Eddie surf contest may still go, but permit issues must be ironed out

Published: Oct. 31, 2016 at 9:23 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 31, 2016 at 9:58 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Eddie may still go.

That's despite the Aikau family's decision to part ways with Quiksilver, the longtime title sponsor of the big-wave surfing event.

At issue, though, is the permit for the event at Waimea Bay.

As it does every year, Quiksilver obtained a permit from the city to host the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau invitational big wave surf event.

In a statement Monday, Quiksilver said as a "gesture of respect and support" it would give this year's permit to the Aikau family should the city allow it. Quiksilver would run the event with the family if the Aikaus agreed.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said surf tournament park permits are awarded through a competitive application process and permit transfers are prohibited.

"We are pleased to hear that Quiksilver has offered to work with the Aikau family and the city to find a solution that allows the 'Eddie' to go this season," he said.

One solution would be if Quiksilver hired an Aikau Foundation management team to run the contest on behalf of the company.

The Aikau family say they're committed to holding the contest if conditions are right this winter.

At a news conference at the Aikau family's home Monday, Clyde Aikau said the family wants the the privilege to continue to carry on Eddie Aikau's legacy with an annual event bearing his name.

"We want to plead with our politicians to provide this permit that will allow this family to continue to have Eddie's Big wave event at Waimea Bay," he said. "We want to continue to honor Eddie in his Eddie Aikau big wave surfing event that we've had for 31 years," Clyde Aikau said.

The Aikau family's attorney, Seth Reiss, said non-monetary issues prompted the breakup. He described the Aikau's as "generous people."

"Anybody who knows them knows how generous they are and have been. The family has never asked for top dollar for the rights that are being licensed," he said.

Quiksilver, meanwhile, said its "multiple offers" of more money for upcoming Eddie surf contests "were declined by agents of the Aikau family over months of negotiations."

Neither Quiksilver nor the Aikaus would say how much the company paid the family in royalties to run the contest for the past 31 years. The contract that just expired with Quiksilver was a 10-year deal.

Quiksilver has said it cost $700,000 to produce the Eddie surf contest in February, which may be the last that will bear the Quiksilver name.

Surfers say while the news about the split is concerning, they're confident the Eddie will be held again.

"I'd be baffled if the Aikau family didn't get the permit. I don't think anybody in Hawaii would be very happy, or anybody else around the world for that matter," big wave surfer Mark Healy said.

"I definitely know it has a future," added surfer Makua Rothman. "The Eddie Aikau has inspired generations of Hawaiians."

The Eddie is one of the world's premier surfing events. It only occurs when consistent, rideable waves of at least 30 feet are in Waimea Bay during the narrow three-month winter holding period.

In February, thousands of spectators battled traffic and parking woes to make it to the all-day event, which has been held just nine times since 1984,

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