CALIFORNIA'S GREG LONG WINS QUIKSILVER IN MEMORY OF EDDIE AIKAU | espanol abajo
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 8 December, 2009 : - - Waimea Bay -- After 25 years with most of those spent waiting, Waimea Bay delivered an event of legendary proportions today at the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, Fueled by Monster Energy. It was 25 years to the day since the first 'Eddie' was held and waves of up to 50 feet poured in to Oahu's North Shore as if on cue.
With younger brother Clyde still in the lineup, at age 60, joined by the contemporary top guns of big wave riding, a packed arena celebrated every gutsy ride in brilliant sunshine befitting of a tribute to local hero Eddie Aikau.
When all was said and done, it was California's Greg Long, 26, (San Clemente) who made a late charge in the final heat of the day to claim the $55,000 winner's purse. Long committed to an unbelievable never-say-die attack, securing all four of his top scores - several of them death-defying and one of them a perfect 100-point ride, in macking 40- to 50-foot waves. It was the high point of his career to-date - pretty incredible given that he only rode Waimea for the first time this week.
"I'm so happy just to be here, invited into the biggest event of big waves in the world with all my heroes, I'm so excited," said Long.
Greg Long : ASP/CI by Cestari
Eddie Aikau slideshow (view it full screen)
"It's a dream come true for me. Riding big waves is my passion and I've been following The Eddie since I knew exactly what it was, I was probably 12-years-old just getting into surfing. Since then, I've had every single poster from Brock Little to Bruce Irons on my wall. I look to those guys for inspiration and to be standing up here with Sunny (Garcia) and Kelly Slater is a dream come true for me. I never would have thought that this is my first year surfing the event and to come away with a victory is really a childhood dream become real.
"I'm still standing here in awe and I want to go check the scores to make sure someone isn't going to come here and take this away.
"It really is about the wave and celebrating the ocean. It's what we do: go out there and ride big waves. The respect and camaraderie in the lineup you don't find in too many places in the world, and this event really encapsulates everything that's great about surfing: the friendships you make in the water and looking out for one another."
The Monster Drop Award, for the most hellacious-but-successful takeoff of the contest, went to Chile's Ramon Navarro, who also finished fifth overall. This is his first time as an invitee into the event. Navarro's winning wave was one of the last of the competition; a huge, seemingly endless drop on his backhand, followed by a detonation of whitewater that he emerged from and then stuck with all the way to the beach. He earned a perfect 100 points.
Kohl Christensen : photo ASP/CI by Cestari
Navarro first came in 2004 to surf Waimea with an invitation from good friend and fellow contestant today, Kohl Christensen. He baked empanadas and sold them to pay his rent and learn the ropes. Today was pay day. Navarro won $10,000 for the Monster Drop Award, and $2,000 for fifth place. It was a great result for someone who almost didn't surf today after his pregnant wife was accidentally injured on the beach.
"This is a dream for me," said Navarro. "I want to say thank you to Kohl Christensen, Dusty Middleton and all the crew because those are the guys that invited me here and taught me how to surf The Bay. I appreciate everything from these guys."
Nine-time world champion Kelly Slater (Florida, USA), who won here back in January of 2002, placed second after leading the score board from the first second heat of the day. Long turned the tables on him in the final hour of competition. All Slater could do was look on in as much disbelief as the frenzied crowd who were at that point ready to celebrate with anyone. Slater earned $10,000. Third was Hawaii's Sunny Garcia, earning $3,000. Fourth was defending Eddie champion Bruce Irons (Kauai), $3,000.
Navarro's buddy Christensen can lay claim to the most devastating wipeout of the day that remains burned in every mind here today. He also posted several solid scores, but a wipeout like his is as unforgettable as a win.
