The Eddie Aikau 2023

freeride76's picture
By Steve Shearer (freeride76)
Photo: Clark Little via AP

The Eddie Aikau 2023

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)
Swellnet Dispatch

A lot has changed since the Eddie last ran on Feb 25, 2016. A helluva lot. On that day John John Florence held up the winners cheque for USD $75,000, the largest single big wave prize purse in history. Apart from being flush with Quiksilver cash, the WSL was still hellbent on a quixotic quest to put the entire surfing world into its corporate back pocket. The webcast was lush: Turpel on the mike, Strider in the channel, cameras everywhere. No expense spared. The 2016 Eddie was the last great unifying event in competitive surfing history as JJF went on to win the Triple Crown and World Title that year.

This year Luke Shepardson, an on duty lifeguard in standard issue red and yellow kit on the podium, walked away with $10,000 after numerous insane rides at giant, clean, consistent Waimea Bay. The "best big Waimea" third placer Mark Healey had ever seen, and "the greatest day in surfing history" according to fifth placed Billy Kemper. Kemper's $3,000 and Healey's $5,000 seemed almost laughably scant for such a day.

But that is where we are and a vision of a post-WSL future was unveiled to us today. Minus the scaffolding of bottomless billionaire money and surf industry largesse we are back to meagre prize money, shambolic webcasts, and wildly entertaining action played to a huge crowd.

The Eddie-producing storm was perfectly placed, nosing within a 1,000nm of Hawaii. Angle: perfect W/NW. Proximity equals size and consistency, and almost from the get go the action came thick and fast. Surf fans and commentators alike fumbled around trying to figure out who was who in the sea mist. We were halfway through Kelly Slater's nominal heat before it was confirmed the 2001 Eddie Champ had stayed on the beach citing bad feels. He told Hawaii's KITV4 Malika Dudley the feels could have been “sleep patterns” or not having surfed big waves in a while and that having consulted Tony Moniz he had been advised to stay on the beach. So he did.

It was the first year women were invited and present in every heat. That also may become significant if big wave surfing becomes further alienated from the WSL. Mixed heats made perfect sense. Every woman got one, at least. Paige Alms was the clear stand-out. Cool, calm makes from perfect positioning on mid-size sets. At the opposite end of that spectrum Keala Kennelly drove 1991 Honda Civics into brick walls at top speed without a seat belt. In Heat 3 of Round 1 she went over the falls, then pitched from crest to trough looking like a corpse thrown from a high rise building.

She repeated the dose in her next heat, on a bigger wave before shakily making a wave, then another. Whether that is bravado or lack of the self-preservation instinct it seemed an example of what French poet Arthur Rimbaud termed, “our desire lacks learned music”.

Desire and learned music were in abundance though throughout the day. JJF being Exhibit A. Johnny was in cruise control in both heats. When I say cruise control I mean paddling inside and deep to flutter drop down a 20 footer. It seemed a day when John was going to do something absolutely ridiculous. Backdoor a 30 foot tube from behind the ledge for example. And those waves were out there. But John didn't get one and so by comparison to his own lofty standards and what he is capable of, his two heats seemed a little lacklustre. Don't get me wrong, still insane by any measure, but I thought his second place finish belonged to others who charged harder on the day.

Kai Lenny was another who could have packed that giant barrel but couldn't quite find it. Contra Nate Florence's betting tips it seemed old guys were charging harder through the first round. RCJ spiked a bomb, as did Pete Mel in webbed paddling gloves and a Northern Californian winter tan. You could have bounced satellite images off his pasty legs.

You want to make a living as a big waver? Then study Billy Kemper. Everything he does is designed, consciously or unconsciously, to wring maximum drama out of any given big wave situation. There is always some obstacle to overcome, and when Billy does overcome it he lets the whole world know about it. Balls of steel, four-time Jaws Champion, back from a life threatening injury in Morocco etc etc. And a week after blazing down the Kam Highway in the back of an ambulance after getting carted off the beach at Pipe he was staring down Waimea Bay sets and going the biggest ones that came his way. Billy has never met a huge wave he wouldn't ride and then claimed the shit out of. If there was bonus points dished out for claims Billy would scoop the pool. He claimed four times on one ride from out the back to the shorey, with two bonus chest thumps thrown in.

