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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

MONSTER WAVES: Eddie Will Go

From all current reports, the Quiksilver in memory of Eddie Aikau Will Go tomorrow, Wednesday, February 10, at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu.  This will be the 9th time in 30 years that this most prestigious invitational (only 28 surfers are invited to participate, and most fly-in at the last moment just for this chance) surfing event will be held.  There are two rounds and jet skis cannot be used to tow them out.   The previous big-wave event was in 2009 won by Greg Long, with Bruce Irons in 2004 and Kelly Slater in 2002.  This one-day event drew 30,000 spectators in 2009.    

In 1987, when the Eddie was first moved to Waimea Bay, his younger brother Clyde won.


The Aikau family, with Clyde front row center, Eddie to the right.

It normally takes me a bit more than half an hour to get there, but if Eddie goes, the drive will extend for many, many, many hours.  If you come after 7AM, there will be no parking.  The Bus?  Use #52 and #55.  There is also a North Shore Express, #88A.  Cost?  $1 if you can show a Medicare Card.  If Eddie did not go, you got a great around the island tour.


The reason why The Eddie does not occur annually is that there is a minimal requirement of 40-foot faces, although these measurement can be difficult to explain, where some sources indicate that a 20-foot wave in Hawaii reaches an overall height of 30-feet, which officially is that minimal limit.  Plus, these waves will need to occur during daylight under reasonable wind conditions.  Chances are that the peak will not occur until Wednesday afternoon.

Who is Eddie Aikau?  He was Waimea Bay's first lifeguard, and is said to have saved 500 people.  He became a crew member of the Hokulea in 1978 at the age of 31, when 12 miles south of Molokai, the boat capsized  Eddie volunteered to paddle a surfboard to get help from Lanai.  The Coast Guard found the whole crew, save for Eddie, who was never found in the largest air-sea search in Hawaiian history.

My one experience with big waves occurred on my Crystal Symphony cruise from Honolulu to Auckland in 2014:


I do walk on the seventh floor track for two or three miles/day, and yesterday I experienced something dangerous.  Seas were rough, and a lot of people probably got seasick.  I somehow survived, but at one point decided to take my daily walk.  However, I went through a back entrance down a spiral staircase.  The winds were high and at one point I was almost tossed to sea.  There were salt sprays and I got wet.  Turning a corner was challenging, and I had to pull myself by holding the handrails.  I finally decided to give up, but couldn't get back into the ship because all the doors were locked from the inside.  I went back to my outdoor staircase, and, thankfully, the door could be opened.  So I decided to try the exercise room, but it was closed due to bad weather.  The spa was also not available.  Then I noticed a sign on the doors to the outside indicating that it was advised to stay inside and don't even walk around if that could be avoided.

Yesterday a Royal Caribbean cruise ship survived 30-foot waves.

The largest waves occur at landslides, as the 100-footer in 1958 in Alaska's Lituya Bay, which had a run-up of 1720 feet:



As far as sea waves, in 1995, a monitoring platform off Norway recorded an 84-foot wave.  Garrett McNamara (left) currently holds the record for the largest wave surfed, in Nazare, Portugal.  In 2011 he rode a 78 foot wave, and claimed  to have surfed a 100-footer last year (above) which hasn't been confirmed.  

Also not fully authenticated, but here is a photo of Benjamin Sanchis riding a 108-foot wave at Nazare on 11 December 2014.  His problem had to do with timing and when the wave was at peak.

Finally, if you happen to be in Honolulu, you will be able to view, live, the whole thing on Oceanic Time Warner Cable channels 250 and 1250HD.  Othewise, go to:

     http://Quiksilver.com/Eddie
or
     http://WorldSurLeague.com

Quiksilver is an Australian-founded surf shop headquartered in Huntington Beach, California.

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