The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational has been a staple in our local history for over the last three decades.
But this year, with new event organizers comes a new format. A record number of women are invited to the prestigious surf contest for the first time ever.
“We have four girls competing for the first time ever,” said Liam McNamara, The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Inivitational contest director. “So giving opportunity to the female surfers who charge here at waimea bay it’s going to be a great event.”
The women invitees include Keala Kennelly, Paige Alms, Andrea Moller and Waimea Bay regular Emi Erickson. Female alternates invited this year include Bianca Valenti, Raquel Heckert, Justine Dupont, Silvia Nabuco and Laura Enever.
“For every big wave surfer being invited to The Eddie is like the ultimate dream and as a woman it kind of feels like a pipe dream for me in the past,” said Emi Erickson, The Eddie invitee.
There are no seperate divisions for the women and men in The Eddie contest format. All invitees will be fighting for their spot on the lineup, collectively.
Surfing the biggest and most challenging waves runs through Erickson’s blood. Her father, Roger Erickson, is a North Shore and big wave legend.
“I’m also carrying on my dad’s legacy because he was a waterman, lifeguard, and he was part of the first few Eddie’s,” said Erickson.
Erickson is carrying on her father’s legacy and the torch for women in big wave surfing.
“I represent the Bay regulars, my family, the legacy and a crop of women that have really been pushing the boundaries,” said Erickson. “For me being a part of The Eddie Aikau Invitational has been pretty much my only dream in surfing so if this is it for me I would be completely happy with that.”