The following photograph is from 16th December, 2004 and it’s happening again…stunning waves rolling in… Perhaps it’s a 5-year cycle?!
40 ft waves pounded the coast of Hawaii and waves 50 ft or bigger at the outer reefs were expected at Waimea Bay, North Shore until Wednesday. As a result the Quiksilver in memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational surf contest was held last week. This competition only occurs when these enormous waves crash on the island’s coast. It’s happened only seven times in the last 19 years. Organized every winter, the tournament has rarely been held because surf at Waimea Bay hasn’t met its requirements: ride-able 20-plus-foot waves measured Hawaiian-style — from the back of the wave — or about 40 feet from peak to trough. The meet was last held 15th December, 2004… nearly 5 years to the day!
“There’s a lot of attention here,“ said Eddie Crawford, manager at the Surf ‘n Sea store in Haleiwa. “People are flying in from all over to surf these big waves.”
Teams of tow-in surfers (those who use jet watercraft to race into waves too big to paddle into) from around the world streamed in to challenge Jaws coming from as far afield as Brazil, South Africa and Australia.
The monster waves are powered by two storms north by northwest of Hawaii that will produced high surf through to Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Maui County officials even had to move the lifeguard tower at Baldwin Beach in Paia farther inland to protect it from wave damage whilst they prepared for exceptionally high surf and Honolulu firefighters stationed a helicopter at the Kahuku Fire Station for potential rescues.
Professional surfer Garrett McNamara drops in on a large wave as another competitor’s surf board flies in the air at Waimea Bay during the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational surf contest on the North Shore of Oahu in Haleiwa, Hawaii December 8, 2009, but it was Greg Long of California who walked away with the cheque after winning the event.
“The power of these waves is absolutely frightening,” Buzzy Kerbox a Maui surfer said. “It’s like being thrown into a gorilla cage, and the gorilla does whatever he wants with you until you get out.”