Billy Kemper is the best big wave surfer in the world and he can claim whatever the hell he likes.

Minus any huge barrels being packed, innovation was hard to spot. To my eye the biggest innovation was the improvement in backside surfing. Young Hawaiians Jake Maki and Landon Macnamara were insane, with Landon getting a podium finish (7th, $1,000 prize money). Koa Rothman was nuts, and Nic von Rupp charged.

Lucas 'Chumbo' Chianca was almost the standout of the day for me and a criminal oversight he wasn't on the podium. He was one of the few to paddle into the thick ones that had no entry, getting launched on one then sticking an insane drop that detonated Mason Ho. Chumbo broke his leg on the shorebreak going for a floater and if there were new lines to be drawn at ancient Waimea Bay, he at least attempted them.

And he wasn't the best goofy out there. That honour belonged to Mark Healey. Healey got blown off the back of a genuine close-out monster that I'm sure would have been the biggest wave of the day. Then almost straight away rocket dropped into a classic Waimea ledge. One where the arse drops out of it like an Australian slab, making a ten foot gun fall vertically out of the sky. You could feel the weightless tension as Healey waited for oblivion then ever so subtly let the fins find traction and steering control to ride out of it. Healey could have won the damn thing if it wasn't for Shepardson.

God I hope Ross Clarke-Jones pissed in a cup today. And whatever was in his bloodstream is made commercially available. 57 years old by my count. “A drop of Nelson's blood,” goes the old sea shanty, “wouldn't do us any harm”. I'll take a thimble-full of RCJ's over the Old Admiral if we are talking about magical powers.

RCJ paddled for a wave, missed it, then turned to see the biggest set of the day. Took it on the head. Later shared a first wave of the set with Mike Ho then copped another huge wave on the head (which was ridden by Luke Shepardson for a perfect score for who caught the wave). So much punishment. So much hard, hard punishment. Even with jet skis and crowds on the beach. If Ross had claimed bad feels and not paddled out there would be no worries. No hard feelings whatsoever. He's charged like a madman for decades. Yet there he was, a human bowling ball careering into giant Waimea like he was made of pure granite.

Wipeout of the day? Take your pick. I've got Twiggy Baker and KK tied for their crest to trough pitchings. The classic Waimea wipeout has to have that in my books. Billy Kemper got separated from his board and tried to re-engage on a 30 footer, in mid-air. Under a pitching lip. Pick that one if you like. There were many.

The action was constant. Often overwhelming. And in the end the winner seemed obvious, despite the shambolic webcast, with its weird silences and mis-identifications (Kaipo called Justine Dupont, Shane Dorian, which has to win the chocolates for best SNAFU of the day). No leaderboard, no scores, no spotters.

The fans figured it out. The crowd was entertained. The surfers showed up for the prestige, not the money.

Ten grand to the winner. Doubt Luke will even be able to take a week off work on that. That's paying a few bills, a flight to Maui, maybe a new sled or two and a tank of gas, to use the American parlance.

The recipe seems simple: Put them all together in giant surf, roll the cameras and let God sort 'em out.

Minus the corporate packaging the Eddie holds up.

More than that, it seems a vision for the future.

//STEVE SHEARER

Comments

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:04am

$10K for the winner - hardly seems worth risking it for the biscuit...

Pablolo's picture
Pablolo's picture
Pablolo Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 8:02am

Did you read the article or just have some overriding need to put some hip idiom on paper? It wasn’t about the biscuit

Mango Carafino's picture
Mango Carafino's picture
Mango Carafino Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 11:12am

Good job.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 10:59am

Chianca is Brazilian.

