While the World Surf League is busy actively destroying professional surfing just up the road, one of the world’s most premium events has flipped the light to yellow. Yes, the fabled Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational is a possible go in the very near future as an “Eddie-sized swell” is steaming toward Waimea.
Last year, as you certainly recall, the “Super Bowl of Surfing,” which is only contested when waves in the bay tower over 40 ft, was won by Luke Shepardson. The on-duty lifeguard crafted a legend that is still reverberating.
“In building twenty-to-thirty-foot surf, Luke Shepardson, twenty-seven, who started the morning by clocking in to his gig as a North Shore lifeguard, took a few hours off work and by day’s end had beaten the most stacked field in the event’s history,” Derek Rielly wrote at the time. “Apart from defending champ John John Florence, who finished second, Shepardson outsurfed big-wave world champs Makua Rothman and Billy Kemper, both surprise competitors after suffering injuries at the Backdoor Shootout, Kai Lenny, Zeke Lau, Grant Baker, Ross Clarke-Jones and so on.”
A blue collar hero was born.
The North Shore, though, may not be ready for such a quick reprise. The Eddie has only run ten times since its inception in 1984. If we apply our math(s) skills, that is an average of once every four years.
This year’s field is as stacked as last year’s with Jack Robinson, Kelly Slater and the aforementioned Shepardson joining a who’s who of big wave names.
A quick question, though. Do you think The Eddie organizers might be eyeing the “global home of surfing” with the possibility of calling it off if it gets too good?
Let’s hope not.
More as the story develops.