Google is getting ready to unveil a special doodle of surf legend Eddie Aikau on Saturday.
The doodle honors Aikau’s contribution to surfing and Hawaiian culture on his birthday, May 4.
Born on May 4, 1946, Aikau was a well-known Hawaiian lifeguard and surfer best known for his courage during the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s journey to Tahiti in 1978.
“Eddie’s story is incredible; his legacy lives on as much through his surfing accomplishments as with his service as a lifeguard,” Jessica Yu, the Google doodle team lead, said in an email. “His dedication to the lives of fellow human beings was obvious, exemplified by the ultimate sacrifice he made when trying to save his fellow crewmembers on the Hokuleʻa.
“When I lived in Hawaii, it was evident to me how important Eddie was to the local culture and community. With the Doodle, we wanted to honor Eddie and help even more people learn about his story and the values he stood for.”
The Hokule‘a, a double-hulled canoe, capsized off of Molokai, and after the crew spent the night in the ocean, Aikau, an expert waterman, volunteered to paddle out to get help the next morning. The crew was eventually rescued, but Aikau was never seen again. He was 31.
Aikau is also the namesake of “The Eddie,” the famous big wave surf contest on Oahu’s North Shore.
The doodle depicts a smiling Aikau looking out from the left side of a large wave with a surfer riding in its barrel, a lifeguard shack on the right, entwined in maile, and a yellow hibiscus flower at bottom right.
A team of illustrators and engineers regularly creates Google doodles — spontaneous changes to the Google logo — to celebrate holidays and notable events as well as the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists.