Last week, massive waves between 9 and 12 metres, hit Hawaiian Archipelago due to the contemporaneous presence of two storms North West of the islands. They were the biggest waves seen in the last 40 years and on Tuesday 8th they gave the chance to hold "The Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau" also known as "The Eddie", a surfing tournament held at Waimea Bay on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Created in 1985 and named after famed Waimea Bay lifeguard Eddie Aikau (see the bottom of the article for more info), the irregularly-held tournament is known for a unique requirement that ocean swells reach a minimum height of 20 feet (this translates to a wave face height of over 30 feet) before the competition can be held, (Open-ocean swells, rather than wave faces, are the preferred method of Hawaiian wave measurement.) As a result of this requirement, the tournament has only been held eight times during the history of the event, the previous one was back in 2004.
Enjoy some REUTERS pictures of last week's event collected via DAYLIFE:
Greg Long, winner of this edition
EDDIE WOULD GO
Edward Ryan Makua Hanai Aikau (Kahului, Hawaii, May 4, 1946 – March 17, 1978) was a well-known Hawaiian lifeguard and surfer, but more than this he is a legend and a sort of Hawaiian national hero. His story is amazing:
He became the first lifeguard hired by the City & County of Honolulu to work on the North Shore. The City & County of Honolulu gave Aikau the task of covering all of the beaches between Sunset and Haleiwa. Not one life was lost while he served as lifeguard of Waimea Bay, as he braved waves that often reached 30 feet (9.1 m) high or more.
In 1978, the Polynesian Voyaging Society was seeking volunteers for a 30-day, 2,500-mile (4,000 km) journey to follow the ancient route of the Polynesian migration between the Hawaiian and Tahitian island chains. At 31 years of age, Aikau joined the voyage as a crew member. The Hokule'a left the Hawaiian islands on March 16, 1978. The double-hulled voyaging canoe developed a leak in one of the hulls and later capsized about twelve miles (19 km) south of the island of Molokai. In an attempt to get help, Aikau paddled toward Lanai on his surfboard. Although the rest of the crew was later rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard, Aikau was never seen again. The ensuing search for Aikau was the largest air-sea search in Hawaii history.
In the 1980s, bumper stickers and T-shirts with the phrase "Eddie Would Go" spread around the Hawaiian Islands and to the rest of the world. According to maritime historian Mac Simpson, "Aikau was a legend on the North Shore, pulling people out of waves that no one else would dare to. That's where the saying came from -- Eddie would go, when no else would or could. Only Eddie dared."