Perfect 100-Point Wave During Final Heat of the Day in Epic 40- to 50-Foot Waimea Bay
HALEIWA, OAHU, HAWAII – DECEMBER 9, 2009 – Cementing his place as one of the best big-wave riders today, Xcel’s Greg Long has won the 2009 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Invitational in firing Waimea Bay.
Greg LongCompeting in the last 60-minute heat of the day with some huge feathering lines rolling in, Long made a nearly-sheer drop into a 40-foot bomb, earning a perfect 100 points from the judges and propelling Long past nine-time world champion Kelly Slater, who had been leading through much of the competition.
Long’s second scoring ride during his final heat was enough to put him at a 323-point total out of a possible 400 – just 10 points ahead of second-place (and 2002 Eddie Aikau champion) Slater.
Sunny Garcia finished third and Bruce Irons, winner of the 2004 Eddie, placed fourth.
Having ridden Waimea for the first time just days earlier, Long’s big-wave knowledge and commitment spurred his late charge and ultimately the win.
“I’m humbled to even be in this event,” the ever-gracious Long said onstage during the awards ceremony. “To all the competitors, it was an honor to be on this list with you.”
Long’s perfect score reflected just how heavy his performance was in successfully making the critical drop and surviving through the explosive, tour-de-force white water, with late-afternoon huge set waves threatening to close out the Bay as the Eddie drew to an exciting finish.
With the honor and prestige accompanying his 2009 Eddie Aikau win, Long also scored the $55,000 first-place purse.
“…I want to go check the scores to make sure someone isn’t going to come here and take this away.”
Long, 26, is the first-ever California surfer to win the Eddie, a prestigious invite-only event held only in the largest, best big-wave Waimea conditions.
The contest honors Eddie Aikau, celebrated Hawaiian waterman and Waimea Bay’s most well-known big-wave rider and first-ever lifeguard.
With a minimum 20-foot swell height – translating to faces of near 40 foot – required to run the Eddie, 2009 is only the 8th time in its 25-year history that the event has been held at the Bay.
The Eddie was most recently held 5 years ago, in December 2004. Long’s first Eddie Aikau invitation was earned last year, 2008.
“Just to be recognized among the [Eddie invitees] to me is a dream come true. You can only imagine how I feel standing here right now,” Long told the crowd after his big win.
Long is one of the top big-wave chargers in the world and is one of the youngest of the 28 Eddie Aikau invitees this year. Born and raised in San Clemente (California), Long is known for his ability to conquer extreme, heavy waves, tracking and traveling to some of the biggest swells each year.
Prior contest wins and accolades include Billabong Ride of the Year (Dungeons, 2009); Billabong XXL Best Overall Performance (2008) and Biggest Paddle-In (Todos Santos, 2008); and the Mavericks Surf Contest (2008).
Long is now the only surfer ever to have won all 3 major big-wave paddle (non-tow in) events – the Eddie Aikau; Mavericks; and the Red Bull Big Wave Africa, which he won in 2003 at the age of 19.
“It’s what we do: Go out there and ride big waves.”
Mahalo to the Aikau family, for their ongoing support in making the Eddie possible and successful at Waimea Bay.
For photo and video of Greg during the ’09 Eddie, check out www.xcelwetsuits.com.
Founded in 1982, Xcel International, Inc. (Xcel) is a global wetsuit brand distributed throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim. Headquartered on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, Xcel’s core wetsuit business focuses on the cutting edge of material and design development. Xcel’s primary markets include surf, dive, wakeboard, paddle, and sun (UV protection). In addition to its North Shore office, Xcel has retail locations on Oahu, Kauai, and Maui; and a warehouse/repair facility in California.
To learn more about Xcel, please visit www.xcelwetsuits.com.