In a press release issued Monday, Quiksilver and the Aikau family say they have amicably resolved their differences, ensuring that the 2016-2017 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational holding period begins Dec. 1.
Officials say Quiksilver and the Aikau family have worked constructively together for the past several weeks in an effort to avoid interrupting the event’s 31-year track record. With the support of the World Surf League (WSL), which will produce the event and manage the broadcast and media, the event will proceed.
“We are proud to see the tradition of The Eddie continue without interruption, a testament to our respect for Eddie Aikau, the Aikau family, the Hawaiian people, and the community at large. We are very grateful for the efforts and support of the Aikau family and the World Surf League under the leadership of Paul Speaker who have all worked very hard with our team over the past few weeks to come up with a solution,” said Pierre Agnes, Quiksilver’s CEO. “Consistent with Quiksilver and the Aikau family’s wishes, we are pleased to confirm that the same stringent condition requirements we instituted when we inaugurated The Eddie 31 years ago will continue this year. We have every confidence that WSL’s greater involvement in the event this year will only improve The Eddie’s reputation as one of the world’s premier surfing contests.”
Beginning in 1985, the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational has been an invite-only big-wave event that takes place at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu, where the late Eddie Aikau served as the North Shore’s first lifeguard. Opting only to run when conditions reach the 20-foot-plus range (Hawaiian scale 40- to 50-foot faces), The Eddie has only run nine times in its history.
Aikau’s surviving brothers and sister, Solomon, Clyde and Myra, say they’re relieved all parties involved were able to overcome logistical and other obstacles that stood in the way of the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational being held this year in a manner that would maintain the integrity and Hawaiian spirit of the competition.
“It was all about the family and the tradition, and I think once everyone realized that hey, it has nothing to do with money, that’s when they stepped up and made it happen,” said Mike Prickett, an Aikau family friend and negotiator.
An opening ceremony will commence at Waimea Bay on Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. with the contest holding period extending to Feb. 28, 2017. A significant number of the world’s greatest big-wave surfers will gather to show their respect for one of their heroes, Eddie Aikau.
New this year, with women’s surfing reaching new heights, the Aikaus announced their decision to include Kauai big wave surfer Keala Kennelly on this year’s alternate list, the first female invited in the history of The Eddie.
John John Florence
1985/1986 : Denton Miyamura (Haw)
1986/1987 : Clyde Aikau (Haw)
1989/1990 : Keone Downing (Haw)
1998/1999 : Noah Johnson (Haw)
2000/2001 : Ross Clarke-Jones (Aus)
2004/2005 : Bruce Irons (Haw)
2001/2002 : Kelly Slater (USA)
2009/2010 : Greg Long (USA)
2015/2016 : John John Florence