Edward Ryon Makuahanai Aikau, the lifeguard and surfer who was famously lost at sea in 1978 and for whom the contest is named after and, inset, 2023 winner Luke Shepardson.

Was Quiksilver losing 2023’s The Eddie Invitational, described as “the best day in surfing history”, the biggest failure in sports marketing history?

What kind of value could you put on an event like that? Millions? Billions?

I’m not sure how your memory is hanging on, but I had to shuffle through a few old files and bing/yahoo a few old stories to be reminded of what is probs the biggest failure in sports marketing history. 

To wit, Quiksilver losing the naming rights to what is now The Eddie Invitational but used to be The Quiksilver: In Memory of Eddie Aikau. 

What you may not know is The Eddie Invitational, sponsored by Quiksilver, didn’t start off as a big-wave contest.

The first event was held in six-to-eight-foot waves at Sunset Beach back in 1984, and only went big wave when Quiksilver execs along with Fast Eddie Rothman turned it into the speciality event we all know, love etc, at Waimea Bay. 

When the fifty-k prize money was announced, it also became the richest surf contest in the world. 

In 2016, it felt like the event couldn’t get any better when John John Florence, the just-crowned world surfing champion, cemented his claim to best in biz when he won the still-sponsored-by-Quiksilver, although barely, Eddie in wild 25-foot conditions. 

What kind of value could you put on an event like that?


So how did such a fruitful relationship, which included the lucrative sale of Eddie Aikau-Quiksilver merchandise, wind up in the gravel, pecking for worms?

Here’s the background: the previous ten-year contract was expiring in the spring of 2016 and Quiksilver and the Aikau family began negotiating a new deal. 

The Aikau family were advised that a potentially better deal might be out there if they shopped it around a little. Red Bull was in the mix, initially, but apparently, Red Bull and the WSL couldn’t couldn’t find a way to play nice so they pulled out at the last minute, leaving the Aikaus with no deal.

A source told BeachGrit multiple offers were submitted to the Aikaus by Quiksilver, all with increased revenue sharing opportunities but all were rejected. 

But here’s the thing.

Quiksilver owned the permits for the 2015-16 contest and even canvassed the idea of calling it a different name to circumvent the need to involve the famous Hawaiian family. 

Quiksilver played around with The Quiksilver: In Memory of Jose Angel, The Quiksilver: In Memory of Todd Chesser, The Quiksilver: In Memory of Brock Little.

Anyway, it worked out for 2016 but was terminated shortly after.

Did Quiksilver decide that the chances of The Eddie ever being as good as 2016 were so slim any subsequent money poured into it would be wasted?

The question I asked at the time was, would you, if gifted the keys to the clothing giant that was once famously six hundred million dollars in debt, continue to run with The Eddie?

Or would you pour the surplus money into your number one team rider Matt Banting?

Quiksilver chose Banting.

Regrets, y’think?

Mel (right) trail blazing. Photo: @shanedorian
Mel (right) trail blazing. Photo: @shanedorian

Big wave stud Pete Mel cements legacy as style icon, sports pair of Webs surf paddling gloves at The Eddie!

Pure sex.

Santa Cruz legend and Pete Mel is undeniably extremely handsome. Even the most aesthetically stunted, here, can gaze upon his visage and discern an almost Cary Grant level of pure unadulterated handsome. A sort that cuts through sexual preference and stands alone.

The big wave stud could have, certainly, gone on to fame and fortune as an actor or pin-up but chose the ocean instead of the catwalk and lucky we are.

Now, an under-appreciated portion of his appeal is his sense of progressive fashion. From cold water hellman to DILF next-door, Mel regularly pushes the envelope.

But even those with a nose to high street did not see his Waimea Bay pivot coming.

The regular foot paddled out into the recently concluded Eddie, dubbed “the best day in surfing history,” in Webs. Or A.P.E.S. Or some brand of webbed fingered paddling glove not seen since Ritchie Collins and the middle 1990s.

Bold, brash and a li’l naughty.

You can watch Mel’s sartorial dominance in action, near Shane Dorian, and ponder if you will follow his lead at your own lineup. If memory serves, paddling gloves didn’t help catch waves and led to injury.

Fashion over function.

Pure sex.

Photo: Step Brothers.
Photo: Step Brothers.

Blood Feud: Original Instagram surf meme account goes for throat of competitor in vicious pictorial slash!


If you know me, have ever read a word I’ve written or listen to one I’ve spoken, then you know that I am an outspoken advocate for beef between media outlets. Oh, I regularly wish for wonderful entertaining barbs between any of the players and always try to stoke the fire. Alas, Stab is profoundly not funny, The Inertia too soft, Surfline all conservative, Surfer dead leaving me to poke all by my lonesome sad and depressed.

