Eddie would go

The Eddie: A Lot Can Change in 7 Years

Words: Brendan Buckley

The human body is capable of undergoing massive transformations in that span of time. Revolutions can arise. Empires can fall. Trends can come, and trends can most certainly go. But one thing that cannot change in seven years — or any amount of time, for that matter — is the spirit of The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau surf contest.

The event is an invite-only gathering at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu, and it has not run in 7 years. Every other surf contest in the world is centered around the ocean and leaves the decision-making up to the people, but The Eddie changes that. It allows the ocean call the shots. It provides an empty sheet and a ballpoint pen, but the script is only to be written by the forces of the wild. The event won’t run unless the waves are big enough to shake the earth and conditions like that are a bona fide rarity. In its 31-year history, The Eddie has only been held 8 times.

“That’s one of the things that makes it so special,” says invitee Jamie O’Brien. “They don’t call it three or four days in advance. We see a swell coming and everybody comes over to Hawaii if they’re not already here. Then we wake up that day and if it’s on, it’s on. “

As fate has it, we’re currently seeing a swell coming and for the first time in 6 years the event has been green-lit.

2009 was the last time The Eddie ran. Andy Irons surfed in it that year. Instagram didn’t even exist back then. John John Florence was only 16 and Boom Boom Pow by The Black Eyed Peas was officially the hottest song of the year. Thankfully, some things have changed.

Some things will be different this year. The roster is ever-evolving, and each ceremony features a different list of surfers. Big wave surfing itself has changed a lot in those years. But something that hasn’t changed is the spontaneity of it all. The realness, the rawness. The spirit of The Eddie.

February 10, 2016, the Bay will call the day.