The Eddie will look different this winter, should it get the call to run for just the 10th time since it was first held in 1984. That new look comes mostly in the form of inclusion; a legends heat, feature seven well…legends, obviously…and a record nine women invited both as competitors and alternates for the 2019/2020 event.
Theoretically, if the event runs this winter, Derek Ho, Garrett McNamara, Jeff Clark, Mike Ho, Mike Parsons, Peter Mel, and Tom Carroll will start the day off in their own heat. In doing so, they’ll be eligible for the Hawaiian Airlines Best Wave of the Day, which comes with a prize of 250,000 HawaiianMiles.
Meanwhile, among the 50 invitees, which include 18 alternates, a record nine women were included across both the competitors list and alternates list. Keala Kennelly was first invited in 2017 and the contest never ran. This year, she’s joined by Andrea Moller, Emi Erickson and Paige Alms on the official competitors’ roster and Bianca Valenti, Raquel Heckert, Justine Dupont, Silvia Nabuco, and Laura Enever will make up the five women’s alternates.
“I am so so sooooo very deeply honored, and truly humbled, to receive an invitation to surf in this sacred big wave event,” Valenti wrote when she received her invitation. “I never dreamed this would come true. A small victory for me, and a big victory for womenkind, a first in history.”
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WOW! I am so so sooooo very deeply honored, and truly humbled, to receive an invitation to surf in this sacred big wave event. I never dreamed this would come true. A small victory for me, and a big victory for women kind, a first in history. What a wonderful feeling to be invited to contribute to the legacy of @theeddieaikau 😊🤙😊🤙 I am grateful. A magnificent and very heartening surprise. Thank you with all of my heart 😊🐋💙🦋💙🦋💙🌊
“The Eddie Aikau Foundation is excited to have the support of our generous sponsors who have joined us in celebrating and honoring the life and legacy of our brother, Eddie,” said Solomon Aikau. “This year, we honor not only the equality of women in the sport but some of the longtime surfers in the industry.”
2019 The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational | Invitees and Alternates
John John Florence