The surfing life story of Eddie Aikau

November 5, 2012

The life of Eddie Aikau could be in a movie. The surfer, lifeguard, family man, friend, traveler, musician and hero inspired future generations of wave riders, all around the planet.

Eddie Aikau was born in Kahului, Hawaii, on the 4th May 4, 1946. He was the second-oldest of the five Aikau kids and leader of their pack, since their earliest days on Maui, through to their surfing days on the South and North Shore’s of Oahu.

“Eddie was a pretty quiet guy but when there was a challenge, or some risk to be taken, or a game to be played that everybody wanted to win, Eddie seemed to rise to the top. He was high risk at an early age,” says younger brother Clyde.

Eddie was the first official lifeguard at Waimea Bay, on Oahu’s North Shore, back in 1967. At the same time, he challenged the biggest waves on offer in the Hawaiian Islands. The two brothers worked together, for 10 years up until 1978 and never lost one person. There were no jet skis or zodiacs. Just two youngsters with a board and swim fins.

He simply took on every major swell to come through the North Shore from 1967 to 1978. As a competitor, his best contest result was a win in the 1977 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship.

Eddie Aikau saw big wave surfing, not as a competition, but as a personal goal and reaching the height of his heroes: Greg Noll, Mike Stang, George Downing, John Kelly, Sammy Lee  were a huge inspiration for him.

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Jim Caldwell
Redondo Beach


About jw60sea

Jim Caldwell has over 26 years of experience in the public safety sector in occupations ranging from professional ski patrol, and ocean lifeguard to firefighter. Jim has worked for the Redondo Beach Fire Department for the last 22 years holding successively higher positions of responsibility. For the last six years, Jim has held the rank of Engineer with responsibility for driving and operating the Department’s Engines and Tillered Aerial Ladder Truck. Throughout his career, he has shown a dedication not only to public safety but also community service.
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  1. Pingback: 2012/13 QUIKSILVER IN MEMORY OF EDDIE AIKAU INVITEES ANNOUNCED | Jim Caldwell's photolog of Hawaii's North Shore

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