Coconut Trophies, Sardine Offerings And The Eddie Aikau Invitational Is (Maybe) Back On
At the very least there will be an opening ceremony.
As reported across various outlets, the Eddie is back on. Maybe. The Aikau family is steaming full ahead and, as Clyde Aikau stated to KHON2:
“Even if we have to have coconuts for trophies and you come down with a can of sardines, Uncle Clyde will feed you rice and we’ll have the event. It’s just a whole new road and a very exciting road, and the main thing is that the family wants to continue to carry on Eddie’s legacy and what he was all about.”
Exciting indeed. A marquee event in local hands is all too rare. Running the Eddie as a no-money semi-underground affair is a tantalizing proposition. Albeit one that shouldn't, technically, be possible.
When initially contacted by Stab Nathan Serota, Public Information Officer for the Honolulu County Department of Parks and Recreation, asserted that, "You can't transfer permits. That's one of the big things. Because we didn't want people taking out, applying for a lot of permits, and selling them."
Andrew Periera, spokesman for the Mayor's office, reiterated Serota's statement while adding a qualifier. "They are not supposed to be transferable. But, then, if two parties can come to an agreement then we would certainly support that agreement. If there's a working relationship, so the original awardee retained the permit, that name of person or organization is still on the permit, but if they want to go and collaborate with somebody else and bring them on to run the contest, then that's something we'd look at and might support."
The Director of Honolulu City and County Parks and Recreations has broad discretion when it comes to enforcement of event regulations. Exceptions are often granted, most notably to the World Surf League each winter. Allowing a permit transfer is indeed within her purview, though it is an exemption they are hesitant to make given the precedent set and potential for abuse.
Which is why it may be confusing to some that today, when asked about a permit transfer, Andrew Pereira replied, "That is allowed, as long as there is an agreement between the two parties. That is what is happening, is what my understanding is. We've had this happen in the past, where someone who secures the permit may not necessarily have the funding to put on the competition, so they pass that permit on with a written agreement."
Of course, that isn't exactly what happened. Quiksilver has the funding, they just failed to reach an accord with the Aikau family. It appears the rules have bent and the C&C is doing what they can to facilitate the Aikau family's goals.
Which is fine. That's just how things work out here. Blindly following the letter of the law is no virtue and, in this particular case, we're not dealing with corruption and shady backroom deals. The Aikau family is respected, manages to get along with people, and is heavily involved in the local community. Which earns some special treatment. It's the same basic policy that got me out of an open container ticket when the cop realized we share a mutual friend. I wasn't complaining then, not gonna complain now.
However, the matter of coconuts, rice, and sardines still remains. Running the Eddie is very expensive and logistically complex. Given the current lack of sponsorship, and the Aikau family's inexperience running the event, it's likely they will have a difficult time conforming to the terms of the permit. Traffic abatement, extra police, bathroom facilities, and community outreach are all time-consuming, and often pricey, responsibilities.
I asked Pereira whether the Aikaus would be held to the same standard as Quiksilver.
"All of the parameters that are currently in the permit would have to be followed, regardless of any transfer. Whatever is detailed in the permit has to be followed."
Whether that is indeed the case remains to be seen.
At the very least we'll be sure to see the opening ceremony take place, which is always fun. And if the event doesn't run, well, that's not much different than most years, anyway.