The Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Competition
December 8, 2009 7:01 AM   Subscribe

The Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Competition, an invitation-only surfing event held when the ocean is at its fiercest, is poised to start at any moment. In its 25-year history, it has been held only seven times, the last in 2004 – and can be called at a moments notice. This time around, surfers are expecting the biggest wave of their generation.

“I’m stoked,” said Greg Long, 26, a surfer from Southern California. “If it happens,” he said of the predicted swell, “it’s going to be the most exciting big-wave event in the history of the sport.”

Eddie Aikau was a well-known Hawaiian lifeguard and surfer who disappeared while rescuing surfers at Waimea Bay in 1978. He has since become a legend to the surfing community.

Check out the Waimea Bay surf report and sign up for a text alert so you don't miss any of the action.
posted by pwally (64 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I really wish this was covered live on TV the way football is. It's not easy for a surf fan in the Midwest to get much big wave action.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:10 AM on December 8, 2009


No way Bell's is bigger than Waimea, bra.

This is very cool.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:15 AM on December 8, 2009


You're sayin' the FBI's gonna pay me to learn to surf?
posted by bpm140 at 7:16 AM on December 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


Huh. I guess they'll be deciding in about 1h44m whether the event is on for today.
posted by Perplexity at 7:16 AM on December 8, 2009


Big wave surfing is for macho assholes


ow! Who threw that?
posted by dmt at 7:17 AM on December 8, 2009


Eddie would go.
posted by uaudio at 7:19 AM on December 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


So, no girls allowed I guess?
posted by adamms222 at 7:50 AM on December 8, 2009


“I’m stoked,” said Greg Long, 26, a surfer from Southern California.

I guess some stereotypes really are deserved.
posted by kmz at 8:08 AM on December 8, 2009


According to his Wikipedia page, he did not disappear while rescuing surfers at Waimea Bay in 1978, he disappeared during an open-boat voyage retracing the ancient route of the Polynesian migration between the Hawaiian and Tahitian island chains.
posted by mbatch at 8:09 AM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


disappeared while rescuing surfers at Waimea Bay in 1978.

The Wikipedia link says that while he was a lifeguard in rough waters who saved many lives, he disappeared during an attempt to follow ancient Polynesian migration routes between Hawaii and Tahiti.

In my mind is the movie Surf's Up--maybe he made it to some unknown cove where he's living happily by himself.
posted by eye of newt at 8:11 AM on December 8, 2009


Mmm... Hale`iwa. I would go to a place I know there and eat lau lau platter and drink Kona coffee at that little coffee shop. Instead, I'm getting snowed in in Nebraska. FML.
posted by PsychoTherapist at 8:12 AM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Surf Report says it's cancelled when I checked the link. Too bad.
posted by empyrean at 8:12 AM on December 8, 2009


Whatever your opinion of modern surfing and surfers is, Eddie was and will continue to be an inspiration to many.
posted by uaudio at 8:13 AM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Surf Report says it's cancelled when I checked the link. Too bad.

Not canceled, just not "on" yet. It's "off" until it's "on"... if that makes sense.
posted by pwally at 8:15 AM on December 8, 2009


Actually it's kind of like a light switch. You can't cancel a light switch.
posted by pwally at 8:17 AM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can anyone point me to an explanation of why the waves get so big there?
posted by onhazier at 8:18 AM on December 8, 2009


Holy crap, 30-40 feet.

Waimea is crazy. I used to go swimming there, and the shorebreak was often over ten feet.
posted by mullingitover at 8:19 AM on December 8, 2009


PsychoTherapist: "I would go to a place I know there and eat lau lau platter and drink Kona coffee at that little coffee shop."

No forget da shave ice and da loco moko. Ono grinds, brah.
posted by mullingitover at 8:27 AM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


You're sayin' the FBI's gonna pay me to learn to surf?

Whoa!
posted by Who_Am_I at 8:27 AM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


A lot of the surfers invited to this are also on the invite list for Mavericks, and they voted to not hold Mavericks (yet), which was also under consideration for being held today.

That's some syntax you got there, rtha. Maybe you should drink more coffee.