Peter Mel : photo courtesy Quiksilver
The call to wait for today and the ensuing result was mind-boggling, especially since many were questioning not running yesterday in 40-foot surf. By afternoon, all concerned were stunned that 79-year-old contest director and big wave icon George Downing had kept his cool so well and timed it perfectly for a second peak in swell energy. The past 48 hours of massive surf is the largest sustained episode to hit the Hawaiian Islands in 40 years.
From the moment the event was declared "on" at dawn, to the final gut-wrenching wipeouts that came with the peaking swell of afternoon, the air was filled with salt spray and adrenaline. Not a square foot of sand or lava rock was empty as a capacity crowd of over 50,000 packed the natural amphitheater of Waimea Bay to experience the pairing of Mother Nature and the men who ride her mountainous surf.
The insane wipeouts that dropped like dominoes, the hairball air drops and perfect scores, the 28 surfers of the event who put their lives on the line in honor of Aikau today - it all made for the greatest day of the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau's history.
Waimea Bay's best known big-wave rider and first life-guard, Eddie Aikau, was smiling down on his successors today. Along with the surfers, he would have admired Hawaiian Water Patrol for keeping the lineup and the surfers safe all day yesterday and today. There is no greater collection of guardian angels of the sea than the lifeguards of the North Shore.
Ross Clark Jones : photo Cestari
Everyone came out in support of Hawaii's big wave gift to the world, including football: The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, along with the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Oahu Visitors Bureau came together with support that enabled highlights of the day to reach all four corners of the globe.
Mahalo to Hawaii's Oceanic Cable, who along with the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing took today's action live, all day, throughout the Hawaiian Islands.FUEL TV will air a one-hour highlight show in the United States: 6:30pm PT/9:30pm ET on Friday, December 11, 2009. The show will re-air several times over the weekend.
The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, Fueled by Monster Energy, is the only ASP sanctioned big wave event in the world. Visit quiksilver.com/eddie to re-live all of today's incredible waves and wipeouts on demand.
RESULTS: Listed in order of 1st through 28th Greg Long (California) Kelly Slater (Florida) Sunny Garcia (Hawaii) Bruce Irons (Hawaii) Ramon Navarro (Chile) * Monster Drop Award Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia) Jamie O'Brien (Hawaii) Mark Healey (Hawaii) Garret McNamara (Hawaii) Noah Johnson (Hawaii) Shane Dorian (Hawaii) Makuakai Rothman (Hawaii) Reef McIntosh (Hawaii) Andy Irons (Hawaii) Grant Baker (Hawaii) Carlos Burle (Brazil) Kohl Chrtistensen (Hawaii) Kala Alexander (Hawaii) Peter Mel (USA) Takayuki Wakita (Japan) Ibon Amatriain (Spain) Clyde Aikau (Hawaii) Keone Downing (Hawaii) Mike Ho (Hawaii) Darryl 'Flea' Virostko (USA) Brian Keaulana (Hawaii) Rusty Keaulana (Hawaii) Pancho Sullivan (Hawaii)
"The Eddie" has grown to be the world's longest-running and most respected big wave contest. First staged at Sunset Beach in the winter of 1984/85 then moved to Waimea in 1985/86, it has been held just seven times. Its strict adherence to wave height stipulations has only served to underscore the authenticity and importance of the event. Past champions are Denton Miyamora (1985), Clyde Aikau (1986), Keone Downing (1990), Noah Johnson (1999), Ross Clarke-Jones (2001), Kelly Slater (2002), and Bruce Irons (2004). This year's list of potential invitees includes big wave riders from Australia, Europe, South Africa, South America, Japan, USA, and Hawaii.
Big drop : photo courtesy Quiksilver
EL CALIFORNIANO GREG LONG GANA EL "QUIKSILVER IN MEMORY OF EDDIE AIKAU"
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 8 December, 2009 : - - Waimea Bay -- Un 25 aniversario memorable! El martes 8 de diciembre la meteorología sonreía a todos los que se agolpaban en la bahía de Waimea esperando el gran día; la buena previsión de olas en la costa ponía punto final al período de espera y la competición de olas grandes en honor a Eddie Aikau daba comienzo.