Mango Carafino's picture
Mango Carafino's picture
Mango Carafino Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 11:15am

After 3 months in Mexico I would have never thought that name was Brazilian, apparently one slip through the cracks. But the truth still stands as I wrote. Thanks for your help correcting me.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 11:17am

Thanks for detailed comments Mango.

Just fyi, I've spent lots of time on Oahu. Months and months over years.

Munjo's picture
Munjo's picture
Munjo Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:12am

Well that just got my day off to a fantastic start. I was literally cry laughing as I read this. Lovely price of writing Steve and an apt summary of a historic day in surfing.
What a great call the no go was for the Eddie last week. Perfect day for it yesterday.

hahnsolo's picture
hahnsolo's picture
hahnsolo Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:15am

Great to see something totally different to the usual WSL formula! I get “bad feels in 4’ surf as a 62 year old! Those older guys were amazing!

Vunerable's picture
Vunerable's picture
Vunerable Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:43am

For me Mark Healey and Shepherdson were hard to separate. Surprised Healy didn’t get 30 pts for any of his rides.(30 pts being perfect score)3 judges.
Had JJF 3rd. Wave of the day?
Landon McNamara and Chumbo put on a fantastic showing for goofies.
RCJ paddling takeoff in his 1st heat serious set wave was epic Mad wax.
KK 2nd heat wipeout down the mineshaft was unrivalled.
Some really good angles of the surfer’s in an out of the water with the big guns was incredible.
Loved it all day.

Andrew P's picture
Andrew P's picture
Andrew P Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:47am

Another great analysis piece Steve. I watched bits of it pre-work and snuck a few mins during. I managed to see the days wrap highlights and buoy was that packed full of action!

My observations:
- the surf grew throughout the day, as conditions held
- Mason Ho is a mortal, I saw him fall on one
- chumbo deserved the podium
- RCJ has cojones as big as footballs
- yeah the girls!

For some reason I didn’t see any footage of JJF’s waves. For him to get 2nd behind Cool Hand Luke and in front of Healy he must have caught a couple of bangers.

What a contest! Between the Eddie and the Backdoor Shootout, this Hawaiian comp season has been thoroughly enjoyable to watch from the safety of my seat. Such a contrast to the sterile, saccharine slurry that the WSL serves.

Lucre's picture
Lucre's picture
Lucre Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:47am

Perfect summary. No idea how jjf got 2nd?! I don’t even think he was top 5!
Stoked on Luke, well deserved.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:55am

Here's Kelly being human

Interesting that Wassel was also going to give up his spot to Ben Wilko if he got the call up being next in line.

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 9:21pm

Thanks for sharing. Makes me proud to be a surfer.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:58am

Great viewing, even with the webcast issues regarding rider identification and hazy vision from afar.

Watching a swell that big, consistent and clean constantly bombard the coast was insane.

Great charging by Sheppo, Healey, among others. I agree JJ didn't seem to standout to me, nowhere near that 2nd place.

chris.binns's picture
chris.binns's picture
chris.binns Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 7:12pm

Think Kaips actually confused Justine for Mason which is funnier still, he's a foot shorter and has a wild dark wig, while she's a tall blonde in a Red Bull-branded helmet. But anyway...

Great wrap Steve, appreciate the effort to decipher it all for those of us who sadly couldn't dedicate the hours the day deserved.

wally's picture
wally's picture
wally Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:01am

With 8 in the water, they need more variety in the comp shirts. Some shirts should have stripes etc.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:04am

Agree, like in horse racing.

wally's picture
wally's picture
wally Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:45am

Giving it 3 minutes thought, you could have
all white
all red
all yellow
all blue
white with a single black hoop and black sleeves
yellow with a single red hoop and red sleeves
white with multiple blue hoops
green with vertical white stripes

Problem solved. Easy to work this out in retrospect, of course.

chris.binns's picture
chris.binns's picture
chris.binns Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 7:07pm

Stripes don't work, we tried it at an airshow in France once and even 50m off the beach you couldn't pick anyone. Red, white, blue, black, fluoro yellow, fluoro orange or pink are probaby your best bet.

chris.binns's picture
chris.binns's picture
chris.binns Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 7:14pm

And skins, seeing as I'm still one short.

