- 1) Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau
Riding the wave of Hawai‘i's surfing success The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau is one of the most well-known and prestigious big-wave surfing events around the world. Named for famed Hawaiian waterman, Eddie Aikau who was lost at sea attempting to find help for the Hokule‘a in 1978, The Eddie regularly draws thousands of bikini and board shorts-clad spectators to Waimea Bay's sandy shores.
Originally dropping in to Sunset Beach in 1984, The Eddie (which is how the event is commonly referred to by locals) is now run at Waimea Bay where Aikau worked as a lifeguard and his family served as caretakers.
As the contest decrees "the bay calls the day," and requires a minimum of 20 foot waves and clean conditions during the three-month holding period which runs from December through February each year. Keep in mind that in Hawai‘i waves are measured "Hawaiian" style from the back of the wave, rather than the face. Because of this, the event has been held only six times since it started more than 28 years ago. California's Greg Long was the most recent Eddie winner in December 2009, when 25-foot surf captured the attention of contest runners and international media, drawing a record crowd of more than 30,000 who lined the beach and Waimea Bay's surrounding cliffs.
Before you leave your room, take a bathroom break and pack lots of sunscreen, snacks and water for the road. With tens of thousands of cars caravanning along the one lane road to O‘ahu's North Shore, another thing you'll be practicing -- in addition to your cutback (and only if you're an experienced surfer) -- is patience.