Eddie to go? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Eddie to go?

Mark Healy Mark Healy
Glen Moncata Glen Moncata

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

WAIMEA BAY (KHNL) - It's been four years since the running of the Quiksilver Pro, in honor of Eddie Aikau. Thursday surfers from around the globe paddled out at Waimea all wondering if the Eddie will go!

Surf along Oahu's North Shore all week has been spectacular, with 30 footers at times, but will the surf reach 40 feet for the Eddie to go on?

Kelly Slater, Bruce Irons, Andy Irons, and Brian Keaulana paddled out past the break at Waimea for the opening ceremony of the Eddie. Waves Thursday were huge, 20 foot faces, but the Eddie will only go if the waves reach 40 feet or higher, as the excitement builds on the North Shore.

Earlier Thursday, there were some surfers out there testing the waves which weren't too big just yet. But one of the 28th participants we spoke to says despite an injury, he's still paddling out.

As preparations get underway for the opening ceremonies, some amateur surfers test the waves before the contestants jump in.

But not Mark Healy. He's nursing an injured leg. He's no stranger to this contest. It's his fifth time doing it.

But the waves cooperated only once during that time. That's back in 2004 when Kauai's Bruce Irons won the Eddie.

"Every year that I'm invited to this event is it's an honor, it's like winning an event just being invited, it's a really tight-brotherhood, it's something you can definitely hold your head high about sometimes," Healy said.

Healy says almost nothing would keep him from taking on some of the biggest waves in the world.

"It can be a definite shock to the senses coming out here as you can see by how many years this event hasn't run, it doesn't always get that large in a whole entire winter on the North Shore here," he said.

People flock to the beach to watch brave surfers take on the massive waves in memory of Eddie.

"I think the surfers and the general public want to see that when it gets to that hair raising size to make it work," Contest director Glen Moncata said.

People who knew the legendary lifeguard and big-wave surfer come back to the place where it all began.

"It's just who we are, you're never really off-duty, you'll see guards at the beach before work, on their days off, it's just a real obsession almost, but very proud, stoked and honored to be a hawaiian lifeguard," Former lifeguard Mark Cunningham said.

This is the 24th year of the Eddie, but only seven of those years have the waves been big enough to the hold the contest.

Healy and other contestants hope this year is the eighth. The holding period for the Eddie is scheduled to wrap-up on February 28th.

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