It’s Wednesday evening, January 20, 2011. There is excitement in the air as we watch the 10:00 o’clock news to see if the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Surf Competition would go.Eddie Aikau was a North Shore waterman and lifeguard known for his gutsy prominence in huge waves. Some years ago, Eddie Aikau was part of a crew of Hawaiian sailors aboard the double-hulled Hokulea sailing canoe, which was on its way to Tahiti from Oahu, when it got into trouble. Eddie volunteered to paddle his surfboard, with no land in sight, to try and get help. His board was found later but his body was never recovered. Thus the catchphrase, “Eddie Would Go,” is well known among surfers and the general public in Hawaii and the world, signifying the ultimate courage a man could achieve.My son is reminding me that I promised him I would take him to this event this year, if it was going to go.
The surf report is encouraging. There may be the minimum 20 foot waves with 40 foot faces, a requirement to run the Eddie, by early tomorrow morning! The ball is rolling. Now we have to make preparations for the trek out to the North Shore of Oahu with thousands of others who hope to see the worlds’ top surfers ride the mountain size waves at the planet’s most famous surf spot.We know that to avoid traffic and to get any sort of parking we would need to leave at 3:00 am. Since I live on the east side of the island, it is about an hour drive. The kids would have to miss school. But this is an opportunity that we vowed not to miss this year. We blew it in 2009, which was the first time “the Eddie” went since 2006. We decide to go and take our chances. We get up at 3:00 am, I pack some food, towels and sunscreen. Wake up my 13 year old son and 10 year old daughter. They are very groggy, but manage to get themselves together and get to the car. We are on our way. We are still not sure if the Eddie Aikau surf meet would go, but now we are committed either way.
One hour later, we are on the North shore. The feeling is somewhat surreal. It is still dark and we are trying to see the waves, we pass a few surf spots, we can smell the salt water being churned up by the ocean waves, we can hear the waves rolling like thunder, we are getting excited. As we get closer to Waimea Bay we start to see people walking and cars are starting to line up along the side of the road. We decide we to park here, lest we are not able find something closer. We gather our belongings and start our trek down Kamehameha Highway. It is cold, dark and rainy.
We are about 1 mile from the Bay. As we near Waimea Bay we start to notice that there are people that have been camping out all night on the ridge. We head toward the beach, Quiksilver, the main sponsor for this event, has set up the event tower and crews having been working all night. But, would “the Eddie” go? It’s still sketchy they are monitoring the bouys, we should know by 7:00, they tell us, the sun is starting to break through the clouds, we are able to see some monster waves roll in. What an awesome sight. My husband is at home monitoring the news and giving us updates. 7:00 o’clock comes and goes and still no decision. We are now told 8:00 am.
While the waves are awesome, and the conditions are clean, it doesn’t seem consistent enough, to run this amazing surf meet. My friend calls me around 8:00 to find out if it’s going to go, if so, he’s taking the day off and heading to the North Shore to check it out, as so many others that I have overheard talking have done. Finally 8:30, as we were starting to suspect, the waves just weren’t consistent enough for the surf meet to happen.Well, was it all just a waste of time? No way! We saw some of the most epic surf you will ever see. Living in Hawaii, where the weather is always beautiful, and there is always surf somewhere, we need to take advantage of these privileges and enjoy! We stayed on the beach until around 1:00 PM, and then headed to Cholo’s in Haleiwa for some Mexican food for lunch before heading back to town. Before we even got out of Haleiwa, my two kids were knocked out for the long ride home.