The family of surfing legend Eddie Aikau said today the big wave contest named in his honor won’t be held this season.
The withdrawal of the contest’s sponsor, Quiksilver, and problems quickly getting a permit forced the move, said Cynthia Scrima, a family spokeswoman.
The Aikaus eventually obtained a permit for the event from Honolulu’s Department of Parks and Recreation. But Scrima said they don’t have sufficient time and resources to plan and hold the event this winter.
“It really is the most prestigious surf contest in the world. And we did not want to compromise that because it ultimately would be compromising Eddie’s integrity to not do something proper,” Scrima said.
The family hopes to hold “The Eddie” during the 2018-2019 season. Scrima said the Aikaus have already applied for a permit for next season and have been searching for a new lead sponsor.
Scrima said it took longer for the organizers to get up to speed with permitting because Quiksilver wasn’t involved. She said Quiksilver handled the permit application process in previous years. Scrima said the city has “been fantastic” since the permit paperwork got to the right people.
The contest, which is held in Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28, attracts top surfers from around the world. But it’s only called when waves reach heights of at least 20 feet. The waves must also roll in consistently at that size. The contest has been called just nine times since its founding in 1984.
It honors Eddie Aikau, a Waimea Bay lifeguard and waterman. He died in 1978 at the age of 31 after the Hokulea, a traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe he was on, capsized en route from Hawaii to Tahiti. Aikau paddled on his surfboard to get help, but never returned. The rest of the crew was rescued soon after.