HONLULU (KHON2) — Eddie Aikau’s legacy lives on and he continues to inspire generations. On Saturday the Eddie Aikau Foundation announced the winners for its annual student essay contest in Eddie’s honor and the Wave Of The Bay awardees.
Legendary waterman Eddie Aikau has inspired generations to challenge themselves. His name is synonymous with big wave riding so it was only fitting for the Eddie Aikau Foundation to recognize chargers who braved Waimea’s monster surf with a Wave Of The Bay contest.
The winner was to take home a $10 thousand dollar purse and a spot in the next Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.
“Of all the rides we came down with two rides that we couldn’t choose which one was better than the other one or bigger than the other one,” explained Eddie Aikau Foundation Director Clyde Aikau. “But both waves — Eddie would go on them.”
So they chose two winners. The first winner, already a surfing legend, Jamie Mitchell.
“It’s inspiring for me to be up here,” Mitchell said. “I can recover from the broken back. My goal is to be ready for Dec. 1 to ride the bay again, and let’s hope Eddie goes.”
The second winner, only 17-years-old, Jake Maki.
“He will be the youngest invite to the Eddie in a long long time,” Aikau said to Maki. “So welcome to the world of big wave riding.”
“I just love charging big waves,” Maki said. “That’s one of my passions and I’m so honored to do this.”
The 2022 Eddie Would Go Essay Contest challenged students in 7th through 10th grade to write an essay about two core Hawaiian values
“Two words: malama and pono,” Aikau said. “Explain what malama and pono mean to you as an individual and relate it to Eddie.”
Thirty students were selected as winners out of 384 English and 49 Hawaiian essay submissions, winning prizes from $100 to $500 dollars.
First place winner for the 8th grade Jaden Tonyokwe said he really didn’t expect to win, but he was very excited about it.
“I like this that they’re doing all these kinds of things about Eddie Aikau,” said Korah Layman, the 1st place winner for the 7th grade. “He can come alive and keep his spirit alive.”
The Eddie Aikau Foundation has been running the contest since 2006. It continues to inspire the next generation by keeping his memory alive.
The first place winner for the 10th grade, Clarissa Tamura said she feels like Eddie was a huge role model for her and everyone.
“He did like a lot of things and showed malama and pono, and it just shows me like how I can use it in every day.”
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“We want to always try to keep legacy at a high level,” Aikau said. “I think that Eddie still has a lot of work to do although he’s not here, to inspire people to be a better person.”