PHOTOS: Monster surf continues on Oahu’s North Shore. Aikau contest crowns a winner.by: Chris Bailey and Derek Paiva
posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 04:33 PM
Surf fans around the world kept their eyes on Oahu’s North Shore yesterday as the biggest waves in decades pounded Hawaii’s most famous surf breaks, and a prestigious big wave competition got the green light for the first time in five years.
Wave faces of 35 to 45 feet yesterday morning finally proved ideal for The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Invitational to stage its first surf contest since 2004. The surf contest, named after famed North Shore surfer and lifeguard Eddie Aikau, requires Waimea Bay waves at least 40 feet tall along the face—or front side. They were. And then some.
Yesterday's Aikau event was only the eighth time the competition has been held since its inaugural contest in 1985. It was also the first time the contest had been streamed live in its entirety online for big wave fans around the world to watch.
By day's end, the Eddie Aikau contest even had a first-time-winner to add to its short list of champions: 26-year-old Californian Greg Long (pictured above).
Though peak wave heights on Oahu’s North Shore yesterday ultimately fell a bit short of the 50-foot-plus surf the National Weather Service had predicted, big waves were in plentiful enough supply for the prestigious contest, also known as “The Eddie," to chalk up a great day. Organizers of the Aikau contest said that the 48 hours of big waves on Monday and Tuesday were the largest sustained surf episode to hit the Hawaiian Islands in 40 years.
Thousands of spectators stormed the beachfront and roadside overlooking Waimea Bay before daybreak to snag prime viewing spots, as a who's who of the world’s most famous big-wave riders took to the monster surf through the afternoon.
The Eddie Aikau contest’s invitation-only list of 28 big-name professional wave riders from Hawaii, the Mainland U.S. and around the world included Kelly Slater, Bruce Irons, Andy Irons and Sunny Garcia.
Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Eddie Aikau big wave contest begins with 45-foot North Shore Oahu surf. Watch it live online.
Eddie Aikau big wave contest waiting on expected Hawaii monster surf this week
Holding period starts for Hawaii’s prestigious Eddie Aikau big-wave surfing contest