The Eddie Aikau 2009 - Including Clyde, aged 60!

The global surfing population has been feeling the stoke after the Eddie took place for the eighth time in twenty-five years. And twenty-five years to the day of the first contest.

For those of you who don't know (practically nobody I'm sure) Eddie Aikau was a legendary Hawaiian big wave surfer, lifeguard and one of the pioneers of Waimea Bay. He was born in 1946 but died sadly in 1978 while trying to paddle a long way to shore from a stricken canoe. He was taking part in an attempted expedition from Hawaii to Tahiti (2,500 miles) when the canoe - the Hokule'a - developed a leak and eventually capsized. His body was never recovered. The rest of the crew were rescued and survived.

Eddie, due to his consistent presence in the biggest waves of Waimea Bay, is the origin of "Eddie Would Go". A phrase which whispers in the minds of big wave surfers all over the world every day as they stand on the shore contemplating the day's risk level at a particular break. (I even, sadly, mutter it to myself just while I'm deciding whether or not to go to the shops, or any other insignificant daily event.)

The Quiksilver Eddie Aikau memorial surfing invitational, conceived by Bruce Raymond and Bob McKnight, first took place at Sunset Beach in 1985 and thereafter moved to Waimea Bay. The event has only taken place eight times because it depends on the swell breaking at Waimea with 30ft faces minimum!

Eddie's brother Clyde won the first Waimea based event in 1987 so I was stunned and heartened to discover that Eddie's brother Clyde took part in this years' event aged 60! I took up surfing at the ripe old age of 40 so any story like this (and this: Bob McTavish and Steve Walden surfing Putsborough) warms my soul. You can see him in this clip and while you're watching enjoy the stunning wave which kept Kelly Slater in the lead for much of the competition:

The eventual winner was Greg Long who you can see in this clip:

The waves were hitting 40ft during the event. Shame on me for being scared of 6-8ft waves at Woolacombe beach the other day!

Here's the link to the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau website with loads more information and videos about the only ASP sanctioned big wave event in the world.


  1. I was able to watch Heats 1, 2 and 4 via Quicksilvers live web cast on Tuesday. Clyde is my hero and I can only hope to be able to surf when I'm his age! It was also amazing to see Florida native, Kelly Slater, somehow manage to stay up on that bomb in the 2nd heat! Absolutely unbelievable! Congrats to all those guys for charging perhaps one of the swells of the decade!


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