The Eddie Aikau Big-Wave Contest Didn’t Go, But Will It Go Later This Month?

What happened to the Eddie?
Photo: Brittney Nitta-Lee


Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau organizers gave the green light to go, but then stopped the event less than two hours before the expected start time on Wednesday.  


Thousands of people jammed Waimea Bay hoping for a glimpse of the world’s top surfers riding monster waves, but organizers called off the event when the storm swells faded. 


World Surf League broadcaster Kaipo Guerrero says the forecast models indicated the storm traveled north toward the West Coast. 


“We were expecting a double extra-large swell for the Eddie, and within the last, I’m going to say, 12 hours, the storm both dissipated and deviated from its track,” he says. 

Quiksilver event director Glen Moncata says the storm they were tracking to bring the huge swells looked promising until Tuesday. 


“This one kind of fooled every major forecaster in Hawai‘i,” Moncata says. “You know yesterday we were all dancing and going yeah, it’s coming, it’s coming, and then to wake up this morning at three o’clock in the morning and listen to and look at the reports … I figured that the buoys broke, something broke, because this couldn’t happen … it just didn’t show up.”


Moncata, who has been with the contest since its inception 31 years ago, admitted he was disappointed. The Eddie requires wave-face heights of 35 to 40 feet. 


“We’ve run it eight-and-a-half times, I’ve been here 40 different times thinking we were gonna run,” Moncata says. 


There’s still a chance the Eddie will go off if the conditions are right. The holding period continues until late this month. 


“We got until the 28th to run it, and if not, then we just try again next year,” Guerrero says. 


Thousands of people had begun to gather on O‘ahu’s North Shore when the contest was postponed. Spectator Damon Kakalia says he tries to watch the Eddie every year. 


“This is one of the special years, you know?” Kakalia says. “You just make your way out, enjoy it like everybody else for what it is, and you know the community come together and represent how they feel and come for a purpose to support the family, Eddie Aikau and his family.”