He gained fame not only by competing in and winning big wave surf competitions on the North Shore, but for also never losing a life while on duty as a lifesaver. He even died in a successful attempt to rescue boaters who were caught in the dangerous waves and tides at Waimea.
In his memory, a surfing contest was organized.
But not just any surf contest -- one that's only held in conditions where the waves reach a minimum of 20 feet in height.
As such, even though the "The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau" is an event that's listed on the pro tour schedule annually -- it's only actually been held 8 times in the last 25 years, because the surf wasn't big enough.
This year, weather conditions were right -- providing swells ranging from 30 to 50(!) feet in height, enabling 28 surfers (voted on by the surfing community) a chance to compete for this rare and coveted prize. Californian Greg Long barely edged out pro surfing legends Kelly Slater and Sunny Garcia for the win, but as impressive as that is -- it's the unique sanctity of the event that makes it so special.
In a sport that can always use the publicity on a beach that all the big names would surely come to regardless of the conditions -- event organizers stand firm on their principles to only hold it when it's just right.
Which is just how Eddie would have wanted it.