Thankfully, there is Instagram where the popular surf meme account Kook of the Day just took a vicious slash at Kook Slams.


Surf meme account historians will recall the heady days when @kookoftheday first rolled out with photos making light of various surf offenses in a lighthearted way. If my timeline proves correct, @kookslams followed a few months later and featured videos of surfers, or surf-adjacents, getting rolled, pounded, generally messed about by water.

Both were very funny and caused many laughs, though at some point, @kookoftheday fell afoul of that hateful Mark Zuckerberg empire and became disappeared with its million+ followers. A replacement account, @kookofthedayog, was launched and while it only has 100000+ followers to @kookslams 1.7 million, it was not afraid enter the battle arena.

Likening @kookslams to Tiger Woods and itself to John Daly.


Comments are currently raging about which account is better, though at the time of writing, @kookslams has yet to respond.

Will it? Or will @kookofthedayog be left, like me, to poke alone?

More as the story develops.

Davidson (left) with big WSL draw Kelly Slater (insert). Photo: King of Staten Island
Davidson (left) with big WSL draw Kelly Slater (insert). Photo: King of Staten Island

Speculation runs wild that WSL attempting to juice Pro Pipeline with celebrity flare after Pete Davidson and Chase Sui Wonders spotted canoodling in Hawaii!

Dirty tricks.

The sun has risen, once again, on this new post-Eddie Aikau Invitational 2023 world bathing all of us, each and every, in undeniably gorgeous light. All of us, each and every, not including World Surf League brass, that is. Oh the most prestigious surf contest on earth really tore apart any shred of dignity the WSL had left by hosting an event with no sponsors, no fussy rules, no Surf Ranch, Lower Trestles, nifty graphics packages, Joe Turpel or a professional surfing victor and it was the best that ever was.

Perfection in every way.

Except, once again, to the aforementioned muckety-mucks who are bubbling in their own jealously, refusing to recognize the Eddie and possibly planning some tricks in order to juice their own days-away Pro Pipeline.

Maybe, even, the du jour it boy Pete Davidson?

Surf fans, and love sleuths, are certainly aware of the actor-comedian from his dalliance with quaint California surf town resident Emily Ratajkowski, but before that he was attached to the even more famous inter-Malibu local Kim Kardashian and before that engaged to Florida’s Ariana Grande.

Davidson draws much attention wherever he goes about whoever he is with, which, currently, happens to be Hawaii and Chase Sui Wonders. The two were caught canoodling on the beach and speculation immediately ran wild that the “global home of surfing” invited the Saturday Night Live alumn in order to bring attention to the Pro Pipeline.

Dirty tricks.

If Davidson and Wonders do happen to catch opening day from the Volcom House balcony, mainstream media attention will surely flow, Slater will undoubtedly pay them a visit, WSL CEO Erik Logan will be in the bushes throwing a shaka and Head of Tours Jessi Miley-Dyer will be winning an award.

The Eddie all but lost in the shuffle.

Hardened surf fans attempting to remember if it even really happened.


"Dude, she's stuck under the log! What the fuck? Oh no! Someone needs to help her!" | Photo: @hawaiinewsreport

Chaotic scenes as 50,000 spectators flock to Waimea Bay during Eddie Invitational, sixty-four needing rescue, with a woman saved from certain death after almost being washed out to sea while stuck under a log, “Play stupid games, earn stupid prizes, bro!”

"That's so scary! She's stuck under that heavy-ass log!"

You didn’t have to look too far to find a little drama on the North Shore yesterday as spectators jammed every vantage point at Waimea Bay to watch the Eddie Invitational in building twenty-to-forty-foot surf.

Rescues, and there were sixty-four of ‘em as well as 10,500 warnings handed out by lifeguards, included a fourteen-year-old boy who lost consciousness after he fell ten feet out of a tree while trying to get a better view of the waves and the woman, below, who was filmed being dragged out to sea while holding onto a log.

Almost as wild as the event is the droll commentary.

“On no! Is there someone on that log,” says a woman. “She’s stuck on the log! Someone needs to help her! That was fucked up. She was stuck under that heavy-ass log.”

“What did I say? Play stupid games, earn stupid prizes, bro!” replies a man.

Slightly further afield near Pipe, a woman was sent to ER after being belted by a concrete barrier just behind the lifeguard tower and at a beachfront house nearby, a baby was washed under it after the joint was hit by a wave.