City leaders say ‘The Eddie’ could still go even as permit deadline has passed

EDDIE AIKAU BIG WAVE INVITATIONAL FILE

The future of one of the biggest and most iconic surfing contests in the world continued to hang in the balance Sunday.

KHON2 broke the news Saturday that the business partnership between the late Eddie Aikau’s family and Quiksilver has ended, meaning the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big-wave invitational will likely not go on this season.

We’re told talks between the two parties ended earlier this year and permit deadlines have already passed for the Aikau family to move forward with an event of their own.

We spoke with city leaders Sunday who say while it is possible for the big-wave surfing contest to go on as planned, the clock is ticking.

Honolulu City Council member Ernie Martin said “of course, it’s very disappointing and very distressing. The Eddie Aikau Quiksilver surf contest is, of course, one of the biggest and most anticipated big-wave surfing events in the world.”

Martin said there are two options in order for “The Eddie” to go on this season: Option one is that the Aikau family and Quiksilver need to reach some type of agreement.

But if not, the other alternative is “because Quiksilver holds the permits for that particular date — which is when the Eddie Aikau surf contest would’ve been held — if Quiksilver was open to relinquishing that permit so that the city would be open to granting an exception to the Aikau family, to allow them to move forward and schedule the contest this particular year, then that’s a possibility.”

The deadlines to submit permits for the event have already passed. Martin said the decision to grant an exception for permits is ultimately up to the mayor’s office, but whether or not it can be legally done is also a question since contracts are involved.

We spoke with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell Sunday and he said he hopes the two sides can come to some kind of resolution as he understands the values of Aikau’s legacy and “The Eddie.”

City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi echoed that statement. “We cannot lose this event. It just shows what Hawaii is all about when it comes to surfing.”

Both council members said they’re open to doing whatever their legislative positions will allow in order for the event to move forward, but “it’s difficult not knowing what happened in the negotiations,” said Kobayashi.

We have still not been able to get in contact with either representatives for Quiksilver or the World Surf League for a comment.

We will be at Monday morning’s press conference being held by the Aikau family to get more information.

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