HONOLULU - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 -- The 28th annual Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau official opening ceremony and blessing will take place tomorrow, November 29, 3pm, at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu. The ceremony will feature this year's 28 Invitees, including newly elected riders John John Florence (Hawaii), Ian Walsh (Maui), and Alex Gray (California), as well as former "Eddie" champions Kelly Slater (Florida), Greg Long (California), and Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia). The surfers will be joined by members of the Aikau family, including Eddie's younger brother and Invitee Clyde Aikau.
Above: Surfers receive the blessing before paddling out. Photo: Quiksilver/Coots
When the Invitees and Alternates paddle out and group in the traditional surfer's circle at Waimea Bay on Opening Ceremony day, it's about camaraderie and making a connection to the others who will ultimately share in your experience and watch out for your safety.
"I like to feel and know that we're really all on one level and that we're all out to ride the biggest waves that pull through Waimea Bay on the day that we have the event," says Clyde Aikau, who leads the paddle out each winter.
"But even more important than that is that there is a physical and a spiritual connection with the other guys that ride at Waimea Bay. You know, you can win the event... it's a tremendous honor to win the Eddie Aikau. But I think what is even more monumental is that the feeling of being together, to enter the water, to ride the biggest waves in the world, and to know that if something goes wrong, your partner in the heat is going to be there to help you out, because that's what Eddie was all about. He gave his life to save others, gave his life to save thousands of people at Waimea Bay, helped people he never knew. So carrying that throughout the event goes a long, long way."
Above: Clyde Aikau, master of the ocean ceremony. Photo: Quiksilver/Bielmann
The holding period for the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau will commence on Saturday, December 1, and run through February 28, 2013. The event requires one day of quality waves in the giant range of 20 feet or more. Waves of this size are only generated occasionally by hurricane force winds from intense storms in the Pacific NW. The elements of wind, swell height and arrival time to the island's shore must be in perfect alignment to allow a full eight hours of daytime competition.
Waimea Bay was Eddie Aikau's home away from home. It was here that he saved countless lives as the Bay's first official lifeguard, and successfully rode the largest waves of his day. An early pioneer of big wave riding in Hawaii, Eddie has inspired generations of "storm surfers" who today roam the globe year-round in search of giant waves.
The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau has only been held a total of eight (8) times, most recently on December 8, 2009. California's Greg Long (California) took the honor that year.
EDDIE AIKAU HONOR ROLL:
Denton Miyamura (Hawaii) - winter of 1985/86
Clyde Aikau (Hawaii) - winter of 1986/87
Keone Downing (Hawaii) - winter of 1989/90
Noah Johnson (Hawaii) - winter of 1998/99
Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia) - winter of 2000/01
Kelly Slater (Florida) - winter of 2001/02
Bruce Irons (Hawaii) - winter of 2004/05
Greg Long (California) - 2009/10
To view the full list of Invitees & Alternates, please visit http://www.Quiksilver.com/Eddie.
About Eddie Aikau:
Just 31 years of age when he was lost at sea during an ill-fated voyage of Hawaii's Hokule'a double-hull sailing canoe in 1978, Aikau was a young man at the height of a career equally dedicated to big-wave riding and lifeguarding at historic Waimea Bay. Filled with a pure passion to ride giant surf, take care of his fellow man, and uphold his Hawaiian culture and family values, Aikau became the benchmark by which all big wave riders are measured.
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