WAIMEA BAY, Hawaii (KHON2) — Folks will have to wait until Sunday morning, Jan. 22 for the official green light for The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, but it is looking good.
KHON2 swung by Waimea Bay to check out the final preparations.
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“It’s a gigantic day for preparation,” said contest director Clyde Aikau. “We have all of the lavatories in place; we have the first aid tent in place.”
Cars were already backed up into Haleiwa on Saturday afternoon,. Jan. 21. KHON2 asked Clyde if he had any advice for those planning to make the trek up north on Sunday.
“All I can say is good luck,” Clyde said. “Especially on the day of the event. If the families are planning to come on out, expect to be waiting in your car about three to four hours.”
Crews spent their Saturday morning setting up scaffolding and barriers. Lifeguards said spectators will not be allowed on the makai side of the lifeguard tower for the duration of the contest.
“Not at all. Right now, you see people spread throughout the beach. It’s nice and calm. We have a sandbar; but tomorrow and even tonight, we’ll be setting up signs in preparation for tomorrow,” said Joey Cadiz, an Ocean Safety officer and alternate surfer for the Eddie contest.
“Basically, there’s only gonna be standing room on this. On mauka side of the beach, water will be coming all the way up to the tower, potentially.”Joey Cadiz, Ocean Safety officer
Some folks found the perfect spectating spot by camping out on the cliffs that overlook Waimea Bay.
“We had to get here last night,” Mike Biechler said, “Friday night just to get the perfect spot. But, we rolled in at like 7; and a couple people started showing up around 8:30 and got the spots next to us. And, we’ve all become friends and family now; and we’re just ready for the waves to start rolling in.”
There are some parking considerations; No cars will be allowed along Kamehameha Highway and Waimea Bay Beach Park starting Saturday night.
“We got the good spots right in front of our camp area here,” Biechler said, “but we got to move them at 10 p.m. tonight. And then, I don’t know; we’ll go down to town and move it towards Haleiwa and walk back, I guess!”
Mike Hedge was at the 2016 Eddie contest and wanted to share a message with the community ahead of the big waves in 2023.
“Respect the aina. Respect the people here, you know. Don’t act up. Be patient, tolerant, compassionate, right? Enjoy the fun. Let everyone else enjoy the fun,” Hedge said.
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“We thank you, Hawaii, for giving The Eddie your tremendous support for all these years. God bless and Godspeed for tomorrow,” Clyde said. “Aloha nō.”