FarBeyondDriven's picture
FarBeyondDriven's picture
FarBeyondDriven Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:15am

RCJ, super human effort! Have read he had zero inflation / impact vest too.
Great day of surfing, everyone was charging.

Ricko2526's picture
Ricko2526's picture
Ricko2526 Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:17am

Enjoyed the event much more than the usual WSL 'slickness'. Some silence is not always a bad thing - take note Mr Turpel

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 9:23pm

FUCK-ING-OATH

Fraser G's picture
Fraser G's picture
Fraser G Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:18am

If Healy got down that big one it would of been undeniably his...the vlogers footage is going to be insane ...huge win for pure core balls to the wall surfing...RCJ no flotation just a rashie was the highlight for me complete maddog

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:52am

No float vest is huge. Big advantage to your mindset if you know you're going to pop-up like a cork.

wally's picture
wally's picture
wally Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:23am

1. Luke Shepardson 89.1
2. John John Florence 84.2
3. Mark Healey 82.3
4. Billy Kemper 79.5
5. Kai Lenny 76.7
6. Ezekiel Lau 75.5
7. Landon McNamara 75.3
8. Keali’i Malama 72.5
9. Lucas Chianca 71.7
10. Ross Clark-Jones 70

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 9:24pm

RCJ GOT TOP TEN!?!?!?! What a fair dinkum legend. Amazing. Every time I wax my board all my kids chant "we wanna go to pipeline, sure Wiz".

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:28am

2 incredible events, this and Hui, WSL nowhere near it.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:28am

It was a good day. Healey was right there but couldn’t fault the winner pick.

JJF got a batch of bombs and made it look too easy, he was deeper than most and just stroked into a few with better timing and lines. Zeke was good but often JJF was on his inside on the same wave.

Shepardson was also knifing in and making it look easy. Those two just picked better waves and controlled them better.

RCJ, holy hell how does he do that? Missed his first heat but he was everywhere in his second and in the worst of all positions after not being able to paddle into one. I would have had a heart attack turning around looking at that, just to save time.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:54am

Can’t add much more than what’s been said already. Epic day.
I’d love it if they fitted a heart rate monitor to RCJ just to see if the readings changed when he realised he was about to cop a 30 footer on the head with no flotation.
I’m tipping not.
Cool as a cucumber.

“ Billy Kemper is the best big wave surfer in the world and he can claim whatever the hell he likes.” - nah I don’t reckon. But that’s just my opinion. If they had an event at giant cloudbreak like they do Jaws I reckon Healeys got him.

jedi old mate's picture
jedi old mate's picture
jedi old mate Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:07am

I'll never know what it feels like to ride waves like that and the adrenaline that overcomes your system but chest beating claims disgust me and should be banned or at the very least blurred from webcast.

Besides that an absolute legendary day of surfing and although I found the webcast hard too watch in the morning once the swell pulsed and frequency of sets increased it didn't matter that the webcast wasn't the best. Loved the presentation to!

Beats's picture
Beats's picture
Beats Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:18am

What an event - Too much action, bravado, skill to discuss in detail but I will mention when Clyde Aikau was presenting the awards only JJF and Shepardson were left and he asked the crowd who they thought won - overwhelmingly they cheered Shepardson. Too many surfers to pick one but patriotically RCJ absolute hellman legend.
Great write up Steve

harrycoopr's picture
harrycoopr's picture
harrycoopr Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:18am

Rimbaud!?.. I'm impressed. Certainly no drunken boats out there!

Yuri's picture
Yuri's picture
Yuri Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:19am

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:22am

Loved what I watched of the comp. Esp Healey, Luke Shep, RCJ, and Lucas Chianca. And a great writeup, as usual.

