Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog


a close up of a wave on top of a mountain

This prestigious event, deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of Hawaiian surfing culture, transcends the boundaries of a mere sporting competition. It stands as a profound and heartfelt tribute to the legendary Hawaiian waterman and hero, Eddie Aikau, whose spirit continues to resonate with surf enthusiasts and ocean lovers across the globe.

Waimea Bay, with its sprawling golden sands and crystal-clear waters, transforms into a stage for this extraordinary gathering. Renowned for its monstrous and awe-inspiring waves, the bay has become synonymous with big wave surfing, attracting some of the most skilled and daring surfers from around the world. This year’s Eddie Aikau Invitational is particularly special, as it marks another chapter in the ongoing legacy of the event, which has captured the imaginations and hearts of the surfing community since its inception.

The story of Eddie Aikau is one woven with courage, selflessness, and an unbridled passion for the ocean. Born in Maui in 1946, Eddie grew up in a family deeply connected to the sea. His love for surfing emerged early, and he soon became known for his remarkable skill on the waves. Eddie’s prowess was not just limited to surfing; he was also a respected lifeguard, credited with saving countless lives on the North Shore of Oahu. His daring rescues at Waimea Bay, where he was the first official lifeguard, earned him a reputation as a fearless and dedicated guardian of the ocean. Learn more about Eddie’s life and his lasting impact on Hawaiian culture and surfing at the Eddie Aikau Foundation.

Eddie’s story reached a poignant and heroic climax in 1978 when he was lost at sea during an attempt to get help for his crew after their voyaging canoe, Hōkūleʻa, capsized in rough waters. This tragic event cemented Eddie’s status as a symbol of bravery and self-sacrifice, qualities that are celebrated each year at the Eddie Aikau Invitational.

The phrase “Eddie would go,” often associated with the event, has become a mantra in the surfing world, embodying the spirit of bravery, commitment, and respect for the power of the ocean. It reminds us that Eddie’s legacy is not just about surfing prowess but also about the values of courage and altruism.

As surfers from around the globe converge on Waimea Bay to compete in The Eddie, they pay homage not only to a great surfer but to a man who epitomized the true essence of the Hawaiian spirit – the spirit of Aloha. The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational is more than just a competition; it’s a celebration of a life lived with purpose and passion, a life that continues to inspire and resonate within the surfing community and beyond.

For more fascinating facts and statistics about the history of The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational and its significance in the world of big wave surfing, check out Surfline’s comprehensive coverage of the event. As we look forward to the thrilling spectacle that the Invitational promises to be, we remember the man whose courage and love for the ocean made this event a beacon for surfers and ocean enthusiasts worldwide.

Aloha and the Surfing Titans

February 10th, a day etched in the minds of many, beckons with the promise of 40-foot waves and the fearless souls ready to dance with them. This event, known colloquially as “Eddie would go,” isn’t just a championship; it’s a celebration of courage, skill, and the unbreakable bond between man and sea.

Last year’s champion, Luke Shepardson, a lifeguard and a symbol of aquatic safety, exemplifies the spirit of Eddie. His victory was not just a personal triumph but a testament to the values of vigilance and respect for the ocean, as reported by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Waimea Bay – The Stage of Legends

Waimea Bay, with its colossal waves, has always been more than a surf spot; it’s a place where legends are born and tales of heroism are woven into the fabric of the ocean. The bay, attracting millions of tourists annually, is a testament to the awe-inspiring power and beauty of nature.

The Legacy of Eddie Aikau

Eddie Aikau’s story is one of extraordinary bravery and an unyielding love for the ocean. A celebrated lifeguard, he made over 500 rescues at Waimea Bay, earning him the nickname “Towering Bull” for his ability to save lives in treacherous conditions without modern tools or jet skis. His tale is not just Hawaiian lore; it’s a narrative that resonates globally, inspiring countless individuals to embrace the spirit of Aloha and respect the ocean’s might.

