Each year, some of the world's top big wave surfers are invited to compete in the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, which runs only when Oahu's Waimea Bay is maxed out. Invitees for the 2015-2016 event including Kohl Christensen, Garrett McNamara and Greg Long, discussed the honor of being invited to compete and the passion that binds them together with their peers.
Plus, this year Quiksilver is adding their own safety element to the mix: The company has created its own inflatable ocean safety vest for big wave surfers. The new vest was developed in close collaboration with Aqualung, which is known for its top-notch scubadiving equipment.
Beyond the risk and reward of surfing Waimea's massive waves, much of what distinguishes the Eddie and lends it prestige is its late namesake. Eddie Aikau was a renowned Waimea lifeguard and surfer who saved numerous lives in the heavy waves there, and charged hard when big swells arrived. Aikau was lost at sea in 1978 when his sailboat was caught in a storm and he tried to paddle to shore for help.