In the world of big wave surfing, the contest held each year — or at least attempted to be held each year — in honor of Eddie Aikau on the North Shore of Oahu represents one of the most prestigious surfing events on the planet.

Those 28 surfers fortunate enough to compete in the 31st annual Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau were announced this week, including notable names such as Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian and Sunny Garcia in the lineup along with some up and comers. 

The event held at Waimea Bay occurs only when waves get to be at least 20 feet high by Hawaiian standards, which is a 40-foot face. That’s the way Eddie liked to ride them.

It’s been six years since the waves at Waimea Bay have been big enough to trigger a contest. Participants wait on stand-by following a Dec. 3 banquet until Feb. 26. And with an El Nino winter predicted, this just might be the year for a monster swell. 

The first lifeguard at Waimea Bay, Eddie was also a notorious surfer known as one of the best around. As a lifeguard he made 500 rescues and never lost a single person in the surf. He later lost his life attempting to save the crew of a replica Polynesian canoe that capsized on a cultural trip to Tahiti. All but Eddie survived.

To read more about the event and the life of Eddie Aikou visit

Photo credit: Dreamstime