The Eddie Won’t Go… Again
A sad report from Hawaii.
The Aikau family has had us on a wild ride this Hawaiian season. First, thanks to a financial disagreement between the Aikaus and longtime competition sponsor Quiksilver, The Eddie would not go. Then, despite the fact that local laws prohibit it, the Waimea permit was given to the Aikau family so they could run The Eddie apart from Quiksilver. This was a major but, as we’ve recently learned, short-lived victory for global fans of surf. Just today, the Aikau family announced that they will not be holding the 2017/2018 on account of insufficient time and resources.
From the Tampa Bay Times:
HONOLULU (AP) — The family of surfing legend Eddie Aikau said Wednesday the big wave contest named in his honor won’t be held this season.
The withdrawal of the contest’s sponsor, Quicksilver, and problems quickly getting a permit forced the move, said Cynthia Scrima, a family spokeswoman.
The Aikaus eventually obtained a permit for the event from Honolulu’s Department of Parks and Recreation. But Scrima said they don’t have sufficient time and resources to plan and hold the event this winter.
“It really is the most prestigious surf contest in the world. And we did not want to compromise that because it ultimately would be compromising Eddie’s integrity to not do something proper,” Scrima said.
The family hopes to hold “The Eddie” during the 2018-2019 season. Scrima said the Aikaus have already applied for a permit for next season and have been searching for a new lead sponsor.
Scrima said it took longer for the organizers to get up to speed with permitting because Quicksilver wasn’t involved. She said Quicksilver handled the permit application process in previous years. Scrima said the city has “been fantastic” since the permit paperwork got to the right people.
The contest, which is held in Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28, attracts top surfers from around the world. But it’s only called when waves reach heights of at least 20 feet. The waves must also roll in consistently at that size. The contest has been called just nine times since its founding in 1984.
It honors Eddie Aikau, a Waimea Bay lifeguard and waterman. He died in 1978 at the age of 31 after the Hokulea, a traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe he was on, capsized en route from Hawaii to Tahiti. Aikau paddled on his surfboard to get help, but never returned. The rest of the crew was rescued soon after.
I suppose we should have expected this. The Eddie is a monumental event, both in terms of significance to the sport and physical scale. For the Aikau family to assemble all the necessary components in a few months’ time was a fool’s wager. But you had to give them the benefit doubt. Aikaus are known to do some pretty heroic shit.
With any luck there will be no Eddie-worthy swells this season. No harm, no foul.
Let’s just hope they get a headstart on the 2018-2019 preparations. We can’t stand to lose this event for good.
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