I grew up in Hawaii, and grew up going to the surfing competitions on the North Shore. From the footage I've seen in recent years, the beach looks completely different from the way it did when I was a kid. And I feel a little faint when I see the waves these guys ride, remembering how all us kids would be body surfing in the (slightly smaller) surf close to shore while 20-footers were breaking farther out. I got washing-machined more times than I care to think about, but I don't remember my mom, or anybody else's mom, telling us to get out of the water.

Maybe I'll watch Riding Giants or Step Into Liquid again.

Looks like Peahi (aka Jaws, off the Maui coast) is also breaking open today.
posted by rtha at 8:28 AM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also - water temp 79-82 degrees F! I've forgotten what that's like. Living as I do in San Francisco, I know I'm never going to learn to board surf - the water here's too damn cold.
posted by rtha at 8:30 AM on December 8, 2009


This is pretty slick, and perfect for those of us waiting for a foot or more of snow in Wisconsin. Or not. *cries*

Thanks for sharing this -- I wouldn't have seen it otherwise!
posted by Madamina at 8:32 AM on December 8, 2009


Massive Monday covered over at Surfline.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:41 AM on December 8, 2009


Can anyone point me to an explanation of why the waves get so big there?

The short, no-detail answer is that there's nothing between the north shore of Oahu and Japan, or Alaska. The wind has thousands of miles across which to blow, and make waves, and when the waves get close to shallower water (like near Hawaii) they rise up like gods and try to invade the land.

Particular surf spots get to be surf spots by having certain kinds of underwater features that encourage the kinds of waves that form surfable breaks.
posted by rtha at 8:43 AM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


A lot of the surfers invited to this are also on the invite list for Mavericks, and they voted to not hold Mavericks (yet), which was also under consideration for being held today.

So I guess people have to commit to one or the other? That would suck to choose wrong.
posted by smackfu at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2009


“I’m stoked,” said Greg Long, 26, a surfer from Southern California.

I guess some stereotypes really are deserved.
posted by kmz at 4:08 PM


That was a common phrase where I grew up - in Encinitas. I went to the same high school as Brad Gerlach and Rob Machado. In fact, I helped Brad's sister with her math.

This was a high school where you could opt to go surfing for your physical education requirement. We all said "Dude" and "stoked" and "bro" and "aggro" and "chyeah" and "gnarly"
But never "cowabunga"
posted by vacapinta at 8:47 AM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Looks like it's on. I think I'll go watch it.
posted by scottymac at 8:52 AM on December 8, 2009


mullingitover, that's about the size of it. I wish I could speak Hawai`ian Pidgin, but I don't. I do understand it a bit. I mean, I know the obvious stuff like keiki or kama`aina or howzit, but not a hell of a lot else.
posted by PsychoTherapist at 8:55 AM on December 8, 2009


here is a live report.
posted by vronsky at 9:03 AM on December 8, 2009


This reminds me of this wonderful video
posted by pziemba at 9:06 AM on December 8, 2009


Condition Black

On January 28, 1998, a monster weather system slammed into Oahu's north shore. The Coast Guard called a Condition Black -- all access to the water denied. It was every surfer's dream and nightmare combined, playing and replaying on a seemingly endless loop, as colossal waves up to 40 feet high surged over the beaches of Oahu in a monstrous, unstoppable procession. The stunning footage, some recorded on IMAX film, the stories of the surfers, and the storm itself form the breathtaking core of CONDITION BLACK.

The surfers had a few days' notice because a fierce storm forming off the coast of Japan was forecast to move eastward and toss huge waves ahead of it toward the Hawaiian Islands. Quickly, a buzz electrified the worldwide surfing network. It seemed like a perfect opportunity for the Eddie Aikau Memorial big-wave surfing competition, an event held on an ad hoc basis, when conditions warrant it, in honor of a local lifeguard who lost his life trying to rescue an endangered canoeing team in rough waters. But instead of the ideal, the surfers were confronted with the extreme. A combination of natural forces had intensified the effects of the storm, producing conditions that even the most experienced surfers had never seen before.
posted by vronsky at 9:12 AM on December 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


The Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Competition, an invitation-only surfing event

is it pathetic that i read this and thought "there's an internet surfing contest? i wonder how that works."
posted by nathancaswell at 9:26 AM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


You have to max out the biggest bandwidth known to man while playing large screen tetris and earning a steady rate of favorites on MetaFilter. It can't be done, man, it can't be done.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:34 AM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


is it pathetic that i read this and thought "there's an internet surfing contest?

