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Massive waves arrive on Oahu's North Shore. 50-foot surf expected today.

But one casualty of yesterday’s large, yet inconsistent surf was The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Invitational. Organizers of the surf contest, which features an invitation-only guest list of big-name wave riders, had hoped for a Monday start at Waimea Bay on the heels of weekend predictions of massive North Shore surf.


Named after the famed North Shore surfer and lifeguard, the Eddie Aikau Invitational requires waves at least 40 feet tall along the face—or front side. The big wave competition has only happened seven times since its inaugural contest in 1985. The last time it was held was in December 2004, when waves at Waimea Bay peaked at 50 feet.

Organizers of the contest—also known as “The Eddie"—remained optimistic through last night. A message on the event’s official Web site at the time this article was posted read: “Next call 7:00 a.m. Tuesday HST. Big Swell Coming. EDDIE Would GO!”

Should you decide to “GO” to the North Shore of Oahu to see the massive surf for yourself, allow at least two to three hours of travel time from Waikiki and Honolulu. Traffic on Kamehameha Highway—the North Shore's main thoroughfare—was so slow moving yesterday that some spectators simply parked their cars anywhere there was roadside space and walked the distances to viewing spots.

Roads may also be closed to traffic if wave heights become too large. You can check if roads are open by calling the Hawaii Department of Transportation at (808) 587-2160.


The best distance from which to view the big surf safely once you arrive at the North Shore? It may sound like common sense, but the best advice is not to stand anywhere that’s wet. And that goes for whether you watch the waves from the beach or the roadside.

"If it’s wet, it’s in the ocean’s path,” says Jim Howe, operations chief of the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division.

Point taken.

Photos of big wave surf at Waimea Bay, 12/7/09, by David Croxford for HawaiiMagazine.com
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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Eddie Aikau big wave contest waiting on expected Hawaii monster surf this week
Hawaii’s big winter waves rolling into Oahu’s North Shore, high-surf warning under way
Hawaii’s winter surf: still massive

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