Introducing The Kamehameha Schools, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Waimea Valley in Memory of Eddie Aikau!
It was maybe last year, or possibly two or three years ago, that the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau disappeared from the face of the earth. There had been a dispute between the Aikau family and Quiksilver regarding something-rather-else, let’s just assume money, and the most memorable surf event vanished into the ether. There were rumors that Red Bull would step in but also rumors of problems there as well but now there are no problems as the family has teamed up with local sponsors to hold the event and let’s hope hold it this very year. Let’s turn to Hawaii News Now for more
On Saturday, the Eddie Aikau foundation proudly announced the return of the prestigious big-wave surf contest this year.
In 2017, the chance of the contest taking place was shot down after disagreements between the Aikau family and sponsors.
This year, new sponsors have been found, reviving the chance the event will be held if large winter swells roll in.
“The Aikau’s have partnered with new sponsors to celebrate & honor the life and legacy of our brother, Eddie,” Solomon Aikau said in a news release.
Acknowledging Eddie Aikau’s Hawaiian roots, the family is honored to have partnered with new sponsors Kamehameha Schools, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Waimea Valley.
“What makes us excited is that all of these native Hawaiian organizations and the community are able to come together to create agency in the sport of surfing for native Hawaiians but also for Hawaii,” Kaui Burgess, director of community relations for Kamehameha Schools. “It gives us an opportunity to remind the world as well as our own keiki that our kapuna created this sport.”
Heartwarming. A heartwarming development and now let us read together from the award-nominated book Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell.
I was standing on the rocks above Waimea when the Eddie contest ran in 2009. It was a massive day and watching the competitors paddle out to face monsters was, damn all, it was humbling. The sounds, the smells, the pounding hearts . . . all of it. Spectators stand and trade information about who they think is going, which surfer just dropped down the monster, and if they think his monster was bigger or more critical than the previous surfer’s.
Everyone shouts and screams and throws hands in the air. Everyone from the most hardened cynic to the freshest wide-eyed daisy.
There are bigger and deadlier waves in the world and even on the North Shore than Waimea but there is something about the natural stadium of the bay and there is something about the history, both Hawaiian and surf, and I will say, without fear of contradiction, that the Eddie is the best sporting event to witness live in the entire world. Better than the Super Bowl. Better than the World Cup Finals. Better than the bullfights in Spain.
Better than anything.
During the big days, and especially if the Eddie is running, the Kamehameha rounding the bay will come to a standstill as people stop their cars, drop their jaws, and watch what James Joyce called “the scrotumtightening sea.”
And the tourist family will very much enjoy the spectacle for the afternoon and nothing particularly violent or menacing will happen to them, aside from an ocean beating, because they are unaffiliated. They are not involved in the surf world. They are aliens from Muncie, which might as well be outer space, and they are looked right through by the likes of Kala, Dustin, or Fast Eddie Rothman.
Maybe their car will be broken into. Maybe the father’s wallet will be stolen from the beach but that is all. No violence. No knocks or cracks or slaps. They will simply wander around the sand and look at the waves and look at the tranquil river that flows from the middle of the bay up the Waimea Valley. The valley, very fertile and tropical with two fern-shrouded cliffs cascading down to the river, is protected by the state because of its diverse flora and fauna. A few North Shore residents grow marijuana up its somnolent green folds too, adding to its diversity.