The spirit of Eddie Aikau could be felt and found within yesterday’s XXL swell. Yesterday was the first time in seven years the Eddie was a “Go”. At 6:40 AM of the morning on the contest the Waimea Buoy pinged in at 19’ of swell at 19 seconds. As the day went on some faces were calculated to be 50’ plus. The forecast prevailed, and the crowd and surfers alike got what they were hoping for. Classic Hawaiian Bombs. “I’ve been riding Waimea for over 40 years, and today has to be one of the best I’ve ever seen” said Clyde Aikau who is now 66 years old, and still was able to make a stellar drop in during the contest. He also expressed to the excited and eager watching crowd at the “Eddie” and said that it would be his last year competing in the historic event that has been held since 1984.
Before the event started the participants of this year’s competition gathered in the traditional paddle out to not only pay respects to Eddie Aikau, but also to honor fellow native Hawaiian Brock Little who passed away recently from a hard-fought battle with cancer. He is most known for his 1987 presence at the “Eddie” when he and his friend Aaron Napoleon charged even though the contest was unsure if it was going to run. Due to their actions the organizers decided to give the “Eddie” a green light, and Little finished in third place that year. Later in 1990 he dropped in on one of the biggest waves ever recorded in the history of the event. Before the contest this year his close friend Kelly Slater said in an interview that he wanted to slide into a barrel for Brock. The King of Surfing did just that and his ride was nominated for the Top Moments at this year’s “Eddie”.
Along with Kelly’s epic barrel there were a ton of other epic moments. Our Nectar Team advocate Jamie O’ Brien claimed a solid heavy kegger, but unfortunately couldn’t recover his balance after hitting a couple air bumps. Later in the contest he made a drop in on a steep one with Shane Dorian. Mason Ho and Grant “Twiggy” Baker definitely earned Wipeout of the Day, but we are glad they are alright and respect their gutsy ride or die attitude. Along with the intriguing surf action, the safety jet ski patrol felt an eerie feeling when a huge set wave sent them retreating to the shoreline. However, John John Florence stole the show with his epic drop in the last minutes of the contest. The 2016 Eddie Aikau offered an exciting event to watch, and even slowed down the server at the Patagonia Headquarters in Ventura. If you missed it here is a link to some of the noteworthy Highlights.