“Eddie” Returns After A Six Year Absence

“Eddie”, a big wave competition, took place at Waimea Beach for the first time in six years this past weekend. The waves reached a record height as many of them reached to be 60 feet. In order for a competition to be considered an “Eddie”, the waves must be over forty feet high and be sustainable all day. This year, El-Nino played a big part to the height of these waves as the weather pattern fueled the water and the creation of them.

2010_mavericks_competitionBig-Wave surfing has consistently drawn in a big crowd to the beaches of Hawaii. A record number of people lined the beach to watch 28 professional surfers engage the monster surges of the bay. It’s estimated that over 25,000 people came to the beach in awe of getting the chance to see the “Eddie”. Some people camped out for 24 hours to get a prime view of the competition.

Many people do not know the legend behind the heroic person it honors. Eddie Aikau was a Waimea Bay lifeguard and a surfing pioneer when it came to Big Wave surfing. The legend says that not a single person passed during his tenure as a lifeguard. At 31  years old, he lost his life retracing the route from Hawaii to Tahiti; something his Polynesian ancestors did. The canoe Aikau and his team were in capsized twelve miles off the coast of the Hawaiian island, Molokai. Eddie was last seen paddling on his surfboard in an attempt to seek help.

The competition was named after him to honor his contributions to the surfing community and the way he would brave waves that others were too afraid to. The competition name was cemented in 1984 after organizers of the competition debated if the conditions of the water were too dangerous. One professional surfer responded to the organizers stating that Eddie would go. Eddie’s brother, Clyde Aikau, is the only surfer to have entered the previous eight competitions. At the age of 66, this year was the last year he will be participating.

Besides the return of the “Eddie”, the competition had the largest payout in big wave surfing with a prize of $75,000. This year’s winner was John John Florence, a 23 year old native of Hawaii. He scored 301 points out of a possible 400. It was his first “Eddie” and a dream come true for him. He tweeted after the competition that “Such an honor. Thank you Aikau family, Brock, and Hawaiian water patrol ! A day I won’t forget.”


Kelly Slater Becomes A Hero As Monster Waves Hit Hawaii

It’s winter in Hawaii and the surfers are loving it. During the winter, Hawaii experiences enormous waves that head towards the north shore of Hawaii. This year’s winter sent over 40-foot waves for surfers to ride. Surfers from all over decided to head over to Waimea Bay to catch these gargantuan waves. Surfers such as Tom Dosland, Clark Kittle, Kelly Slater were around the festivities of surfers attempting to surf.

During all the surfing action, an Australian tourist Sarah White and her baby after a rogue wave swept them all the way to the street. Luckily the 43-year-old surfer Kelly Slater was denied action to surf happened to be around the area and was able to rescue Sarah White and her baby. Although, White sustained some cuts and bruises she and her baby made it out the water safe and secure.

Later that day, the husband of the two victims wrote on his Instagram saying, “So thankful the surf gods denied @kellyslater today cos [sic] for whatever reason he was right there to save my wife and kid who were swept across the road by a freak wave today”.

Kelly Slater just happened to be in the right area at the right time. Slater did mention, he was happy that he was able to save the mother and baby, but the lifeguards were not too far from the scene to contribute to the situation.

Lifeguard’s understand how risky it is for surfers during the winter time because of the intensive waves. One of the lifeguards of Waimea Bay mentioned surfers know how dangerous it is to go surfing with waves that high, but they still do it. Hawaii News Now reported, by the end of the day, the waves at Waimea Bay had grown so tall that lifeguards had to ride jet skis to help at minimum 25 surfers who weren’t able to paddle back to the beach themselves.

Being a surfer is about taking the risk, which means catching the biggest wave even though it’s not the safest thing to do. Surfing in the Winter, is the best time to catch waves taller than the typical waves you would surf in the summer.

Below, you can watch footage of the surfers catching the waves out at Waimea Bay.

The Perfect Man Made Wave is Finally Here

There is one thing that every surfer is constantly seeking and has never able to find – the perfect man made wave. Many wave parks in the past have only been able to offer a standing wave – a wave that is created from a sheet of water that is pumped into a pool and over a barrier, which will create a continuous breaking wave. As a result of this, the wave will always stay in place but does not provide the same conditions that true waves create. It doesn’t move and there are no wave faces to ride. As a result of these differences, most surfers can improve their balance and learn to maneuver the board, but it offers no real challenge.

Surfers say the Holy Grail of waves is one that recreates the physics of an ocean wave – one that can move over the pool, rise up and break towards the left or the right. As a result of these physics, surfers can catch it, move with its motions or even perform aerial turns by launching themselves off the lip of the wave. It didn’t seem that it was possible to recreate something that was created by Mother Nature.

That was until this past Friday. Legendary surfer Kelly Slater and a team of engineers managed to make a wave pool that recreated the waves off the coast of Rincon, Puerto Rico – a popular surfing spot that are known to have head-high swells. World Surf League’s Chris Mauro has been quoted saying, “This changes everything”.

The team, alongside Slater, worked on this wave pool for just under ten years. They finished the project earlier in December, but decided to wait on the announcement of the pool until the 2015 world title holder had been decided.  Afterwards Slater, an eleven-time world champion, made it public via his Instagram account.

Slater wrote the following about the wave pool on his Instagram; “This is something I dreamt about as a kid. Through rigorous science and technology, we’ve been able to design and build what some said was impossible, and many very understandably never thought would actually happen. I’m proud to say we took our time to get it right, and the first fully-working prototype of the wave now exists (a huge personal thank you to everyone in our lab and on our team for seeing this through!).”

The creation of this wave pool brings so many new and exciting things in the future. For the first time, surfers will be able to practice with a wave that mimics Mother Nature. It will also provide a safe and stable learning environment for those who may not be comfortable in the ocean just yet.

View the video, which has gained over a quarter of a million views already, below: