HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Eddie was just a few weeks ago but already Luke Shepardson’s life has changed in ways he is still getting used to.
Prior to winning Waimea’s big wave competition, in honor of Eddie Aikau, Shepardson looked forward to his job lifeguarding on Oahu’s North Shore. He also enjoyed riding the giant swells that roll in during Hawaii winters.
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The humble, quiet champ said he is still getting used to having cameras around and people recognizing him from his epic win. Among the honors he’s recently received, Mayor Blangiradi proclaimed Jan 25 as Luke Shepardson Day on Oahu.
To celebrate with a little fun, the Waikiki Beachcomber is hosting an event in Shepardson’s honor Friday evening.
The champ will sign posters in the hotel gallery followed by a performance by The Green.
The party will happen on the pool deck after it’s transformed with a full stage.
Shepardson invited people to come down and enjoy food and drinks.
The day after he was crowned champ, Shepardson was right back at work, keeping people safe on Oahu shores. He told KHON how he had worked during the contest, rescuing a few people and waiting for his heat, “Then when it was time for me to surf, it was just another day surfing and I was really stoked to get a few good waves and win the contest.”
Shepardson said he would like to surf some big waves around the world but, until then, he continues keeping strangers safe and doing what he can to make sure they get home to their families–the same as Eddie Aikau did all those years ago.
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“I’m super humbled and super honored and try to live up to the legacy of all the guys before me. To surf in the Eddie Aikau and perpetuate his legacy as a lifeguard and riding big waves and being in the ocean, being a waterman, it’s what I live for,” Shephardson told KHON. “I don’t think I’ll ever come close to what he did but I’ll try my hardest to do good.”
The event honoring Shepardson starts Friday at 5 p.m. with a poster signing at the Waikiki Beachcomber.