People from all over the world have traveled to Hawaii to watch the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.
The judges’ viewing area at Waimea Bay is nearly complete, and some competitors say it hasn’t really sunk in yet.
Bruce Irons is scheduled to compete Wednesday. We caught up with the surfer on Tuesday, who won the big-wave event in 2005.
The event has only been held eight times since it started in 1986, and only during the most pristine conditions.
“That experience of winning here was one of the best feelings surfing I’ve had,” Irons said. “When you’re out there in the contest looking in, the crowd and being a part of this contest is such an honor, I get chicken skin.”
Photographer Zak Noyle says this will be his second time capturing The Eddie.
“It’s still something I count as one of my highest honors shooting, and greatest days of being a part of,” he said.
Noyle will be taking pictures of Irons and other surfers and posting them on Quiksilver’s Instagram directly from the water.
“There is a lot of pressure. You are right there in the moment, catching a special moment. You have to be on it. You could be in there from the start to the finish, not missing one wave,” Noyle said.
Organizers say the waves have to be 20 feet Hawaiian, even bigger than the structure crews spent the day building for the event.
We’re told the chances of the Eddie not happening Wednesday are very slim.
“Very, very small I would say,” said event spokeswoman Jodi Wilmott. “It looks so good on the charts right now. It feels right.”
Eddie Aikau was the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay, considered by many to be the ultimate waterman.
For surfers, just being invited to the Eddie is an honor.
“For me, it just comes to that day, the moment when I’m out there. If it’s mean to be, it’s meant to be,” Irons said. “(Spectators should) definitely stay away from the shore. The ocean here, it will suck you right out. Listen to your local lifeguards.”