Giant Waves Bring Hawaii’s Surf Contest, The Eddie, After a Break

HONOLULU (AP) — Soaring waves and huge swells were expected for one of the world’s most famous and celebrated surfing competitions, dubbed the ‘Super Bowl of Surfing’, in Hawaii for the first time in seven years on Sunday. . all day.

And this year, for the first time in its 39-year history, female surfers competed alongside male surfers. Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.

Also known as The Eddie, this one-day event is held at Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore only when the waves are consistently big enough during the winter big wave surfing season from mid-December to mid-March. ‘s contest. The direction of the wind, tide and swell should also be just right.

“Large enough” means 20 feet (6 meters) in Hawaiian measurements. This equates to approximately 40 feet (12 meters) when measured by the method used in the rest of the United States. So far this year, the conditions have been met for nine editions since the first competition in 1984.

Organizer Clyde Aikau said at a news conference Friday that waves are expected to reach 25 to 30 feet (7.6 to 9 meters) measured in Hawaii, or 50 to 60 feet (15 to 18 meters) nationwide. and said that the conditions were met.Expectations.

On Sunday, the set was already big and the swell was expected to grow as the day progressed, with an estimated 60,000 people flocking to the beach and surrounding area to catch a glimpse of the spectacle. One huge wave crashed onto the beach, hitting families and pushing babies under their homes, but the children weren’t hurt. Hawaii News Now reported.

“We’ve seen 30- to 40-foot wave fronts for most of the day, but the biggest waves of the day will be over 45 feet. On a local scale, we call those waves 25 feet.” — and we’ve already seen some such sets. Surfline.comsaid by phone on Sunday morning.

“It’s amazing. It’s really cool to see. It’s a very rare and prestigious event and certainly a lot of energy and buzz,” he said.

Other locations around the world also host big wave surfing events, including Mavericks in California, Nazaré in Portugal, and Piahi on Maui in Hawaii. However, author Stuart Coleman says that Eddie stands out for celebrating the selflessness, courage and sacrifice of legendary Native Hawaiian waterman Eddie Aikau.

“What makes this contest most unique is that it commemorates a specific individual who truly transcends the time and place in which he lived,” says Aikau in his biography Eddie Will Go. said Coleman, who wrote

Edward Ryan McAhanai Aikau made a name for himself as the first lifeguard hired by Honolulu to work on Oahu’s North Shore and was revered for saving over 500 people in his career. He is also famous for surfing towering waves that no one else can ride.

Aikau died in 1978 at the age of 31 while sailing from Honolulu to Tahiti in a traditional Polynesian sailing canoe. The huge double-hulled canoe, known as Hokule’a, was swamped and capsized in heavy weather just hours from port. Aikau volunteered to paddle a few miles on her surfboard to the nearby island of Lanai to get help from the rest of her crew, but she never appeared again.

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the rest of the crew hours later after being alerted by a commercial airliner that spotted the canoe.

Coleman said The Eddie talks about the best of big wave surfing and the best of Hawaiian culture.

“At the opening ceremony where they met to kick off the run, they said, ‘This is not just a contest. We’re not surfing for each other. We’re surfing in Eddie’s spirit.'” said Coleman.

This year, the organizers have invited 40 competitors and 18 substitute players from around the world. Among them is Kelly Slater, who has won his record 11 world surfing titles. Two-time back-to-back world title winner John John Florence from the North Shore is also being called on.

Keira Kennelly of Kauai, Women’s Big Wave Surf Champion, is one of the female invitees.

Mindy Pennybacker, a surf columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser and author of her forthcoming book Sisterhood Surfing in Hawaii: Wahine Brings Back the Waves, believes Waimea is too dangerous for women to surf. has been there for a long time. there.

She said women had to fight to be included, all the while demonstrating that they could handle big waves at spots around the world.

“To see not just women surfing in Waimea, but women and men sharing the same event with respect and equality for each other, I am really excited about the idea,” said Penny. Bucker said.