BIG challenge ahead ... ROSS Clarke-Jones winning the Eddie Aikau memorial event at Waimea Bay in 2001 posting 319 points (of a
BIG challenge ahead ... ROSS Clarke-Jones winning the Eddie Aikau memorial event at Waimea Bay in 2001 posting 319 points (of a

Big-wave chasers it bay

THE last big-wave event of the Hawaiian season, the Quiksilver Eddie Aikau invitational, is gearing up for some massive swells in the next week.

Twenty-four of the world's best big-wave riders will be given just 12 hours to report in and compete in a one-day event revered as "the Eddie". A dark red and purple patch of intense low pressure above Hawaii could generate the required swells (20-feet minimum) by the end of this week.

The invitational is a who's who of Hawaiian big-wave riding, with names like seven-times world champ Kelly Slater, who won the event in 2002, last year's champion Bruce Irons and his Hawaiian Triple Crown-winning brother and former three-times world champ Andy Irons.

Eddie's younger brother, 56-year-old Clyde Aikau, a winner in 1986, Sunny Garcia, Michael Ho and Titus Kinimaka will all be lining up at Waimea Bay along with Australians Ross Clarke- Jones, who at 39 is the only Australian to win the coveted prize, joined by tow-in partner Tony Ray and Paul 'Antman' Paterson.

The question is who can take the biggest drop and make the biggest wave?

The competitors surf twice in a day, catching up to four waves in a round, and their highest four waves over the two rounds are tallied to see who will score the $US55,000 first prize.

Eddie Aikau was one of the most respected Hawaiian watermen and senior lifeguard at Waimea Bay. Eddie and nine others were on an Island-to-Island paddling canoe race from Oahu to Molokai in 1978, when their canoe capsized. Eddie decided to use his board, which had been strapped to the canoe, and paddle for help leaving the others holding onto the sunken craft.

Miraculously the crew was rescued, and while Eddie's board was found washed up later, there were no signs of the legendary Hawaiian waterman, who vanished at sea. It was the ultimate ocean sacrifice and thus the 'Eddie would Go' legend was born.

Here's some dates for your calendar for January 2006:

January 1: Billabong World Junior championships at North Narrabeen, Sydney.

January 7-8: Burleigh Boardriders single fin at Burleigh Point.

January 14: Gold Coast City Council Cleanwater teams challenge and Surfing Queensland Presentation night at Twin Towns.

January 16-19: Surfing Queensland Grommet challenge.

January 21-22: Billabong Alley Classic QCC round 1.

Januar 2- 29: Brothers Neilsen Pro Junior.

WINNERS of the Rip Curl Pipeline Giveaway are: Andrew Robinson, of Bogangar, Travis Logan, of Pottsville, Natalie Phillips, of Cabarita, and Debbie Trevena, of Tugun. Congratulations. You can pick your prizes up from the Daily News office, in Rivendell Drive South Tweed.

I WILL be back in two weeks. Until then, happy new year!

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