A few questions:
- That pulled back video from the SW corner showed a huge one just peeling from way the heck beyond the normal lineup. Why have I never heard talk of that, nor seen it attempted?

- Given that Waimea is more about outrunning a big section, and not knifing in under the roof like at Peahi/Jaws, why aren't single fins used more often?

On my wishlist:
- Better singlets (thanks, Wally)
- Scores made available
- Professional courtesy to all invited surfers, not just celebration of Hawaiian culture

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:45am

It's called, or use to be called, Insanities as it ends on a semi-exposed rock shelf outside of Waimea point. There's no real way to ride it, but it can look unreal when sitting in the lineup or when watching Waimea from the Three Tables side of the point.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 11:29am

Ah, that's what Insanities is. Thanks Stu.
I have a North Shore guide/article ripped from an ancient Surfer issue "The 7 Mile Miracle" - remember reading about it there.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 1:27am

Impossibles ,three tables,
Insanaties is on the west side.
I wonder if anyone towed outer logs? it looked huge from the webcast.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 1:01pm

Emi Erikson was on a single fin gun - she often is.

Mentions them in this interview:

https://www.surfline.com/surf-news/emi-erickson-interview/67534

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 12:11pm

@ Island Bay,
Far off wave is called outer log cabins.
Ask Tony Ray and RCJ
What its like to surf
Eli paddle one there a few years back now.....Bonkers

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:27am

just as well they didnt run the week before.......all time surfing ,webcast could use a spruce up ...no spotters whats that about? surely someone could have done it.......Jamie o not in it or was he?

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:40am

i would watch that again any day over tow ins at nazare

deckstrus's picture
deckstrus's picture
deckstrus Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:52am

And let's not forget Luke Shep was an alternate.

He's forever cemented himself as an invitee after that performance eh?

Very deserved winner - with Healy a close second for mine.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:58am

In the second last heat there was a natural footer that took off on a wave as big as Shepardson's make or Kemper's wipeout, but when he got to his feet, rather than roll the eyes back and go, he let himself get blown off the back.

It looked like either Tikanui Smith or Twiggy - though hard to believe the latter would've pulled back.

Either way, it was an early entry, seemed makeable, was arguably the biggest wave of the day, and it could've changed the final standings.

Wonder how that surfer is feeling about that split-second decision now?

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 11:15am

It would be great to have a heat recap/analyser to pick a heat and go through and see each wave (and score) and wipeout etc. There was just so much action going on through the entire day.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:46pm

This has been really sticking in my craw.

Looking at the heat Draw my guess is Ian Walsh.

Will try and confirm.

marcus's picture
marcus's picture
marcus Friday, 3 Feb 2023 at 9:48pm

Hey Steve @freeride76 what happened to Jamie o? Nothing about the Eddie mentioned in his blogs.
Weird. Did he have a bad day?

Roadkill's picture
Roadkill's picture
Roadkill Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 11:08am

10K...is pretty crappy considering

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 11:12am

TK was on a yellow Red Board

kimbo1's picture
kimbo1's picture
kimbo1 Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 11:18am

Everything the WSL doesnt touch turns to Gold .

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 11:42am

Wonder if Kelly gets an invite next time. I presumed RCJs had a bouyancy vest on. He looked huge. Absolute animal

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 11:45am

I think as a previous Eddie winner, Kelly will be invited each time.

Hiccups's picture
Hiccups's picture
Hiccups Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 6:05pm

No vest for RCJ

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Thursday, 26 Jan 2023 at 12:10pm

RCJ has a somewhat substantial built in mpact and buoyancy vest.

And a literal do or die mindset.

He knows another Eddie opportunity might never come his way.

