Eddie Aikau

Eddie Aikau
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Eddie would read this article.

• General: Educational • General: Guide • General: History

Have you heard the name Eddie Aikau? Or maybe you've seen a t-shirt or bumper sticker that reads "Eddie would go"?

Well, Eddie Aikau is something of a Hawaiian legend and while we can't go into his entire history here we'll try and point out just a few of the highlights to so you have some background on him.

He was a native Hawaiian and the first lifeguard ever at Waimea Bay Beach Park and saved countless lives during his time there. He was an excellent surfer yet struggled to get into surf competitions that were dominated by white men. He finally got into the competitions which helped open the door for other Hawaiians to enter as well. Eddie was a fearless big wave surfer, one of the best around.

In 1978, Eddie and a small group of people set off in a Hokule'a (which is a type of canoe that the original Polynesians used for long distance voyaging). The idea was to go from Hawaii to Tahiti with no modern equipment or navigation tools at all, to prove that the Hawaiians who settled Hawaii got here via that method. We're talking about a 5000 mile round trip journey over a huge ocean with no modern aids at all.

Shortly after the group set off of Oahu they got hit by a massive wave which toppled the Hokule'a and wrecked it. Miles off shore the crew hung on and stayed together in hopes that a passing plane or boat would find them.

By the next morning they still weren't rescued and nobody was looking for them since nobody on land knew of the accident. Eddie finally convinced the captain of the crew to let him swim back to Oahu to get help.

They figured they were about 10 miles offshore which was about a 3-4 hour swim away. Eddie was never seen again though the crew was finally rescued after a plane spotted a flair they shot up (their last flair).

In 1980 the Hokule'a was rebuilt and set off again and it reached Tahiti in 29 days. In 1986, The Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau invitational surf competition was started in Eddie's honor and was won by Clyde Aikau, Eddie's brother who was also an excellent big wave surfer.

So, now you know the very brief reason why "Eddie would go".