One of the world’s most extraordinary surfing competitions is planned to take place this Sunday, January 22nd at Waimea Bay on Oahu’s north shore — The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational. Very precise and somewhat rare wave conditions must be met in order to run “The Eddie.” Assuming the wave forecasts are are correct, this will only be the tenth time this invitational competition runs since it began more than three decades ago. The last time this contest ran was in 2016.
The Eddie competition is a tribute to Eddie Aikau who is Hawaii’s most legendary lifeguard. He was the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay. Credited with saving over 500 people, Eddie Aikau bravely risked his own life many times to rescue others. He was truly a hero. Tragically, at the age of 31, he was lost at sea while seeking help for a capsized canoe in 1978. Watch the following short video that gives a brief overview about Eddie Aikau and this competition.
Officials have been tracking this incoming ocean swell for three weeks and they are fairly certain that all the conditions for the competition will be met. Surf heights must consistently reach 20 feet or higher at Waimea Bay for The Eddie. The forecast predicts swells of 25 to 30 feet per the local, Hawaiian scale, which translates to 50 to 60 feet on the international scale.
Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to converge on Waimea Bay in the hopes of witnessing this exceptional event. The road that leads to Waimea Bay, Kamehameha Highway, is only a two-lane road, so traffic will be incredibly heavy and parking will be extremely difficult. Special bus services and shuttle services to Waimea Bay will be provided.