StayAtHome's picture
StayAtHome's picture
StayAtHome Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 11:58am

I can’t stop feeling that I was fortunate to witness something very special yesterday- must watch the whole shebang if I ever find the time. What a humble winner. Such a joy to watch the women kicking ass. What a hilarious collection of comments on the Swellnet stream, and I loved Kaipo’s having a go at trying to interpret this amazing event for us. A precious gem to hold on to and nurture and use as a role model for real surfing.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 12:17pm

I know the WSL now has nothing to do with the Eddie but it still seems churlish and petty for them to treat it with absolute radio silence.

Nothing on their social media channels, nothing from ELO, or JMD.

A simple congratulations to Luke Shepardson surely wouldn't be too much to expect?

Le_Reynard's picture
Le_Reynard's picture
Le_Reynard Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 1:37pm

Yeah totally the wrong approach.

seaslug's picture
seaslug's picture
seaslug Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 2:15pm

Totally agree Steve

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 12:17pm

Feel like it might be the other way around
Mabybe the Aikau family grew tired overly saturated corpo speak from the industry.
They figured they could host it better themselves and well they actually did.

Stuart Lickspittler's picture
Stuart Lickspittler's picture
Stuart Lickspittler Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 12:22pm

All hail Dark Bones. The baddest and maddest - and best? - of all time!

Le_Reynard's picture
Le_Reynard's picture
Le_Reynard Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 1:38pm

+1 for Healey at 2nd, Chumbo podium. But the right guy won.
Ah I miss the Islands. I even liked the local ads throughout , made me feel at home haha.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 2:11pm

According to Maurice C, RCJ hadn't surfed anything over 6ft in 5 years before The Eddie. Holy smokes, that's impressive.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 2:22pm

Thats absolutely mental/inspiring.

monkeyboy's picture
monkeyboy's picture
monkeyboy Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 2:54pm

Brilliant viewing. Loved the local ads too. Amazing what you can achieve with local sponsorship, a global product and some very good camera work.

gavin007's picture
gavin007's picture
gavin007 Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 3:14pm

I loved it!
Very few waves wasted like you get in the one on ones, gentleman's agreements in the lineups, everyone charging in crazy surf and entertaining the crowd. I even liked the lack of scores and unsureness of the commentary, strangely. Keala Kennelly 's wipeout was insane!! Clearly, it was the prestige, not the money.
I could watch these events all day anytime.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 3:15pm

Would have been great if they had somehow organised post/pre heat interviews on the broadcast. Big mix of competitors with varying personalities. Get the thoughts of Mason (and dad) or Ross after their heats, Jamie Mitchell doing his thousand yard stare.

Supafreak's picture
Supafreak's picture
Supafreak Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 5:25pm
tableandchairs's picture
tableandchairs's picture
tableandchairs Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 6:17pm

bloody great surf contest
big waves and ballsy surfers
and not a home and away starlet to be found

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:15pm

What an epic contest.
Someone in the YT feed comments has mentioned Pat Curren has passed away on the same day, rest in peace.

There is some crowd level footage that conveys the sense of awe of the place, amazing waves:

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:23pm

That wave at 1:43 - man if somebody came in from deep that would have been a huge pit.

burleigh's picture
burleigh's picture
burleigh Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:22pm

and i just read that both RCJ and Michael Ho didn't wear floatation. What animals.

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:51pm

Love that clip VJ, captured the feel for sure.
Reminded me of being on the cliffs at Bells on the Saturday in 81 as a grom. I stumbled across some photos I took of that day recently. Peter Crawford being taken out hanging beneath the rescue helicopter to shoot from the water, tiny little dots racing along these cartoonish sized waves. Blurry and out of focus but you get the sense of awe. You could feel the cliffs shaking.

andy-mac's picture
andy-mac's picture
andy-mac Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 8:51pm

RCJ is an absolute madman!!! Incredible...

