Hokulea crew honors Eddie Aikau on what would have been his 71st - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

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Hokulea crew honors Eddie Aikau on what would have been his 71st birthday

(Image: Eddie Aikau Foundation) (Image: Eddie Aikau Foundation)

Eddie Aikau would have turned 71 on Thursday.

And to mark the day, the crew of the Hokulea honored Aikau's legacy as they continued their Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

In a video posted to the crew's Facebook page, Nainoa Thompson and other members reflected on Aikau's courage and bravery in the final voyage he set out on with the Hokulea.

"He was afraid, but he was so courageous, he would go anywhere," Thompson said in the short documentary.

Aikau was born on Maui on May 4, 1946. He was known as an avid water man, and is an icon in Hawaii that symbolizes bravery and a love for the ocean.

As a young man in 1968, Aikau became a lifeguard on Oahu's North Shore. Not a single life was lost during his time as lifeguard, according to the Eddie Aikau Foundation's website.

In 1978, he was selected to join the Hokulea crew on a voyage throughout the Pacific. They left the islands only to encounter stormy conditions soon after departure.

Hokulea eventually capsized, and Aikau is said to have attempted to paddle to land to get help for his fellow crew members. 

That was the last time anyone ever saw Aikau. He was 31 years old.

"The Eddie," a renowned surf competition, was named in Aikau's honor.

His whereabouts remain a mystery till this day, but Hokulea crew members hope his legacy will live on. 

"I will never forget the sound of a Hawaiian mother who cries and wails for her son lost at sea," Thompson said.

Hokulea is finishing her worldwide voyage. The crew is set to return to Hawaii on June 17. 

Click here to view the video on the Hokulea Crew's Facebook page.

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