26 February, 2016 – Waimea Bay – John John Florence brought a new style and a new generation to big wave surfing today by winning the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, a World Surf League Specialty Event, in waves of up to 60-feet.
The undeniable crowd favorite, drawing a standing ovation wave as he walked from Waimea Bay Beach Park to the shoreline, was 66-year-old Clyde Aikau – Eddie Aikau’s younger brother, who has contested all nine Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational events through 31 years, declaring this to be his last.
The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau is the original one-day, Big Wave surfing event, started in memory of Hawaiian waterman, Waimea Bay lifeguard and Big Wave pioneer Eddie Aikau.
The special award was offered up to all Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Invitees and Alternates for the biggest, most critical wave ridden in the Hawaiian Islands during the holding period of this event up to today.
Florence won $75,000 – the biggest purse in Big Wave riding, with a 4-wave total of 301 out of 400 points. “I was excited just to be part of the event,” said Florence. “I was so nervous, I thought, oh gosh, I just gotta get through this day and hopefully get a couple of waves! “I was riding my bike down here this-morning in the dark and just the energy of how many people were parked all the way down the street.
In all, 141 dramatic rides were logged today, including gutsy charges by Eddie Aikau rookies Koa Rothman (HAW) and Mason Ho (HAW); last minute Alternate starters Danilo Couto (BRZ) and Ben Wilkinson (AUS); and emotionally charged, seasoned rides by Slater and Dorian, in memory of close friend Brock Little.
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