The 28 invitees to The Eddie Aikau Big-Wave Invitational were made public yesterday. An invitation to compete in the Eddie—which owes its namesake and acts as an homage to the late Hawaiian big-wave legend Eddie Aikau—has served as a highly coveted chevron on the sleeve of big-wave surfers since the contest’s inception. For the event to run, conditions at Waimea have to exceed the 25-foot mark, and in its 28-year history, the contest has only been run eight times.
This year, the selection process was handed over to members of the big-wave community, who were asked to create a dream team of competitors and alternates. According to Quiksilver, the event sponsor, “Each surfer’s vote was tallied and the highest ranking 24 surfers became this year’s list of Invitees. An additional four regional Invitee selections were chosen by Quiksilver, making up the final four of a total of 28 Invitees.” The new faces graduating from alternates to official invitees include John Florence, Ian Walsh, and Alex Gray.
“My whole life I’ve been going to the opening ceremony, looking at all the big guys with their big boards, and paddling out to the circle since I was super little. Something about Waimea and the way Eddie surfed it back in the day, all the stories you hear about him, it’s just such a powerful place,” says John Florence. “You can feel it when you’re out there. To be able to grow up and kind of learn to surf that wave since I was little, and be able to watch the last couple of Eddies has been crazy.”
The waiting period for the event begins on Dec. 1 and will run until Feb. 28 2013.