongside Eddie Aikau, celebrating an incredible legacy and supporting an event that means so much to the surfing community.”

Contest director Liam Mcnamara previously told Stab, “we have also secured a major credit card company that is putting up $100K in prize money.” We have since learned that company is Luxury Card, who manufacture 24 karat gold-plated credit cards among other things, that make you feel bougie when borrowing money.

Their 2018 commercial with Ian Walsh below. 

The last time The Eddie ran was on January 22, 2023, where it was taken out by on-duty lifeguard Luke Shepardson. The public servant received a measly $10K USD cheque and 350,000 Hawaiian Airlines Miles for his efforts, causing fans to set up a pay-what-you-can Venmo to raise funds for the low-key action hero given short shrift.

After the 2016 event, in which the winner John Florence netted a cool $75,000, the Eddie Aikau Foundation and longtime supporter of the event, Quiksilver, went their separate ways, leaving the event in a vulnerable financial position. The Eddie Aikau Foundation (led by esteemed Aikau family members) cobbled together enough to keep the event alive, but not enough to match the previous six-figure prize purse.

Still with a massively stripped back broadcast, the last Eddie drew a live audience of over 50k people, clogging up the Kam Highway for several miles, while the YouTube stream alone clocked 1.7 million views. In the aftermath, Luke trended on google search, his name splashed across non-endemic headlines from the NY Times to the Washington Post. He even had his own day named after him, recognized by Hawaii’s government.

It’s hard to overstate the cultural significance of the heritage event, which has only run 10 times since its inception in 1985. Other past winners include: Denton Miyamura, Clyde Aikau, Keone Downing, Noah Johnson, Ross Clarke-Jones, Kelly Slater, Bruce Irons, Greg Long and John John Florence. 

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