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‘The Eddie’ is a go for Sunday

STAR-ADVERTISER
                                The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave surfing contest was held at Waimea Bay in February 2016. The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay is a go for Sunday, according to Clyde Aikau.
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STAR-ADVERTISER

The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave surfing contest was held at Waimea Bay in February 2016. The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay is a go for Sunday, according to Clyde Aikau.

The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay is a go for Sunday, according to Clyde Aikau.

“All indications look that it’s going to be an epic day at Waimea,” Aikau said this morning.

Aikau, the younger brother of Eddie Aikau and director of the Eddie Aikau Foundation, said the event will also be held in remembrance of their brother, Solomon Aikau III, 74, who died in October and Roy “China” Uemura, 68, a Waikiki beachboy and surf contest organizer, who died earlier this month.

Forty surfers — 34 men and six women— were invited to participate in the prestigious contest. It will be the first time women will be competing in The Eddie, a one-day event scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

Organizers had planned to hold the event on Jan. 11 but canceled it due to changes in wind and swell conditions.

The contest runs when surf heights consistently reach 20 feet in Hawaii-style measurements (40-foot faces).

Tom Birchard, senior forecaster of the National Weather Service, said an extra large northwest swell is expected to arrive Saturday night or Sunday morning and peak during the day. Surf heights of 40-foot faces and potentially higher is predicted.

Wind conditions also look ideal for surfing with light to moderate easterly trade winds, Birchard said.

The surf contest is named after Eddie Aikau, a big-wave champion surfer and lifeguard who rescued more than 500 people on Oahu’s North Shore.

Aikau, 32, was a crew member aboard the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule’a when the crew ran into rough waters on the night of March 16, 1978.

The canoe capsized between Oahu and Molokai hours after leaving Oahu for its second Tahitian voyage.

The next morning, Aikau used his surfboard to seek help for his crew members. He estimated Lanai was some miles away and paddled out with a bag of oranges, life jacket and strobe light.

That was the last time he was seen.

That night, the Coast Guard rescued Aikau’s fellow crew members about 15 miles off of Molokai after a pilot of a Hawaiian Airlines flight spotted their flares.

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