Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Quiksilver

Bubba Crabtree e-mailed me yesterday and let me know that the legendary Quiksilver surfing contest was going to be held today.

Here's a description of the event, because it's quite unique:
The Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau—known as The Eddie— is a surfing tournament held at Waimea Bay on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Created in 1985 and named after famed Waimea Bay lifeguard Eddie Aikau, the irregularly-held tournament is known for a unique requirement that ocean swells reach a minimum height of 20 feet (open-ocean swells, rather than waves, are the preferred method of Hawaiian wave measurement) before the competition can be held. As a result of this requirement, the tournament has only been held seven times during the history of the event, the last time in 2004. Eddie Aikau's brother Clyde Aikau won the first Eddie in 1985.

Each year, 24 surfers, chosen by polling among their peers, are invited to Waimea Bay to participate in the event. The tournament holding period is between December 1 and February 28. Each day, surf conditions, ocean swells, weather forecasts are monitored. Open-ocean swells in Waimea Bay must be forecast to reach a minimum of 20 feet during a single day during the tournament window. (Open-ocean swells of 20 feet usually translate to face heights of 30-40 feet.) The tournament director makes the decision as to whether to open the tournament if the conditions are right. In the words of longtime director George Downing, "the Bay calls the day."

That's right--wave face heights of 30-40 feet (at least).

What's different this year, and I still can't believe it, is that there's a live video feed of the event, and the video quality (choose the Flash stream) is absolutely excellent. So if you want to take a look, go to the event page and you'll see a "watch live" option.

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