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Sat, 9 November 2019

Times are a'changing! Three Saffas are invited to the Eddie Aikau Invitational, with a record number of women included as we head for the start of the window period, writes Spike.


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TWIG ON A BOUGH: Grant Baker - seen here at Nazare - is in the lineup. Photo WSL / Masurel


Labelled on the website as the "Super Bowl of surfing" to give a decidely American bent upon proceedings, the Eddie window runs from December 1 until February 29, 2020. If you call it a "premier event in the sport of surfing", perhaps it would be more inclusive, and more apt, to call it the Soccer World Cup or Rugby World Cup of surfing?

Humble Kommetjie charger with a fearless take off and go mentalityAnyhow, there are mostly Americans and Hawaiians in the lineup, so there you go. Chris Bertish, in between inspirationally speaking engagements and other projects, cracks the nod in the alternates. Matt Bromley, the humble Kommetjie charger with a fearless take off and go mentality gets a deserved nod after several sessions in crazy Jaws in recent seasons. A record number of women dot the lineup, with Waimea Bay local Emi Erickson, Jaws chargers Andrea Moller and Paige Alms, and Keala Kennelly (first female invited to the Eddie, and that was only last year) in the mix, and Silvia Nabuco, Laura Enever, Bianca Valenti, Raquel Heckert, and Justine Dupont in the alternates list.

The north star is rising for women surfers. They also have a women's only event - the Red Bull Queen of the Bay - to be held at Waimea during the Eddie waiting period. This is a massive leap forward in just one year. The potential for two women winners at Waimea was unthinkable mere months ago.

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KEMPER KEEPER: Billy Kemper - getting barrelled at Jaws - gets invited too. Photo WSL / Hallman


As the official website says: "The Eddie Big Wave Invitational celebrates the current lineage of big wave surfers, as well as the ones that came before. The legend of Eddie Aikau is an important part of Hawaiian Culture. Eddie Aikau was a championship athlete, a waterman, and a family man who truly cared for others.

"Eddie was not just the 1st lifeguard at Waimea Bay; he was the 1st lifeguard for the entire North Shore, and saved over 500 people throughout his career. Eddie would brave the waves that often reached 30 feet or more, when no one else would go out. It’s important to keep his legacy alive and inspire the next generation to live like Eddie did."

"The 33rd annual Eddie Big Wave Invitational focuses on Hawaiian Culture, with a goal to share the stories and legacy of Hawaii with the world. With the Waimea Valley extending behind Waimea Bay, this is an area rich with historic Hawaiian Cultural significance."

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KEALA COURAGE: Who can forget Keala's Kennelly at Jaws last time? Photo WSL / Hallman


THE 2019-2020 BIG WAVE INVITATIONAL
Aaron Gold
Andrea Moller
Ben Wilkinson
Billy Kemper
Bruce Irons
Danilo Couto
Dave Wassel
Eli Olson
Emi Erickson
Grant Baker
Greg Long
Ian Walsh
Jamie O’Brien
Jamie Mitchell
John John Florence
Kai Lenny
Keala Kennelly
Keali‘i Mamala
Kelly Slater
Koa Rothman
Landon McNamara
Lucas Chianca
Luke Shepardson
Makuakai Rothman
Mark Healey
Mason Ho
Nathan Florence
Nathan Fletcher
Paige Alms
Ross Clarke-Jones
Shane Dorian
Tikanui Smith

MALE ALTERNATES
Tyler Larronde
Kyle Shipman
Kohl Christensen
Chris Bertish
Chris Owens
Mike Pietsch
Torrey Meister
Alex Martins
Ryan Seelbach
Matt Bromley
Reef McIntosh
Ezekiel Lau
Jamie Sterling

FEMALE ALTERNATES
Bianca Valenti
Raquel Heckert
Justine Dupont
Silvia Nabuco
Laura Enever

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