Haha not pathetic but awesome.. someone should organize one of these.
posted by pwally at 9:37 AM on December 8, 2009


They're playing the wipeout reel right now. So, so painful.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:44 AM on December 8, 2009


Latest report is that the event is on.
posted by CancerMan at 9:50 AM on December 8, 2009


Event starting right now, with a massive set. Watch live now here.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:58 AM on December 8, 2009


IT'S ON!
posted by pwally at 10:03 AM on December 8, 2009


Can anybody explain why these huge waves come in sets? Why wouldn't there be greater consistency in terms of size?

As I watch this it looks like there are these long breaks between massive waves and I would just be interested in the physics/environmental conditions that lead to this happening.
posted by ghostpony at 10:25 AM on December 8, 2009


it's on, or so the radio said on the way to work this morning. Mrs. Lex says she's going to try to head out there (the traffic will be nuts) -- maybe I'll have pictures later today.
posted by lex mercatoria at 10:27 AM on December 8, 2009


Epic. Truly man against nature...
posted by zpousman at 10:33 AM on December 8, 2009


Why do waves come in sets?
posted by iamkimiam at 10:48 AM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the next day or so, 30-foot to 50-foot wave faces are possible, according to the National Weather Service, the type of prediction that sends professional wave-riders into an extremely mellow frenzy.

A classic oxymoron.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:48 AM on December 8, 2009


Looks like Eddie's helped contribute to wash out Mavericks which is too bad, 'cause not only is it as dangerous as Waimea, it also has its own unique hazards and rep NorCal, brah!.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:00 AM on December 8, 2009


Eh, Mavericks isn't a wash (yet). The contest window is open until March, so (knock wood) they'll have more opportunities. And I can't blame them for voting to go to Eddie, which has been held so rarely, and where the water is much, much warmer.
posted by rtha at 11:22 AM on December 8, 2009


I can't believe Kelly Slater stuck that. Unreal.
posted by rtha at 11:27 AM on December 8, 2009


Note: it's Quiksilver, not Quick! (I can't remember if it was Quiksilver or another brand, but I went to school with the daughter of the founders).

And there's nothing wrong saying 'stoked!' I say it all the time, but then like vacapinta, I was born into it (O'side, though, not Encinitas).
posted by librarylis at 11:44 AM on December 8, 2009


This is awesome, thank you. Really digging how they list the musical artists they play during their promos too.
posted by june made him a gemini at 11:44 AM on December 8, 2009


You know it's bad when you're standing up, riding down the wave, but it's pulling you backwards up the face.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2009


Vid' feed is pretty snappy. There goes my work day...
posted by Lukenlogs at 12:08 PM on December 8, 2009


I'm leaving Honolulu in about 10 minutes to drive up to Sunset and jockey for a parking place so I can hopefully catch some of this...caught the last one in 2004 and it was awesome.
posted by motown missile at 12:24 PM on December 8, 2009


but it's pulling you backwards up the face.

Yeah, no kidding, right? It's pulling you back up the face, but it's still chasing you, and if (when) you fall, the whole building-sized wave is going to fall on top of you. Crazy.
posted by rtha at 2:28 PM on December 8, 2009


Ya shoulda been here yesterday ... LOL.

I'm watching the streaming event right now http://live.quiksilver.com/2009/bigwave/live.php?btn_live=_over - but YESTERDAY was on Waimea beach (and up at the Heiau lookout). That was really was RAW ugly surf. Man-eating waves. Even Slater said, "ShanO is probably bored out there - he was riding 30 foot waves all yesterday."

(Side note: love the streaming today: get to see Slater's abs and watch Flea - RHCP Flea - charging. Very cool)

Here is my post for yesterday :
After lunch I went down to Waimea beach to lounge and watch (I had to park at the 'tower' church and walk across the 'river' area). Then I went back up to the road and watched till sunset. Absolutely breathtaking.

