The Eddie – Surfing’s Biggest Crown
The surf world’s biggest and most glorified prize is The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, also known simply as “The Eddie.” This big wave surf competition pays homage to Eddie Aikau, a famous Hawaiian lifeguard and big wave surfer, and is always hosted at Waimea Bay on the north shore of Oahu.
The contest requires conditions of clean surf with wave heights of around 40 foot faces. This means that the contest does not happen every year, and in fact, has only happened 9 times since the inaugural event in 1984. The last contest was held in 2016.
On January 22, 2023, the tenth Eddie was held. When this event goes off, a lot of us here on Kauai will be glued to the television for the day, watching with awe as the world’s best big wave surfers congregate at Waimea Bay and put on one of the best shows you will ever see. This year’s winner was Luke Shepardson, a local lifeguard who received approved breaks from his lifeguarding shifts in order to compete. The competition itself is a tribute to the life and lifeguarding dedication of Eddie Aikau, so to have its champion be a lifeguard, literally serving the community in between heats, is quite amazing.
We highly encourage you to watch some of the highlights of this year’s competition here: