Red Bull meets with Hawaii's first family, the Aikaus, in bid for broadcast rights!
I know we’ve all got abbreviated memories, but you do remember The Quiksilver: In Memory Of Eddie Aikau. You’ll remember because it was seared into your brain.
Those broiling waves, the wipeouts that made you hold your breath as you watched on the rectangle of your laptop, the mob of jetskis all roaring towards the beach to escape a thirty-five-foot closeout set. John John Florence surprising nobody by winning.
Biggest Waimea for a contest ever? Yeah, it was.
I put it to the guy who invented the pro circuit, the Triple Crown, the Pipe Masters, and who famously said he’d go surf Waimea alone to prove it was surfable in 1974, Mr Fred Hemmings.
Fred is seventy now, a little stooped, but says, yeah, bigger, better. Calls it “an epic.” And says Clyde Aikau was the “real hero” of the event. “Sixty-six years old and he paddled out in the surf with twenty-year-old young men and he took off on a wave and… got his ass kicked. And he paddled back out.”
Anyway let’s relive a little of the contest here. WSL did a helluva job of broadcasting the event, I thought. What kind of value could you put on an event like that? Millions?
Now, there’s a rumour floating around, a solid rumour, that Red Bull has been flying back and forth to Hawaii to meet with the Aikau family in an attempt to secure media rights to next year’s Eddie.
Red Bull doesn’t want naming rights, necessarily, although cans of the company’s popular stimulant soda would, naturally, be suddenly apparent in broadcasts, but want to turn The Eddie into “a proper show.” Like this year’s Cape Fear event.
And if Red Bull, who famously fell out with the WSL over co-sponsorship rights, gets the event, it’s likely it’ll become a non-WSL event. Which means, no John John, no Kelly etc.
Of course, if you listen to someone like Fred Hemmings, events like this year’s Eddie only come along, what, once every forty years.
Would broadcast rights, therefore, become a poisoned chalice?
Too much money for too little zing?