WAIMEA BAY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One day after thousands came out to watch the Eddie at Waimea Bay, people are still talking about the epic rides. One of the largest waves of the event however, wasn't ridden by surfers, but by brave watermen on jet skis.
"It's like climbing Mount Everest except Mount Everest is an avalanche coming at you," said legendary waterman Brian Keaulana.
Keaulana was on one of five jet skis caught on video, forced to outrun a 50-foot Waimea close out set during the 31st Annual Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.
"When those 50-foot close outs come, there's nowhere to run and the only way to run is turn around and come to shore," said Craig Davidson with Hawaiian Water Patrol.
Those watching from shore were hoping for the best.
"In that moment I said 'whoa the nature is huge and powerful,'" said spectator Quique Labarthe.
Jason Patterson felt the power at the start of the competition. His jet ski landed on top of him after a wipe out and was forced to hold his breath under water for minutes.
"I was trying to turn it over but I couldn't figure it out," Patterson said.
Between putting themselves in harm's way to rescue the surfers, these brave watermen must also lookout for themselves.
"All of our guys are willing to take all those waves in a hit, all willing to hold their breath for minutes at a time, all willing to take the pounding and can handle the pounding and not panic and not become a victim ourselves," said Keaulana.
It's a skill that takes plenty of training and great focus, but all worth it for the watermen knowing that no lives were lost on their watch.
"That's the greatest feeling is when we come up and it's all done and everybody is safe and happy" said Davidson. "At the end of the day, you just appreciate life more."