top of page
  • J.J. Gecain

The Big Eddie and Aikau - the importance

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

The Eddie and Eddie Aikau: the importance to the people...


The Eddie surf competition is one of the biggest surf competitions. Since its creation in 1984, the competition has only run ten times, with it last being held in 2016. According to "The New York Times", The Eddie recently began on January 22, 2023. It attracted a crowd of 60,000 at Waimea Bay, where the event took place.

“Really, it affects surf culture because of who Eddie was, and then also because it’s such a special thing. It’s really about bringing everyone together, and it’s not just Hawai’i but international communities.” Luke Shepardson, Oʻahu County Lifeguard and 2023 "The Eddie" champion

The Eddie, which is named after the surfer Eddie Aikau, was created to honor his name. Aikau was the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay, and the first lifeguard in all of North Shore. He saved over 500 lives during his time as a lifeguard. He was also a big wave surfer, going out to sea when waves went over 30 feet. Aikau tragically perished in March 1978 while attempting to help a capsized canoe. His body was never recovered.


Brady Giusta, one of the surf coaches for Farrington High School’s surf team, finds the importance of Aikau and how he affected surf culture. “He was really at the beginning of professional surfing and not only was he an incredible waterman but he fought for equal place in the ocean, in the line up. Not just Polys, but Native Hawaiians and people of all different cultures.”


Giusta also said of the importance of The Eddie, “super important because of Eddie Aikau, just the significance. As far as the contest, it’s the least amount of prize winning out of professional surfing. But it’s the biggest, the most prestigious contest because one: since 1984, it only run ten times. So the waves have to be over 40 feet plus, and it’s all paddling and surfing, and the amazing thing is it’s celebrating the life of Eddie Aikau, who was not only the first lifeguard at Waimea but he never lost one life in over 500 saves. He never lost anybody.”


However, Giusta is not the only one who finds the significance of The Eddie or Aikau’s life. The winner of 2023 The Eddie, Luke Shepardson, a local lifeguard on O’ahu also finds the significance of Aikau’s life. “It is a celebration of Eddie Aikau's life and the perpetuation of his legacy and what he lived for, being kind and helping others and his love for the ocean and big waves. That is what’s important, to keep those things going in this day and age,” said Shepardson.


Alongside Shepardson, Giusta also finds that Aikau’s accomplishments have brought people together.


“Really, it affects surf culture because of who Eddie was, and then also because it’s such a special thing. It’s really about bringing everyone together, and it’s not just Hawai’i but international communities.”

8 views0 comments

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page