Habían pasado 25 años desde que el 1º Eddie fuera puesto en marcha y el mar parecía unirse a la celebración. Olas de más de 15 metros golpearon la orilla norte de Ohau, para deleite de todos los participantes que no dudaron en la declarar las condiciones de ese día como históricas.
Con el hermano menor del homenajeado, Clyde, aún en activo a sus 60 años acompañado por los mejores surfistas de olas grandes del mundo, la enorme cantidad de público ahí congregado celebró cada movimiento de estos riders en el agua, que rendían, un año más, su especial tributo al héroe Eddie Aikau.
Cuando ya parecía que todo estaba dicho y hecho, fue el californiano de 26 años, Greg Long, quién se llevó el premio de 55.000$ gracias a su magnifica actuación en el último heat del día. De las 4 puntuaciones que logró durante la jornada, una de ellas alcanzó los 100 puntos, la máxima puntuación posible y la mayor de su carrera hasta el momento. Un resultado impresionante teniendo en cuenta que era la primera vez que surfeaba en aguas de Waimea.
"Para mí es un sueño de infancia hecho realidad" declaraba Greg Long tras proclamarse campeón. "Miro a mi alrededor y veo a muchos de los que me inspiraron cuando empezaba. Ser invitado a participar en el mayor evento de Olas Grandes junto a surfistas de la talla de Sunny Garcia o Kelly Slater es ya un sueño hecho realidad".
Tag team : photo courtesy Quiksilver
Por su parte, el chileno, Ramón Navarro qué terminó 5º en la clasificación, obtuvo el favor del sponsor del evento, MONSTER, y fue galardonado con el "Monster Drop Award" valorado en 10.000$.
El nueve veces campeón del mundo Kelly Slater, que ya ganó esta competición en Enero de 2002, tuvo que conformarse con el segundo puesto, a pesar de haber estado liderando las clasificaciones desde la 2ª ronda del día. El tercer lugar fue para el local Sunny García y el cuarto puesto para el hasta entonces poseedor del título, Bruce Irons.
Cabe destacar, que entre todos los invitados a participar este año solo encontramos un europeo, el español Ibon Amatraian uno de los mejores surfistas de olas grandes de España y de Europa. Todo un honor tratándose del 25 aniversario de este importante evento a nivel mundial y pone en evidencia el magnífico nivel de nuestros deportistas.
Más de 50.000 espectadores fueron testigos de un día para el recuerdo. 28 surfistas poniendo su vida al límite en recuerdo del héroe local Eddie Aikau. Sin duda uno de los mejores Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau de la historia.
RESULTADOS (en orden del 1º al 28º)
1º Greg Long (EEUU) 2º Kelly Slater (EEUU) 3º Sunny Garcia (Hawaii) 4º Bruce Irons (Hawaii) 5º Ramon Navarro (Chile) 6º Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia) 7º Jamie O'Brien (Hawaii) 8º Mark Healey (Hawaii) 9º Garret McNamara (Hawaii) 10º Noah Johnson (Hawaii) 11º Shane Dorian (Hawaii) 12º Makuakai Rothman (Hawaii) 13º Reef McIntosh (Hawaii) 14º Andy Irons (Hawaii) 15º Grant Baker (Hawaii) 16º Carlos Burle (Brasil) 17º Kohl Chrtistensen (Hawaii) 18º Kala Alexander (Hawaii) 19º Peter Mel (EEUU) 20º Takayuki Wakita (Japón) 21º Ibon Amatriain (España) 22º Clyde Aikau (Hawaii) 23º Keone Downing (Hawaii) 24º Mike Ho (Hawaii) 25º Darryl 'Flea' Virostko (EEUU) 26º Brian Keaulana (Hawaii) 27º Rusty Keaulana (Hawaii) 28º Pancho Sullivan (Hawaii)
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