Big Days

Gary Kewley
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Friday - December 30, 2005
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We need big waves again like this one at last year’s Quiksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea
We need big waves again like this one at last year’s
Quiksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at

Aloha, surfers!

Rare ... that’s what kind of surf we’ve been given. There have been so many giant days of surf they’re blending together as one huge swell. There have been almost a dozen swells 15 feet or bigger and December isn’t even over yet! We’ve now had four swells that have hit the “giant” category of 20 feet or higher. The three highest months are December through February - and we’ve already used up our “BIG DAYS” quota. So you can see we be rockin’ like boulders! But be ready for more!

Why so big so often? Good question. There are several variables involved. One of the reasons is this thing called the jet stream. It’s a large scale wind flow from east to west - and I mean large. It can be over 500 miles top to bottom and over 3,000 miles long, stretching across the entire north Pacific Ocean! Our storms that come off Japan tend to move along with the jet flow. What has occurred this season is the jet stream is stronger and has moved unusually far south toward the islands bringing those storms closer and making them more powerful. The Tokyo Express has sent off one storm after another, which then transfer winds into waves along the jet stream. It’s the setup for “perfect storms,” bringing perfect days of big waves.

So, will we see the Quiksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational go? Well, as I write this Monday, Dec. 26, it’s 20 feet, and Friday it’s supposed to be at least that big. So my answer is ... well, maybe! You’ll have to log onto the Eddie Aikau Banner at or call 596-surf, 596-wave or 638-rush - because we really don’t know for sure. What we do know is this: The bay calls the day! Director and big wave legend George Downing wants a full day of 15- to 25-footers rolling in clean. All conditions must be just right: 1) Size, 2) Conditions, and 3) Consistency. This isn’t that easy. Perfect 20- to 30-foot waves don’t come along very often. But that’s what makes this event so prestigious - just like the man it honors - it’s rare.

Eddie Aikau was only 32 when in 1978 he gave his life to the crew of the Hokule’a and to the sea itself. Eddie paddled into the violent waters in a brave and bold attempt to rescue the capsized double-hull canoe. He was never seen again. Yet, his legend grows every year. Known to spend eight hours in the big waters of Waimea Bay, Eddie was truly a man of the sea. How wonderful, yet sad and strange, that he saved so many for so long at Waimea, but could not save himself that fateful day, March 17, 1978. Can you imagine the possibility that Eddie is “up there” with a few of those he saved long ago? Now they smile down on the big waves he loved so much.

I believe Eddie pays extra attention when his Big Wave Invitational “goes off”! The past Quiksilver champs know they must have some of the qualities he possessed: paddle power and fitness, wave knowledge and selection, confidence and courage. These men who ride mountains also need BIG blessings from Mother Nature! She’s only given her blessing six times in 16 years, so we must be ready when the Bay Calls the Day! Will he go before 2005 comes to a close? We will know shortly -very shortly - whether on that day “Eddie Would Go”!

I thank each of you for an awesome 2005! See you back here next year!

I’m GQ, dropping In 4 U!

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