With Eddie on, work goes by the wayside
Thursday was an unofficial holiday for many Hawaii workers who were glued to their screens watching big-wave surfers take off on monster swells in one of the world’s mostprominent surfing contests.
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Thursday was an unofficial holiday for many Hawaii workers who were glued to their screens watching big-wave surfers take off on monster swells in one of the world’s most prominent surfing contests.
The Waimea Bay competition in memory of Eddie Aikau drew thousands of spectators and many more residents who were live-streaming the contest from their computers at work.
“I personally was watching it before and after my classes today, and some students had their laptops in the classroom. I personally was not as productive as I would’ve been (if the contest was not on),” said Eric Mais, professor of finance at the University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business. “If you’re watching the surf contest online, you’re probably not getting as much work done.”
Jessica Bryant, a 28-year-old teacher at Kapunahala Elementary School in Kaneohe, learned a bit of history as she streamed the contest on her laptop during recess and at lunch.
“It’s just exciting because of the history behind it. We were looking up Eddie Aikau, what he did and how awesome he was,” she said. “You’re kind of in awe when you watch these surfers out there on these huge waves. It doesn’t happen every year, so that’s exciting, too. It’s cool that like everyone around the world can watch it.”
Hawaiian Telcom spokeswoman Ann Nishida said the company saw significantly more Internet traffic due to the contest.
“We definitely did see higher Internet traffic. Some customers have reported intermittent delays,” she said. “You can think of it like rush-hour traffic. Traffic might move at a slower pace, but it depends on what you’re trying to do.”
The spike in high-definition video streaming slowed down computers at some workplaces and maxed out Internet bandwidth — a computer network’s transmission capacity.
“If there are a lot of people watching high-definition videos on certain Wi-Fi networks, it would certainly bog it down,” Mais said. “I’m sure that happened today.”
Honolulu Star-Advertiser website traffic was up more than 40 percent.
Hawaii News Now also saw a huge spike in online viewers.
“We’ve passed a million hits today, which in perspective is very big for us,” said Nicole Bento, Hawaii News Now digital content director. “Normally we’re excited to get about that in a week. The Eddie is definitely driving our traffic. The Internet’s really slow because everyone’s watching it.”
Oceanic Time Warner Cable executives monitored the local network throughout the day and did not have any congestion problems, said Norman Santos, vice president of engineering.
Likewise, Todd Nacapuy, the state’s chief information officer, said the government network had no outages Thursday. The state pulled the plug last year on employees who watch Netflix, Hulu and other online video services on their work computers, though some state workers said they were still able to watch the Eddie.
Shannon Lewis, a 39-year-old Ewa Beach resident, was off from work Thursday, but her plan to run errands was foiled by the event.
“When I saw it this morning, I just couldn’t leave the TV,” she said. “I’m supposed to be running errands … but I’m glued to the TV. I’m just amazed.”