Thousands of surf fans have descended upon Oahu’s North Shore today for the tenth running of the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational surf contest at Waimea Bay.
‘The Eddie’ was last run on Feb. 25, 2016, when Hawaii’s John John Florence won the contest, which was then called the Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau.
This year’s field will include about 40 of the world’s top big-wave surfers, and for the first time, six women.
The contest was created in 1984 but has only been held nine times in years when a winter north swell was large enough for the Eddie’s wave-height requirements.
To run the contest, Waimea Bay’s waves must consistently be equivalent to about 40 feet (about 20 feet Hawaiian-style) with the right wind conditions.
Clyde Aikau, brother of the legendary waterman and organizer of the contest, said he was expecting waves to reach 50 to 60 feet wave faces today.
The contest was expected to attract more than 20,000 spectators, but the crowd estimates for the 2016 tournament were as high as 50,000.
Before dawn today, Waimea Bay was already packed with hundreds of fans and traffic was slow-moving for miles in either direction.
Women join men in the lineup for historic ‘Eddie’ surf contest
Traffic to be ‘difficult at best’ during ‘Eddie’ surf contest at Waimea
High surf warning extended as Eddie-worthy waves arrive
‘The Eddie’ is a go for Sunday
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