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 Eddie Aikau

Eddie Aikau

Birth
Kahului, Maui County, Hawaii, USA
Death 18 Mar 1978 (aged 31)
At Sea
Burial Body lost at sea, Specifically: Remains never found.
Memorial ID 12198254 · View Source
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Sportsman. He pioneered "big wave surfing" in his native Hawaii. In 1959, he moved with his family to Honolulu, Hawaii on Oahu Island. He soon acquired a passion for surfing and at age 16, was in winning surf meets in Wall, Queen's, Ala Moana, Haleiwa and North Shore runs. His first experience in big waves was at Sunset and Waimea Bay in 1967, with photos of him in Life Magazine proclaiming him a "big wave star". In 1968, he persuaded the Honolulu city and county to appoint him North Shore lifeguard. He was given the task of covering all beaches between Sunset and Haleiwa, saving hundreds of lives over the next three years. Through the 1970s, he was considered the undisputed master of big Hawaiian surf, winning the Duke Classic in 1977. In 1976, when fights began to break out between angry Hawaiians and Australian surfers, he was the North Shore mediator peacemaker. When the Polynesian Voyaging Society announced it was planning a ancient rediscovery trip from Hawaii and the Tahitian chain in double hulled replica canoes Aikau volunteered. On the evening of March 16, 1978, they sailed out of Magic Island dock into a strong northeast trade wind off the Molokai Channel and the canoe capsized. Locked into a southerly current smashed by the trade winds, he insisted on paddling for help, his target being the island of Lanai, 12 miles east. The next morning, a Hawaiian Air jet pilot saw the canoe's flares with strobe lights and the survivors were rescued. Eddie Aikau was never found. A bronze memorial plaque was mounted for him at Waimea Bay Beach Park and the famous world class Quiksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave International Invitational surf meet is held each winter in his honor.

Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: John "J-Cat" Griffith
  • Added: 29 Oct 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12198254
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Eddie Aikau (4 May 1946–18 Mar 1978), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12198254, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Body lost at sea, who reports a Remains never found..