HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational held its opening ceremony Thursday at Waimea Bay.
As in year’s past, the contest will run if surf heights reach a consistent 20 feet.
The holding period for the invitational this year runs through Feb. 29.
After parting ways with Quiksilver several years ago, the Aikau family is reviving the focus in the contest on their culture while adding a few new twists.
The Aikau ohana has partnered with Kamehameha Schools to celebrate their cultural roots and pay homage to Eddie Aikau, the original Waimea charger, Hokule’a sailor, and trailblazing lifeguard.
“To help other people is what Eddie is all about and this is what the whole event is all about,” said Eddie Aikau’s brother, Clyde.
Clyde Aikau won the contest in 1986 riding his brother’s board.
He’s feeling good about this season’s potential for the right swell.
It’s been four years since John John Florence took the crown at the last Eddie, an event watched by more than 1 million people in 200 countries.
After months of rehabilitation following a torn ACL, he’s ready for action along with 2002 winner Kelly Slater. “If the Eddie runs it’s gonna be big and exciting and its life-threatening conditions,” Slater said.