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Are you ready for 'The Eddie?' 30-foot waves and busy traffic predicted for Sunday

Anthony Quintano
Anthony Quintano

The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational is planned to return this Sunday at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oʻahu.

Surf fans rejoiced when they heard The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitation was on the calendar again for the first time since 2016. The contest was initially forecasted to occur Jan. 11, but due to unforeseen weather conditions, the swell was reported as being too large for competition.

"It's been still a very difficult call, but again I'd like to thank everyone, and the 'Eddie' is officially canceled," announced Clyde Aikau, Eddie Aikau’s brother, on Jan. 10.

Waimea Bay swell prediction taken on Jan. 20, 2023 at 2:35 p.m.
Waimea Bay swell prediction taken on Jan. 20, 2023 at 2:35 p.m.

Aikau mentioned in that interview that the foundation was considering Jan. 22 as the next possible date, and then later confirmed it earlier this week.

On Friday, Surfline predicted an almost 30-foot wave increase at Waimea Bay by Sunday.

"Normal spots washed out, big wave spots turned on. Experts only," according to Surfline's Kevin Wallis.

Traffic along Kamehameha Hwy. is predicted to back up heading north. Waimea Bay Beach Park's dedicated parking lot and overflow spots located on the makai side of the highway facing west may be limited, as they were in 2016.

Pro surfer Makua Rothman took to his Instagram to give his fans a first look at the lineup. Per the post, the first heat includes surfing veterans John John Florence, Koa Rothman, Shane Dorian and more.

Eddie Aikau was the first lifeguard on the island's North Shore, and the foundation says he saved more than 500 people in his career.

He paddled off to get help when the Hōkūleʻa voyaging canoe capsized in 1978 off the coast of Lanaʻi — and was never seen again.

The event at Waimea Bay on Oʻahu has an annual window around this time of year, but only takes place if waves consistently reach 20 feet in height. The opening ceremony in December kicked off the holding period, which lasts until March 23.

Surfers invited this year include 2016 winner John John Florence, Makuakai and Koa Rothman, Billy Kemper, Keala Kennelly, Paige Alms, Ezekiel Lau, Jamie O'Brien, Josh Moniz and 2002 winner Kelly Slater.

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