The Eddie – A Global Phenomenon

The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational is more than a local event; it’s a global phenomenon, drawing eyes from across the world to witness the incredible feats of the surfers. For those unable to attend, the event will be broadcasted on ESPN2 and can be streamed online, making this extraordinary gathering accessible to all. Eddie’s global appeal is a testament to the universal allure of the ocean and the timeless fascination with the art of surfing. This prestigious competition brings together the crème de la crème of the surfing world, creating a spectacle of skill, courage, and the raw power of nature that resonates with viewers and enthusiasts from all corners of the globe.

The significance of The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational in the world of surfing cannot be overstated. It’s a unique event that demands waves of at least 40 feet in height, ensuring that only the most favorable conditions will see the competition proceed. This strict criterion means that The Eddie is not an annual guarantee but a rare and eagerly anticipated event, sometimes going years without taking place. The unpredictability adds to its allure, making each occurrence a historic and not-to-be-missed experience for both participants and spectators.

For those who can’t experience the thrill of The Eddie in person, the event’s broadcast on ESPN2 offers a window into this exhilarating world. The broadcasting of the event allows millions of viewers worldwide to partake in the excitement and drama of the competition. The live stream service provided by ESPN ensures that no matter where one is, as long as there’s an internet connection, they can be a part of this incredible event. Additionally, online streaming platforms like Surfline also offer comprehensive coverage, providing live feeds, expert commentary, and in-depth analysis, which enriches the viewing experience.

Moreover, the digital coverage of The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational extends beyond just the competition itself. It encompasses the stories of the surfers, the history of the event, and the legacy of Eddie Aikau. Surfing websites, sports news outlets, and social media platforms buzz with anticipation, sharing stories, predictions, and highlights, creating a global conversation that unites diverse audiences in their shared love for surfing and respect for the ocean.

The Eddie’s ability to draw international attention also shines a light on Hawaiian culture and the spirit of Aloha. It’s a platform that showcases not only the physical prowess required to tackle some of the world’s biggest waves but also the cultural significance of surfing in Hawaiian tradition and the enduring influence of Eddie Aikau’s legacy. The event is a reminder of the deep connection between the people of Hawaii and the sea, and it highlights the importance of respecting and understanding the ocean’s power.

To witness this spectacular event, viewers can tune into the live broadcast on ESPN2’s schedule or stream it online via ESPN’s website or app. For additional live coverage and insights, surfing enthusiasts can visit Surfline’s dedicated Eddie Aikau page for real-time updates and expert analysis.

In essence, The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational transcends geographical boundaries and cultural differences, bringing together a global community united by a shared passion for surfing, respect for the ocean’s might, and admiration for the brave surfers who ride its colossal waves. It’s an event that captures the spirit of adventure, the thrill of competition, and the reverence for nature that are at the heart of surfing culture worldwide.

Key Takeaways

  • Courage in the Face of the Giant. The event honors the bravery and spirit of both Eddie Aikau and the participating surfers.
  • Safety and Respect for the Ocean. Emphasizes the importance of ocean safety and the role of lifeguards like Luke Shepardson.
  • Cultural Heritage. Celebrates Hawaiian culture and traditions, keeping Eddie’s legacy alive.
  • Global Impact. Showcases the global reach and influence of this iconic Hawaiian event.

The Echoes of Aloha

As the waves of Waimea Bay crash onto the shore, they bring with them stories of bravery, tales of the sea, and the undying spirit of Eddie Aikau. This event is not just about surfing; it’s a pilgrimage for those who hold the ocean in their heart. It’s a reminder that in the vast, untamed waters, there lies a power that demands respect and a legacy that continues to inspire.

To delve deeper into the life and legend of Eddie Aikau, and to keep up with

the latest from The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, visit our dedicated coverage at Hawaii Eco Divers. Follow our Facebook page and Instagram @hawaiiecodivers for real-time updates and insights. Join us in celebrating the spirit of Aloha that Eddie embodied, a spirit that continues to guide and inspire surfers and ocean lovers around the world.