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Waimea Bay, HAWAII, March 1, 2004 - (NYSE:ZQK) - The three month
winter-long holding period for the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau,
otherwise known as “The Eddie”, officially drew to a close yesterday,
Sunday, February 29, 2004. The holding period for the event began on December 5, 2003.
Organizers and competitors waited hopefully for the full extent of the holding period, with giant swells arriving regularly right up until the last day. Unfortunately, all of the major swells that were large enough to hold the event at Waimea Bay were adversely affected by strong, on-shore winds, deeming the break unfit for competition.
The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau is an annual event that takes place at the hallowed grounds of Waimea Bay, on the North Shore of Oahu, on a single day when waves reach a minimum of 20 feet. The event was created in 1986, to honor legendary Hawaiian waterman Eddie Aikau, who was one of Waimea Bay’s finest both as a surfer and lifeguard. Each year the event gathers 24 of the most skillful and dynamic big-wave surfers from around the world. Since its inception in 1986, the event has been held a total of five times, on days within the holding period when Waimea Bay reached 20 feet plus – just as Aikau would have liked it. The Eddie was last held on January 7, 2002, and was won by Kelly Slater (USA).
Contest director George Downing, a waterman who surfed Waimea Bay on many big days with Aikau, is the man who gives the event the green light when conditions are right. He best summed up the event in saying: " This event captures everything that Eddie was, a lifesaver, a big-wave rider and someone who loved to surf at Waimea Bay,” says Downing. “The event is about recognizing a special person who was brought up in Hawaii, in a true Hawaiian family, who gave his life to save others. Even those years we don't run, the event still happens. When we actually get to surf it, actually get the waves we need, it’s the icing on the cake.”
As the first official lifeguard on Oahu's North Shore, at Waimea Bay,
Aikau saved countless lives. Ultimately, at the age of 33, he gave his
own life in an attempt to save others. During a re-enactment of the Polynesian voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti, sailing by the stars on a traditional canoe, Aikau and his fellow crewmen encountered a huge storm that capsized their boat during the night in the Molokai Channel. Aikau was last seen doing what he was best known for - paddling off in huge waves to get help. He was lost at sea on March 16, 1978. His spirit and legend live on.
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