Eddie big-wave contest draws thousands of spectators

Eddie big-wave contest draws thousands of spectators [10pm report]
(Image: Melissa Giorgio/Facebook)
(Image: Melissa Giorgio/Facebook)
Image: Hawaii News Now
Image: Hawaii News Now

WAIMEA BAY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 15,000 people flocked to Oahu's North Shore on Thursday for the most anticipated surfing event of the winter season.

They got to Waimea Bay in whatever way they could: By car, on foot, by bike. Even on skateboards. And Kamehameha Highway was packed.

The crowd at Waimea Bay convened early -- well before the 8 a.m. start time -- and got so large it was hard to see what was happening in the water.

That's why some sought higher ground.

Mike Hedge didn't even bother with trying to find a spot on the sand. Instead, he's perched on the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway.

"This is perfect," he said, "I mean, nothing in front of us."

They're not the only ones. Hundreds lined the road to catch a glimpse of the action. Some even claimed spots high in the trees.

One of the best views was atop a bluff -- claimed 24 hours in advance.

"We learned from the last go around this was the prime spot," said spectator Mike Perkins.

Brian Bowman might have one of the best seats to watch the show -- from his home overlooking the bay.

On Thursday, he was watching the surfers take on the big waves, then watching it again online.

"There is a little bit of lag in the feed and so when I do see a massive wipe out or an epic ride then I do get to see it in replay on the webcast here," he said.

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