The Eddie Aikau Foundation today said “The Eddie is a go” for Wednesday at Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore.
National Weather Service forecasters said a “giant” northwest swell is expected to arrive on Tuesday night, surpassing the high surf warning level. The “giant” surf along north shores is expected to rapidly build and peak Wednesday, to as high as 40 to 50 feet.
The last run of the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational was held on Feb. 25, 2016, which brought more than 1.2 million fans to the event’s livestream from more than 200 countries around the world. Hawaii’s John John Florence won the 2016 contest, which was then called the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau.
Since its inception in 1984, the competition has been held only nine times. The contest will only run if surf heights of the front wave consistently reach at least 20 feet in Hawaii-style measurements (40 feet faces) during the window between Dec. 14 to March 23.
The foundation says Eddie Aikau mastered 60- to 80-foot waves at Waimea Bay in 1967, and that his 80-foot-wave ride held a record for 50 years until 2016.
In February 2022, The Eddie was canceled due to the inadequate westerly direction of the swell.
“We have one day to get that surf,” said Linda Ipsen, secretary of the Eddie Aikau Foundation. “We’re hoping for Wednesday, but every day is going to show us more information. By tomorrow morning, we’ll know more. We have to put everybody on notice when we feel there’s at least a swell with really good potential.”
The competition is named after the late, local big-wave legend, lifeguard and hero Eddie Aikau.
The list of 2023 invitees includes 40 surfers, including 34 men, and six women, including Keala Kennelly, Kelly Slater, Billy Kemper, Ezekiel Lau, John John Florence, Kai Lenny, Makua Rothman, Mark Healey, Paige Alms and others. There are 18 alternates.
The foundation said the public can watch the event live at theeddieaikau.com.
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