One of the most prestigious surf contests in the world will not happen this year.
The family of legendary lifeguard and surfer Eddie Aikau says “The Eddie” has been called off.
An opening ceremony was previously scheduled for Nov. 30, but problems with permitting and sponsorship forced the family to cancel.
Myra Aikau, Eddie Aikau’s sister, tells KHON2 by the time they were able to get everything necessary to put the event together, it was just too late.
The City and County of Honolulu said a permit was issued at the beginning of the month, but the Aikau family says there were other details that had to be resolved.
Big wave surfer Makua Rothman says Clyde Aikau, Eddie Aikau’s brother, broke the news to him with a heavy heart.
“To have it canceled is a real bummer for the surfing community, because a lot of people would come just to watch the ceremony, to be there, to feel the mana and to feel the spirit of a Hawaiian man that embodied everything it meant to be Hawaiian and to spread aloha around the world, and to not be able to surf in his honor, it’s a bummer,” said Rothman.
“I’ve been part of this event since I was born. My dad was one of the creators of the event. It’s been a part of my life forever, since I’ve been alive,” he added. “All my heroes have surfed it and to be someone now that’s carried on that ambassador of aloha to the world, you know, it’s a shame, but I feel that one day things will come together and people will realize the significance of the competition and come together and make it pono.”
A holding period has been observed from December through February each year for the past 32 years, but the contest itself has only taken place nine times.
“The Eddie” can only run when conditions reach the 20-foot-plus range Hawaiian scale, or 40-50-foot faces, and they must last all day long.
The invitation-only contest was last held on Feb. 25, 2016, bringing tens of thousands of spectators to Waimea Bay for a day of epic conditions.
The Aikau family parted ways with longtime sponsor Quiksilver in October.
Without a new sponsor, many had wondered if the contest could still happen.
The Aikau family says it is looking forward to holding the event in the 2018-2019 season.