‘Eddie’ won’t go; organizers say swell timing won’t allow the contest to happen

Big-wave surfers put on standby for a possible ‘Eddie’ run early next week

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The prestigious big-wave surf contest known as “The Eddie” will not go this week.

Organizers made the decision Sunday morning.

“Due to the swell arrival time and questionable size the 'Eddie Aikau event has been called off!!,” said Liam McNamara, contest organizer for the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, in a text message.

Wave forecast models from NOAA currently predict a swell generated by a hurricane-force low pressure system east of Japan will begin to rise Monday. It is forecast to peak sometime Monday night into Tuesday morning.

And according to McNamara, that was the problem.

“We were hoping that the swell models would have the peak arriving eight to ten hours earlier, or 12 hours later,” McNamara told Hawaii News Now by phone.

In order for the contest to run, the peak surf has to hold for at least eight hours during the day. The swell is forecast to be highest during the overnight hours.

Surfers had been put on a yellow alert late last week, telling them to be ready to grab their boards.

“We didn’t want to have 50,000 people showing up on a decision based on us crossing our fingers,” said McNamara.

“The Eddie” was last held in 2016, when John John Florence won the prestigious contest.

It’s also the first year with new local sponsors.

The holding period for “The Eddie” started Dec. 1 and runs through Feb. 29, 2020. It will be held if surf heights at Waimea Bay reach a consistent 20 feet during that time.

Since the contest’s conception in 1984, it’s been held nine times with the bay providing sufficient sized swells for the world-renowned contest.

Past winners include Eddie’s brother Clyde Aikau, Kelly Slater, Greg Long, Bruce Irons and John John Florence.

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