Waimea Bay, O`ahu Hawai`i
Contest Format

Online Editors note: This material, as written by a gentleman friend of Eddie Aikau, was prepared in 1996, in anticipation of that year's event which was not held - portions of it may not accuately reflect the format of the '99 event, as surfed.

The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational has a unique format designed by veteran Hawaiian big wave surfer, surfboard designer, shaper and competitor George Downing. As Contest Director, Downing wanted to create an event that best reflected the big wave experience of Eddie Aikau - when a dedicated group of true watermen would gather to challenge themselves in riding the biggest waves in the world.

Thirty three surfers are invited to the contest plus alternates. Alternates will take the place of invited surfers who elect not to enter or do not show up for their heat.There is $81,800 in total prize money; ($50,000 lst., $10,000 2nd., $5,000 3rd., $3,000 4th., $2,000 5th., $1,000 6th), with the remaining surfers receiving $400 for their appearances. All surfers are awarded a trophy commemorating their involvement in the event.

Each of the invited surfers will have two opportunities to surf on the day of the event. Surfers will be identified with different colored and/or numbered jerseys Every surfer will be scored by seven judges on the three to four best waves ridden during each 45 - 60 minute session. Participants will surf in groups of 8 or 11 depending on session time available.

Each judge scores each surfer's ride with a value of 1 to 20 points. The value of each ride will be determined by each judge (this is a subjective call) based on the size of the wave, positioning of take-off, how critical take-off is, maneuvers used to maintain positions and the control of body and boards. Because this event is to be held in ' Big Waves", the highest value score will be given to the surfer who rides The Biggest Wave", The Greatest Distance", "In the Most Critical Section". All maneuvers that allow a surfer to achieve his goal will be part to the total value given by each judge. At the end of each heat, all judges score sheets ate checked for clarity by the Head Recorder before computing is started. When this is complete, each surfer's Individual Wave score from all judges is totaled. This is done first by eliminating one judge's high (H) and one judges low (L) score from each judges score sheet. Eliminating a high and low score as is done in Olympic diving will limit any prejudice that may exist among the judging panel. The balance of the scores are added together with the total becoming the Score for that ride. Leashes will be allowed. Caddies will be allowed on the beach only If the event can not be accomplished in the time allowed, and for whatever reason, the event will be postponed or canceled. All decisions are made and known by every competitor prior to each round.

Two rounds of surfing allows each competitor to come from behind and win the contest. At the end of the day, the surfer who has taken off on the biggest waves and surfed through the most critical positions with exemplary judgment is the winner. The format produces a spirit of competition while encouraging sportsmanship and safety, allowing the true abilities of the contestants to shine through.

The level of commitment required in taking off on a huge waves at Waimea Bay is so intense that pulling back at the last second is impossible. For this reason, in the case of two surfers taking off on the same wave, the judges will determine whether or not there was willful interference. Willful interference would result in a five (5) point penalty deducted from the score of each judge for that ride. The penalized score would eliminate any chance for the surfer at fault to achieve a high placing, while the surfer interfered with is allowed to catch another wave. Should more than one surfer ride the same wave, the surfer holding the more critical inside position will be scored higher because of the increased difficulty of his situation.

With its unique waiting period, this special event will be held only when the surf is big enough and conditions are right; waves must be 20' or bigger, surface conditions ridable with sets consistent and predictable.

O`ahu's North Shore is renowned as one of the few places on earth that can produce these kinds of conditions during it's winter big wave season. Every year the invitees, many of them regarded as the best surfers in the world are already on the North Shore for the winter waves and contests, hopeful that conditions will come together so the event can be run.

The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau" big wave contest has been designed to showcase the extraordinary ability of the world's greatest big wave specialists, a special breed of surfers, recognized internationally as the men who dare the challenge of surfing the biggest waves in the world.

Contest History -|- News/Results of '99 Event

Hele On Back Waimea

Last Modified: 19990108.0909 HST Friday
Copyright 1996-99 Quiksilver Memory of Eddie Aikau
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