Aikau family and big-wave contest sponsor Quiksilver part ways

eddie aikau big wave invitational waimea bay surf

Breaking news in the world of surfing Saturday as a decades-old partnership between Eddie Aikau’s family and event sponsor Quiksilver is no more. That means the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big-wave invitational, as so named, will not go this season.

The Aikau family, Quiksilver and the World Surf League have been in talks for several months after what many called the most epic in the contest’s history was finally staged in February 2016 after a seven-year absence.

Last week, however, talks broke down between the family and Quiksilver, and on Saturday at an awards luncheon for the Eddie Aikau Foundation essay contest for public and private school students, the announcement was made.

Seth Reiss, family friend and attorney, read a statement from the Aikaus at the luncheon, saying “the contest reminds us of Eddie, of (Waimea) Bay, of surfing, and of Hawaiian culture.

“The family is proud of the event and appreciated the role Quiksilver played. That relationship ended earlier this year. There were substantial discussions between the family and Quiksilver about how the relationship could be continued, but in the end, no agreement was reached.”

Reiss and the family say money was not a major issue — the Aikaus intend to continue the big wave contest in Eddie’s memory at Waimea Bay and is considering many options.

But a major issue this season is getting a permit, for which the process and deadlines have already passed.

The city did give a permit for the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, but that name can no longer be used unless both sides come to an agreement.

City deputy managing director Georgette Deemer says the city has been working hard to find a way, but it looks like its hands are tied.

“We certainly understand how important ‘The Eddie’ is to the people of Honolulu, and the state and the world, because it is such an iconic event. … We have met with Clyde (Eddie’s brother), we have looked at it from every angle, and for the 2016-2017 season, the permit process has closed. It was closed in 2015.

“I would hope that these two parties may be able to work it out,” she said.

As far as the 2017-18 season, Deemer says both sides can apply for a permit, but only one can be granted for a big-wave event at Waimea.

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