Eddie crowd disappointed, but take cancellation in stride

Eddie crowd disappointed, but take cancellation in stride

WAIMEA BAY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands flocked to Oahu's North Shore on Wednesday for the much-anticipated Eddie Aikau big wave contest that never happened.

The crowds scrambled for parking and crawled through gridlock traffic, but generally took the last-minute cancellation in stride.

"A sunny day on the North Shore is always good, no matter what you're doing," said Jason Fudge and his wife, who were walking along Kamehameha Highway toward Waimea Bay on Wednesday.

Organizers called off the Eddie Aikau big wave contest well before sun up, saying the monster waves wouldn't materialize early enough for the invitational to take place.

But the call wasn't early enough to evade traffic and parking headaches on the North Shore. Many had started the trek toward Waimea Bay on Tuesday night, while others had gotten on the road as early as 2 a.m.

Die-hard surf fans are used to getting their hopes up -- and then getting them quashed -- when it comes to the Eddie.

Surf at Waimea Bay hasn't been high enough or consistent enough for the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest since December 2009. The surf contest was founded in 1984, and has only been held nine times since then.

Still, word of the cancelled contest stung.

"I'm disappointed," said Hawaii Kai resident Tim Apicella. "It's the second time I've been skunked."

Ewa Beach resident Ilikea Kahanaoi said the day was "really disappointing, especially to see all the disappointed people walking back."

People came in from across the island and state for the event. Some even flew in from the mainland. One man said he paid hundreds for last-minute plane tickets from New York.

Parking also came at a hefty price, with some residents renting out their driveways for no small amount of cash.

"We saw one sign that was parking for $100 and then $160 was right next to it," said University of Hawaii student Lauren Cruz. "I thought it was a joke at first, but the little boy was like we're going to be rich."

And police were out in force, towing vehicles that were illegally parked.

"Cars were getting towed away, so we moved like three times," said Ewa Beach resident Crenston Saragosa.

For tourist Holger Blaess, the day wasn't a total loss.

"I get to look at the waves," he said. "I'm OK with that."

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