It was a fitting end to the Eddie Aikau Invitational, a contest honoring one of Oahu’s most inspirational lifeguards. Luke Shepardson, a fellow life-saving professional, captured the Invitational title in only the 10th running of the event since its inception on a day-of-days at the Bay.
“‘I’m in it because I can win it,’ that’s what I was telling myself all day,” Shepardson told local media after the historic run to the title. “Super scary, waves were huge. It was a dream come true to be part of it, to just be on the alternate list, and then to be in it. I can’t believe it.”
Local media estimated that 50,000 people packed the Kam Highway to watch the Eddie, with onlookers lined up bank-to-bank around the famous s-turn section of highway. Shepardson was able to take out some absolute legends on his way to becoming one himself including John John Florence, Kai Lenny, Billy Kemper, and more. The waves weren’t small, by any stretch: estimates were in the 40-50-foot range. Yes, the Bay called the day, and Shepardson certainly heard the call. “I gotta get back to the tower to make sure everyone’s okay until the end of the day,” he said.
Watch the full event, here, or for more raw clips, click below.