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:00pm

How's this one - the two old legends, both doing it without float vests

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=613546757443001&set=a.210678084396539

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:11pm

Great write up Steve. Mad mad mad day. I couldn't fault coverage or ads or any minute if the day. Actually maybe could have had cleaner audio during awards ceremony. Other than that congrats to the mad and organisers. Aloha.

kaiser's picture
kaiser's picture
kaiser Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 10:49pm

3:58:25 on the full replay - is that a drone ditching in the drink up ahead of jjf?

nicko74's picture
nicko74's picture
nicko74 Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 11:03pm

Mental…. I reckon BI should have got a call up

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 7:24am
Standingleft's picture
Standingleft's picture
Standingleft Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 9:01am

I love giant waves at waimeabay. Just let me hit myself in the face with a brick ... That's better, what was I saying, oh yeah that's right, I love waimeabay.
Eddie was a safety guy right? I didn't see Luke Shepardson in the wipeout reel. That your full metal Waterman right there, deserves the win and would've survived without the high tech safety which Eddie never had. I don't want anyone to die but I think they could try deducting points for unsafe surfing. Wipeouts that take out other Surfers, getting caught inside, needing jetski assist and obviously breaking your leg in the shorebreak is a major deduction.

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freeride76 Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 9:10am

"I didn't see Luke Shepardson in the wipeout reel. That your full metal Waterman right there, deserves the win and would've survived without the high tech safety which Eddie never had. "

Very good point.

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Jelly Flater Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 9:33am

https://m.

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udo Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 3:19pm

~ John Pyzel ~
On January 22 the 10th Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational ran in arguably the best & biggest conditions ever seen.

Of the 32 competitors, six of them rode our infamous gun shape, the Padillac throughout the event. Of those six, 3 placed in the top 4.

Scroll below for the invitees who opted for their Padillac when the bay called the day.
JOHN JOHN FLORENCE

John rode his trusty 9'8" swallow tail Padillac all the way to 2nd place.
Photo by @artofoto.

MARK HEALEY

Mark, who helped in the development, testing, and naming of the Padillac rode a round tailed 10'4" and placed 3rd.
Photo by @scottsullivan.

BILLY KEMPER

Despite a knee injury, Billy took 4th place on his 10' round tail Padillac.
Photos by @traviskeahi.

LANDON MCNAMARA

Landon took 7th place riding his 10'4 Padillac in the deep waters of Waimea Bay.
Photo by @fabio808photo.

NIC VON RUPP

Nic Von Rupp flew back from Portugal to take on Waimea with his 10'4" swallow tail Padillac.
Photo by @badboyryry.

ELI OLSON

Eli paddled out & made some late, steep drops on his 10' swallow tail Padillac.
Photos by @traviskeahi.

KOA ROTHMAN

Koa rode his 9'0" Padillac in his first heat. The swell was increasing throughout the day so he swapped it out for his 9'6" in his second heat.

Congratulations to Luke Shepardson on the win & a big mahalo to the North Shore Lifeguards, Eddie Aikau Foundation, Malama Pupukea Foundation and more for your commitment.

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Andrew P Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 8:40pm

@udo so who shaped Shepardson's stick?

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lostdoggy Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 8:44pm

Matt Kazuma and Jason Koons

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Andrew P Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 10:25pm

Thanks

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Jamyardy Sunday, 5 Feb 2023 at 3:30pm

Good work Udo, nice to see what equipment some were selecting. Interesting how tails have gone to swallow and round, most guns were typically pin tails. In Healeys first heat he rode a 9'8", just like JJF did, and I think it was maybe Greg Long (forget now) that also had a 9'8" in the same heat. Amazing how three chargers all chose the exact same length, more than likely without consultation with each other. Pretty sure they were riding quads too. Kudos to Kemper, Larronde, and Lau, the only three that caught 4 waves in each round. Impressive day in the bay.

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old-dog Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 7:25pm

I still can't believe RCJ, the part of his brain that causes fear must be long gone. Love to hear an interview of what was going through his mind when getting ready to hit it. He doesn't look all that fit, has he been training for it or did he paddle out with a ciggie in his mouth. The footage of him pinballing over the rocks at the base of the Nazare cliff a few years ago was classic. Fucken legend.

