MARCH 17, 1978


Born May 4, 1946, Eddie descended from the high priest of Kings Kamehameha I and II.  Working at a cannery so he could surf on morning breaks on O’ahu’s North Shore, his several surfing awards included the 1977 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship.  A fearless lifeguard who saved over 500 lives and lost no one, he was 1971 Lifeguard of the Year.  He was on the crew of the traditional sailing vessel, the Hokulea, when, after leaving Honolulu, she flipped 12 miles south of Molokai.  All night, the crew clung to the boat’s hull.  With distress flares going unanswered, Eddie leashed his surfboard to his ankle and swam for help.  Later, the crew was spotted and rescued.  Eddie was never seen again.  His courage on the water is summed up in the well-known Hawaiian surf culture phrase: “Eddie would go.”  Since 1984, The Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational—“The Eddie”—is held in his honor when Waimea Bay swells are over three stories high.  His brother, Clyde Aikau, won the first Eddie in 1985.

Source:  Craig Hysell.  "It Could Be Worse: Eddie Aikua," Celebrate Hilton Head, June 2007.  Retreived 6/24/2019,
Photo:  Waka muana, undated.  Memorial plate of Eddie Aikua on Hokule’a.  Permissive use under: (1) GNU Free Documentation License; (2) Creative Commons Licenses: Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International,; Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported,; Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic,; Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic,; and Attribution 1.0 Generic,

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