This year’s Eddie is in serious jeopardy after negotiations between Quiksilver and the Aikau family hit a stalemate over the weekend. Relatives of Eddie Aikau reportedly introduced new terms that the title sponsor declined to meet.
“When the family declined to surrender control of the Eddie for five years on the terms Quiksilver was demanding, Quiksilver terminated negotiations,” said the Aikau family in a public statement. The Aikau family, relatives of legendary big wave pioneer Eddie Aikau, are in discussions with other potential sponsors, according to news reports.
“After long, hard negotiations with the Aikaus, there just wasn’t enough time to put on a proper contest,” Quiksilver’s Glen Moncata told reporters. “There’s a lot of preparations involved, and with the passing of time, we don’t think we can put together a proper contest.”
The contest, officially called the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay, has been dogged by negotiations in recent years. Contract talks stalled before last year’s contest, too, but an eleventh-hour agreement was reached with the cooperation of Red Bull, although a sufficient swell never materialized. Negotiations must be in place before the waiting period, which historically covers December, January, and February.
“Quiksilver has been honored to celebrate the life of champion big wave surfer and Waimea Bay lifeguard Eddie Aikau,” the surfwear company said in a press release. “Quiksilver is proud of the tradition of the event which underlines its respect for Eddie Aikau, the Hawaiian people and the community at large, and Quiksilver greatly appreciates more than 30 years of partnership with the Aikau family.”
Seth Reiss, an attorney for the Aikau family who has spoken about contract negotiations in the past, could not be reached for comment. Spokespersons from the World Surf League, which handled the broadcast of the last Eddie contest, and Quiksilver did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Eddie last ran in the 2015-16 winter — only the ninth time since 1984 — with John Florence taking the victory. The one-day contest is only held when 30-foot swells break in Oahu’s Waimea Bay consistently enough to run all the heats back-to-back.