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udo Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 7:48pm

From Ross :
WE ARE THE BORN MANIACS. We celebrate everything life has to offer - arts, music and culture, sports and whatever life throws our way. We encourage people to push their boundaries and we celebrate it. Whether you are a misfit, an outcast, a rock and roller or an extremist. We admire it and want everyone to challenge themselves and embrace their fears and grow with us, the Born Maniacs.

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udo Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 8:13pm
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lostdoggy Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 8:34pm

Perfect surfing.

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udo Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 9:12pm

Bit of Volume...Ecstatic Crowd

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lostdoggy Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 9:40pm
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udo Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 9:52pm

Fkn Unreal

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freeride76 Thursday, 26 Jan 2023 at 8:31am

I think that was my favourite wave of the day.

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frog Thursday, 26 Jan 2023 at 12:23pm

Worth watching for a personal angle of the day.

I like Koa's videos. He s not all hype like say JOB as he sometimes let's slip his fears and the realities of facing heavy north shore waves on a daily basis often with injuries or stiff back from the day before. Can imagine being in his shoes.

Plus he went hard on the day backhand.

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Craig Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 3:17pm

Loved that, great video capturing the whole day.

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Jono Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 3:28pm

hmm but I didn't see any '60ft' Hawaiian waves as the title baited me into believing.

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Jono Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 3:30pm

or the 100K spectators on the beach - that is just ridiculous.

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Craig Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 3:31pm

Ha!

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mpeachy Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 at 8:52pm

Koa's videos are good. He's a pretty awkward individual, but it kinda works because the clips don't come across as being over-produced, just a normal guy that charges.

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simba Thursday, 26 Jan 2023 at 1:39pm

yeah Frog i like watching his vids too as he comes across as pretty down to earth normal dude plus he has the hottest girl friend going

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stunet Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 12:55pm

Great imagery here from Mike Coots:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mike Coots (@mikecoots)

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frog Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 10:32pm

Wow - such unusual and dramatic shots.

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Balbero Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 5:19pm

4 scroll hours later.....
Gratefull to watch it live and also this write up and page.
OiOi

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spencie Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 11:17am

Beautifully written.

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Clam Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 12:55pm

"what some rode at the bay" video- stab

this is kai lenny video from December, testing his new board at jaws.

I think he has a double concave deck and a very thick nose with a sort of rounded beak. he seems to be using (g10 fins) boxes with a screw and tab set up, just like windsurf boards
interesting thickness profile & "weighted tail"

Have been trying to find out what board Luke rode , thanks for that info in posts above lostdoggy,
did matt kazuma shape it solo? (havent heard of Jason koons)

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udo Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 1:24pm

Bit more info on Lukes board Caml
https://forum.realsurf.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=30165&start=9828
Did anyone get I.D. of that Surfer Stu mentioned from the second to last Heat ?

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Island Bay Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 2:07pm

6/6+6 isn't much glass!
Surprised it hasn't snapped. Must be a well shaped (not overshaped) board.

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Clam Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 10:22pm

onya udo ,
iB the blue in the blank might be a stronger foam but otherwise amazingly just 1 6oz bottom that is a lightweight

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Clam Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 10:27pm

notice the deck of Luke's board has dents all over it, old favourite 6 yrs

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udo Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 11:17pm

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udo Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 11:31pm

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wetgecko Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 at 8:38pm

Bloody well written ! Just what the Eddie deserved. Chumbo amazing. That back hand drop made the wave of the day !!

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wetgecko Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 at 8:38pm

Bloody well written ! Just what the Eddie deserved. Chumbo amazing. That back hand drop made the wave of the day !!

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marcus Thursday, 2 Feb 2023 at 1:26pm

anyone know what happened to Jamie Obrien?
howd he go?
doesnt seem to be mentioning the Eddie in his vlogs or answering questions about it

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Jamyardy Sunday, 5 Feb 2023 at 3:15pm

He didn't surf. Not sure why not.