The Eddie Opening Ceremony

The world's greatest big-wave surfers arrive at the shores of Waimea Bay

| posted on December 02, 2011

When this much talent is on the beach at Waimea at one time, it can only mean that Eddie season is underway. Photo: Lowe-White

Yesterday afternoon the ranks of big-wave surfing’s elite arrived on the famed shores of Waimea Bay to pay their respects to the late Eddie Aikau, and to welcome the arrival of the 27th annual Eddie Big Wave Invitational. North Shore local and legendary Pipeline lifeguard Mark Cunningham played host to the opening ceremony, introducing the invitees who earned their place in the event by embodying the spirit of one of the North Shore’s most legendary watermen. Although it was a far cry from the classic Waimea form necessary to run the event, there was a faint swell in the water, allowing a few overhead peaks to peel into the bay. After introducing the invitees, the competitors, friends, and family of Eddie Aikau paddled out and joined hands in remembrance of the fallen North Shore hero. Although the event nearly ran last year with a swell teetering on the edge of the contestable criteria, there hasn’t been a proper Eddie swell since 2009, and the big-wave community has high hopes that competition will return to the bay before winter’s end.

A friend of the Aikau family led the surfers in a ceremonial blessing before the paddle-out. Photo: Lowe-White

Although the swell was hardly up to snuff to run the event, competitors had their guns waxed and ready for the holding period. Photo: Lowe-White

Hawaiians Danny Fuller and Makua Rothman are no strangers to the Waimea lineup. Photo: Lowe-White

Although John John Florence grew up in the spotlight on the North Shore, he isn't exactly a grom anymore, and his surfing is showing that more and more everyday. Photo: Lowe-White

Having recently turned 50, Tom Carroll has had a long relationship with the most famous big-wave spot on the planet. Photo: Lowe-White

2011 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Invitees:

Brock Little – HAW
Bruce Irons – HAW
Clyde Aikau – HAW
Dave Wassel – HAW
Greg Long – USA
Jamie O’Brien – HAW
Jamie Sterling – HAW
Kala Alexander – HAW
Kelly Slater – USA
Keone Downing – HAW
Kohl Christensen – HAW
Makua Rothman – HAW
Mark Healey – HAW
Michael Ho – HAW
Nathan Fletcher – USA
Noah Johnson – HAW
Peter Mel – USA
Ramon Navarro – CHL
Reef McIntosh – HAW
Ross Clarke – Jones – AUS
Rusty Keaulana – HAW
Shane Dorian – HAW
Sunny Garcia – HAW
Tom Carroll – AUS
Carlos Burle – BRZ
Grant Baker – ZAF
Jeremy Flores – EUR
Takayuki Wakita – JPN


Kalani Chapman – HAW
Garrett McNamara – HAW
Ian Walsh – HAW
Kahea Hart – HAW
Alex Gray – USA
Chris Bertish – ZAF
Mark Mathews – AUS
Shawn Dollar – USA
John John Florence – HAW
Danilo Couto – BRZ
Jamie Mitchell – AUS
Evan Valiere – HAW
Gabriel Villaran – PER
Danny Fuller – HAW
Keoni Watson – HAW
Ben Wilkinson – AUS
Diego Medina – CHL
Rusty Long – USA
Derek Dunfee – USA
Anthony Tashnick – USA
Ken Collins – USA
Kealii Mamala – HAW
Ross Williams – HAW
Tav Hannemann – HAW

  • delboy

    Go twiggy my bru……….

  • Daniel Fryer

    Here are some water pictures from the paddle out ceremony. It was truly an amazing experience filled with Respect, Honor and Brotherhood.


    where is Myles Padaca?? He came in 7th in the Eddie in 2004 or 5??????

  • Ben

    C’mon, Jeremy Flores gets an invite while Bertish wins a HUGE mavericks contest and gets an alternate? I smell a conspiracy… almost to the degree of the disappearance of the “SEA OF DARKNESS”

  • mario

    Jeremy flore invited !!!!
    unreal !
    he has never surf Waimea !! he has never surf a bigger board than 6’8
    i’m french and I am ashamed to be french

    this is the mafia of the boss of quiksilver europe.


  • Muz

    I can’t believe that J.Flores is in this either – this is really really wrongtown Quiksilver!!!!!

  • jts

    what about flea? he charges harder than anyone

  • Mik

    Stoked to see Jeremy Flores in this. I think this is the first European invitee, and he charges. Anyone who saw him in that opening heat at Teahupoo, where he set the initial standard to just paddle into really heavy ledging barrels will know that he excels in challenging surf. Obviously, the list of alternates includes allot of very deserving surfers, so I appreciate the comments of others. But for me, It is equally exciting to see a European entry, have lived abroad.

  • Mik

    BTW: John John Florence is amazing. Mind boggling how fast he has risen to the top… Congrats to O’Neill for recognizing him so early on, and supporting his ascendance. I hope he somehow gets into this as an alternate.

  • Stephen Street

    Sunny, okay check, Makua Rothman, sure check, Tom Carroll, fine absolutely check and Jeremy Flores check, what? Wait! Are you sure? Seriously? Good luck mon ami. Oh, and by the way Europe is a big place, don`t just put Europe. Put France or in Monsieur Flores` case Reunion Island. Bon chance Jeremy and no fighting in the shore pound oui?

  • Tommy Daniels

    My thoughts exactly… NO MYLES PADACA????? He for surely deserves to be in! Hope they hold it and Jeremy cartwheels all the way to the bottom of the boil! C’mon Quicksilver… really?

  • jimmy jazz

    What´s up with European Surf?We´ve all year bigger waves & some deserve to be there; mainly by the great work that does looking for new spots

  • http://none jaxwax

    respect all invited, tho i noticed not many aussies

  • james cromer

    Wish u were here this year Davi

  • http://TheEddieAikauInvitational James Watts

    What happened to Laird Hamilton? Is he hurt or just not wanting to be there!
    And is Jerry Lopez still snow skiing and in the mountains… Is there any way to email or mail Laird Hamilton?

    Thanks for the info…

    call, write, or email please….
    James Watts
    c. 832.272.7498

  • Kris McLeod

    Come on Slater bring another one home!!!!