WAIMEA BAY (HawaiiNewsNow) - Greg Long scored a perfect 100 in the final round to push him ahead of 2002 "Eddie" champ Kelly Slater, who led for almost the entire tournament. A perfect ride by the 25-year-old Californian helped him surge ahead to win big wave surfing's most esteemed title. This was only the second time that Long was invited to the Eddie Aikau tournament.
"Hands-down, I've been in contention in a lot of the big wave contests, I've been competing in most of them the last few years. I'd put this at the top as far as conditions. Wave-wise, one of the best ever in the world" said Long.
Long takes home $55,000 in prize money for the victory.
"It's a dream come true for me. I first got into watching big waves when I was 12-years-old. I've followed every single Eddie since then. All lot of the guys that are still in there, a lot of legends still in it today, to be surfing out there with them is a dream come true."
The final scores:
1. Greg Long - 323
2. Kelly Slater - 313
3. Sunny Garcia - 292
4. Bruce Irons - 275
5. Ramon Navarro - 267 (Also Monster Energy Big Drop winner)
2009 was the 25th anniversary of the contest and this was only the eighth time that the contest has been run in all those 25 years. The contest is only held when waves at Waimea Bay are in the range of 30 feet or more. When conditions are favorable, 28 of the world's foremost big wave surfers are invited to Oahu to participate.
Some of the big names in this year's event included champ Bruce Irons and his brother Andy, the North Shore's own Sunny Garcia along with 1990 champ Keone Downing. 60-year-old Clyde Aikau, the 1986 winner and Eddie's younger brother competed in the contest.
The tournament honors Eddie Aikau, a veteran surfer and waterman who was lost at in sea in 1978 when he paddled out into the Molokai channel to in a rescue attempt. Aikau was coming to the aid of the Hokulea, the Polynesian voyaging canoe, which had capsized in rough seas.