It looks like The Eddie could run after all. It’s been a rough couple of years for the Aikau family when it comes to negotiations surrounding the world’s most famous big wave event. Back in October of 2016, news broke that Quiksilver would no longer be sponsoring the acclaimed contest. There’d been rumors for a while that Quik and the Aikaus were having some difficulties navigating the muddy waters of a surf event that only runs under specific conditions, but last year, according to reports, negotiations “broke down.”
“The family is proud of the event and appreciated the role Quiksilver played,” Seth Reiss, the attorney for the Aikau family, said at the time. “That relationship ended earlier this year. There were substantial discussions between the family and Quiksilver about how the relationship could be continued, but in the end, no agreement was reached.”
Apparently, when the Aikau family declined to surrender control of the Eddie for five years on the terms Quiksilver was demanding, Quiksilver terminated negotiations. Then, of course, other sponsors came into play. So far, though, none of them have put their money where their mouth is. But the Aikau family is planning on doing it their own way–just so long as Mother Nature cooperates. The last time The Eddie ran was in the 2015-2016 winter— only the ninth time since 1984 — and John John Florence took the win. The one-day contest is only held when 30-foot swells break at Waimea Bay consistently enough to run all the heats back-to-back.
According to a recent report by KHON2, should the waves get big enough, the family wants to make it happen, sponsors be damned. “If it’s big enough, we’re going to run it. If it’s not, we’re not going to run it,” Sol Aikau told KHON2. “All I’m gonna say is be ready to come down to The Bay when you hear it.”
Despite the sponsorship issues, the family remains optimistic that they can run a grassroots event. The opening ceremony is still scheduled for November 30th.
Of course, the whole thing depends on the vagaries of the ocean, but one would imagine that, with the support of Oahu residents, an event–although possibly not a televised one–is well within the realm of possibility. The Aikau family holds no ill will towards Quik, either. “I do want to thank Quiksilver for all the years,” Clyde Aikau said. “The family is just moving on with the tremendous support from the public and from Hawaii.”
With no sponsor, the event could be a little less extravagant than it has been in years past. “Even if we have to have coconuts for trophies and you come down with a can of sardines, Uncle Clyde will feed you rice and we’ll have the event,” Clyde Aikau said. “It’s just a whole new road and a very exciting road, and the main thing is that the family wants to continue to carry on Eddie’s legacy and what he was all about.”