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The Price Is Wrong: Quiksilver And The Eddie Aikau Invitational Part Ways

After 31 years, Quiksilver and Eddie Aikau will only be seen together on t-shirts and posters of the past. In February, after a seven-year hiatus, your world champ, John John Florence took the honours of the youngest and potentially last winner of the Eddie–at least with Quiksilver’s name attached to the event. For Eddie to continue a changing of sponsorship, city allocated permits and funding are required. “We’ve been privileged to be the sanctioning body for the Eddie,” Dave Prodan, VP of WSL Communications tells Stab. “We have a lot of respect for the Aikau family and the event. We’re proud of what Quiksilver accomplished with it over the last 31 years, and we wish the Aikau family future success. If they want to put an outline in front of the WSL we’d absolutely consider it.” 

Is this the time to talk about money? Ten years ago, there were negotiations to continue the contest. According to an anonymous source and Quiksilver employee, "The compromise was a name change and more money to the Aikaus. Back then it was the Aikau family coming on strong for money, and Quik threw them the money because they had it." This time around, the negotiation hit a standstill, then a parting of ways.

“I called the woman doing the new negotiations,” Eddie Rothman, who along with Pops Aikau in 1984 called Quiksilver and initiated the sponsorship and 31-year relationship tells Stab. “Being that I started the contest I roughly knew what the budget was, but we didn’t talk that long. The conversation lasted five minutes and some bad words came out of my mouth and that was it.” Although Mr Rothman wouldn’t disclose the asking price, we’ve heard from a source who’d prefer to be left anonymous that it was in the million dollar range. A steep increase from the rumoured previous price of $180k. “I was just curious what it would cost if we got somebody to take it over,” continues Eddie. “Shit happens, it lasted a long time and both parties fulfilled their sides as far as I know. Quik did good, and the Aikaus did good. I hope somebody else will run it.” Although, according to KHON2, Seth Reiss (Aikaus’ family friend and attorney) and the family say money was not a major issue — the Aikaus intend to continue the big wave contest in Eddie’s memory at Waimea Bay and is considering many options. 

For the event to run come winter the city of Honolulu will have to let Quiksilver pass over the permits to the Aikau family. “As a company we’ve always supported the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian people, of the Eddie, and of the Aikau family,” said Pierre Agnes, Chief Executive Officer Of Quiksilver in a press release this morning. “As a gesture of our respect and support we are happy to give our permit to run the event in 2016-2017 to the Aikau family, should the city of Honolulu allow it, and stand by to run the event with the family if they so choose. It is our most heartfelt wish to see the tradition of The Eddie carried on with no interruption.” The permit is for the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, and the application deadline has passed; the fate of a 2016-2017 event lies on a seamless transaction between Quik and the Aikaus.

“The WSL sanctioning was for the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau,” Mr Prodan tells us. “Now that Quiksilver’s not involved we would have to have a different conversation with the Aikau family. Again we’d be more than happy to consider any outline they put in front of us.” For the contest that never runs to kick off again something or someone’s got to give. There needs to be a corporate backing, and if a company like Red Bull steps in, it’s unlikely the event will be WSL sanctioned, which–due to the WSL rulebook–would leave holes in the invitee list. 

“I hope it runs,” says Mr Rothman. “I’m just stoked I got to surf in it a couple times. I was happy I caught some waves at uncrowded Waimea, that never happens you know.”

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