Event Finds: North Shore & Central Oahu

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.

 

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2) Triple Crown of Surfing

Staged on O‘ahu's North Shore the Triple Crown of Surfing is the Super Bowl of professional surfing. Held every winter season when wave heights rise on Hawai‘i's north-facing shores, the Triple Crown splashes out over three men's and three women's events.

With the exception of the Billabong Pro Maui, all six events of the Triple Crown are held on O‘ahu's infamous North Shore when winter swells bring wave heights with up to 50 feet faces. Each event crowns a winner with an additional overall men's and women's winner who accumulates the highest cumulative score from the three events.

Because the waves call the day, check local surfing sites (like surfnewsnetwork.com) to see if the contest will go so you can plan ahead. We recommend rising before dawn to fight the traffic and snag a parking spot along the road. For those who are new to Hawai‘i's surfing spectator scene, make sure to bring a light jacket, towels to sit on, binoculars, lots of water, and sun protection. Even on cloudy days the sun's ultraviolet rays can burn sensitive skin.

For those traveling with keiki (children) make sure to keep a close eye on them, especially at the water's edge. We strongly recommend against letting little ones near the shoreline where a rogue wave can quickly sweep children (and even adults) out to sea. Situating yourself farther up from the shore will keep you and your belongings safe and dry when waves wash in.

 

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