The 2023 Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay

by Miles
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World’s most iconic big-wave event returns to Waimea Bay.


The word “unique” is thrown around a lot. In this case, it fits. There is nothing like the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, inside surfing or out. The event has been placed on a three-month hold every Hawaiian winter for the past 34 years, and run only nine times — only when Waimea Bay offers itself up at 20 feet or bigger for a full day of surfing.

It is run in the memory of Eddie: fantastic surfer, Hawaiian all the way through, the first lifeguard in North Shore history, who vanished in an impossibly heroic rescue effort off the capsized double hull canoe Hokule’a in March 1978. Surfers attend the event by invitation from the Aikau family, and there’s no greater honor in surfing.

This year, a total of 40 surfers have been so honored. (See our list below.)

The event format is simple: Two rounds of eight-person heats are held, so everyone gets to surf twice. Each surfer’s top four rides count toward a total score. Those top four rides can come from one or both heats, so a wobbly first heat isn’t the end of the world.

But it wouldn’t be anyway. Just paddling out for one of these heats is prized by every surfer who’s ever taken part.

There’s been nine winners of the Eddie so far. Nobody has ever won it twice.

Former winners:

Denton Miyamura (1987), Clyde Aikau (1986), Keone Downing (1990), Noah Johnson (1999), Ross Clarke-Jones (2001), Kelly Slater (2002), Bruce Irons (2004), Greg Long (2009), John Florence (2016)




Heat 1: Andrea Moller, Aaron Gold, Greg Long, John John Florence, Koa Rothman, Mark Healey, Nathan Fletcher, Shane Dorian

R1 Heat 2: Emily Erickson, Ian Walsh, Josh Moniz, Kohl Christiansen, Makua Rothman, Ross Clark-Jones, Kahea Hart, Mikey Redd

R1 Heat 3: Justine Dupont, Keala Kennelly, Eli Olson, Jake Maki, Kai Lenny, Landon McNamara, Nic Von Rupp, Taio Shipman

R1 Heat 4: Makani Adric, Ezekiel Lau, Chris Owen, Keali’i Mamala, Lucas Chianca, Mason Ho, Peter Mel, Tikanui Smith

Heat 5: Paige Alms, Grant Twiggy Baker, Jamie Mitchell, Billy Kemper, Luke Shepardson, Michael Ho, Ramon Navarro, Tyler Larronde




Heat 1: Andrea Moller (pink), Aaron Gold (blue), Greg Long (purple), John John Florence (yellow), Eli Olson (white), Jake Maki (orange), Kai Lenny (red), Landon McNamara (black)

Heat 2: Emily Erickson (pink), Koa Rothman (blue), Mark Healey (purple), Nathan Fletcher (yellow), Nic von Rupp (white), Taio Shipman (orange), Ezekiel Lau (red), Chris Owen(black)

Heat 3: Justine Dupont (pink), Keala Kennelly (blue), Shane Dorian (purple), Kahea Hart (yellow), Keali’i Mamala (white), Lucas Chianca (orange), Mason Ho (red), Peter Mel (black)

Heat 4: Makani Adric (pink), Ian Walsh (blue), Josh Moniz (purple) Kohl Christensen (yellow), Tikanui Smith (white), Grant Twiggy Baker (orange), Jamie Mitchell (red), Billy Kemper (black) Heat 5 Paige Alms (pink), Makuakai Rothman (blue), Mikey Red (purple). Ross Clark-Jones (yellow), Luke Shepardson (white), Michael Ho (orange), Ramon Navarro (red), Tyler Larronde (black)



20ft+ Red Bull Recap: The Almost Eddie Swell. Three massive days in the Pacific.…

Special thanks to our Surfline Premium members and supporting broadcast sponsors:



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• The Twin Fin Waikiki Hotel

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Timeline Markers- Event starts: 03:33


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