The Eddie is one of a kind, much like the man to whom it pays tribute. Held at Waimea, the event needs consistent 20ft plus faces to get the green light, and as a result has only been run eight times in 30 years. When conditions do align, the spectacle is enthralling and first prize can be considered the zenith of any big wave surfer's career.
The holding period for the event begins on December 1, 2013, and concludes on February 28, 2014. The official Opening Ceremony with the Aikau Family will be held on Thursday, December 5th, 3pm, at Waimea Bay.
After opening the selection process up to peer polling for another year, there has been much movement on the alternate list, but only one newcomer to the invitee list: the North Shore's own Aaron Gold, 31. A dedicated father, quiet charger and shaper of his own big wave 'guns', Gold is precisely the kind of surfer who Eddie would have hand-picked.
Aaron has been riding The Bay since he was around 13 years of age, but only emerged on the international scene during the past two years. Memorable performances at venues like Jaws and Cortes have been captured by the media, though many times with Aaron only being recognized as an "Unidentified" surfer. Driven purely by a love for riding big waves, with no sponsors to his name, Aaron Gold will no longer go unrecognised.
"It's hard to put into words," said an elated Gold when hearing of his Invitation. "My whole life, growing up as a kid here in Hawaii, that's the ultimate prize, to be invited to the Eddie. When you get that invite, it's like you've accomplished what you set out for. Crazy dream. Dream come true for sure.
"I paddled out at Waimea for the first time when I was about 12 or 13. I was riding like a 7'0" and it was the biggest board in the world to me. I just got annihilated. Just got blown up and thought I was going to die, and from that point it turned me to really want to surf big waves. That started my love for (Waimea) and it's really a special place for me."
To me, (Eddie) is somebody that did it because he loved it. At that time it wasn't about money or anything else. That's where his peaceful place was and that's what he loved to do. Between that and his family - always prioritizing those things - to me that's what it's about. If at the end of the day you can influence lives in the next generation, I'd be so blessed to be able to do that.Aaron Gold
"To me, (Eddie) is somebody that did it because he loved it. At that time it wasn't about money or anything else. That's where his peaceful place was and that's what he loved to do. Between that and his family - always prioritizing those things - to me that's what it's about. If at the end of the day you can influence lives in the next generation, I'd be so blessed to be able to do that."
About Eddie Aikau:
Just 31 years of age when he was lost at sea during an ill-fated voyage of Hawaii's Hokule'a double-hull sailing canoe in 1978, Aikau was a young man at the height of a career equally dedicated to big-wave riding and lifeguarding at historic Waimea Bay. Filled with a pure passion to ride giant surf, take care of his fellow man, and uphold his Hawaiian culture and family values, Aikau became the benchmark by which all big wave riders are measured.
To view the full list of Invitees & Alternates, please visit Eddie Aikau 2014