It seemed to get bigger and bigger. (Slater said today that he was watching at the end of the day and saw three 25 foot sets in a row). At sunset the skidoo (lifeguards) went out and either dragged in or herded in the rest of the lineup (see vid below) -- the last few sets were the biggest (crazy big) The crowd standing on the road by the church tower) was wild -- cheering and hooting. Every surfer got cheers and applause when they made it back to sand. (and there were some exits that just brought out gasps from us all)

The vid on this page is the best (scariest) ...
http://surf.transworld.net/photos/waimea-bay-rocked-by-biggest-swell-in-years/

... I was watching that skidoo rescue (standing almost where this photographer was?!) -- that surfer nearly drifted all the way past the big jumping rock; he paddled against the current and in white water forever (lifeguards w/mic were giving instructions from shore - 'paddle out to middle and we will be out to get you')

And did everyone see this vid (Tom's injury)? (AP)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhYHU4LSnpY&feature=player_embedded

AND (this one is an early morning vid) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB0cqA0Fvxk

My pics (from cell ph) are pretty lame - http://twitpic.com/sndzd (also on my flickr
page) Wish I had a good camera!

BTW -- someone made the funniest tweet of the day: "Going to north shore at dawn. ROAD TRIP!!"

Only in Hawai'i would a 25 mile trek be called 'road trip'! To be fair it is a 4 hour trip -- a3 of them in the traffic jam. But it was a FUN jam yesterday - everyone hanging out of cars, talking to other drivers and ppl walking by. Like one big all-day party.

That wide white water coast is Hawai'i's winter symbol -- our 'snow'.
posted by Surfurrus at 3:08 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


watch Flea - RHCP Flea - charging

I think their Flea is a different one. But he is famous for taking the worst wipeout ever!
posted by smackfu at 3:41 PM on December 8, 2009


whoops -- that Flea is the santa cruz guy
posted by Surfurrus at 3:46 PM on December 8, 2009


And Greg Long of California took the day with a perfect 100-score late in the day. I didn't see that one coming - last time I tuned in it was Kelly Slater and Jamie O'Brien.

I'm still looking for a video of his wave.

Today I had to watch from my computer. Next weekend I'll be setting my okole front and center on the beach for Pipeline. I guess I'll be seeing some of you up there ...
posted by kanewai at 6:55 PM on December 8, 2009


Here's the recap on Surfline, with video of the best rides & worst wipeouts.
posted by gimli at 5:29 AM on December 9, 2009


this post kicked ass. I watched these guys all day, on and off, and the undulating blue Pacific calmed my mind on an incredibly stressful day. thanks, pwally!
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:18 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


In case anyone's counting, a video showed up of the incredible drop that won Greg Long the contest.

I really, really wish the video kept going and showed him coming out of it, which he apparently did, since he won, but I can hardly believe that anyone could remain standing in that.
posted by nosila at 8:03 AM on December 9, 2009


Gimli's link has a slightly-better video of that particular wave toward the end of the bodacious slideshow.
posted by nosila at 8:15 AM on December 9, 2009


I love seeing the shadow of the board on the wave in some of the bigger freefall drops. I'm looking at YOU, Andy Irons.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:16 AM on December 9, 2009


Yeah, caught this yesterday on the web ... and after moving to SF from The North Shore, it was really fun to see.

Now all we need is for Mav's to line up right.
posted by Relay at 2:01 PM on December 9, 2009


I was there. I know nothing about surfing, but how often do you get to see an event which *only* happens when there are 40-foot waves? It was amazing.

Surfurrus described the traffic well -- both yesterday and today. We parked about a mile and a half away, near Chun's Reef, and walked to Waimea. On the way, we chatted with a guy in a pickup truck, since the traffic was generally going at the same speed we were. Eventually, we decided to race each other to the event (we won, without needing to accelerate past an amble).

Bearing in mind I know nothing about surfing, Greg Long totally deserved to win it. He looked like he was nailed to that damn board.
posted by kyrademon at 5:52 PM on December 9, 2009


Pipeline Masters, LIVE cam!

This has been an awesome week of surfing.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:23 PM on December 10, 2009


« Older At This Museum I Damaged Navid Nuur's Art   |   Big Investigations from Little ACORNs Grow Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments