Hoping for The Eddie: A Special Desktop of Banzai Pipeline

Posted on 18 Jan, 2015 by Scott Jones
desktop Hawaii banzai pipeline surf wave

Please click on the above image to download.

If I’m honest (thanks to Marc Marquez for that expression), I’m feeling pretty cheerful as I sit here on the lanai of our rented north shore house. I had a very enjoyable day at the Banzai Pipeline watching some accomplished surfers ride in challenging conditions. Now, I hear only the crickets and the waves crashing in the distance, down the hill at Sunset Beach. A quarter mile away, the ocean is dark as a moonless night but loud and churning.

There’s supposed to be a lot of wave action over the next week. So much so, in fact, that the organizers of “The Eddie” have issued a Yellow Alert.

This is exciting news, because The Eddie doesn’t run every year. If the waves at Waimea Bay aren’t expected to maintain a minimum of 40 feet for an eighth hour period, they simply don’t hold the tournament. The Yellow Alert has a short list of top big wave surfers around the world standing by to jump on planes once the contest is declared a GO and the date is set.

Eddie Aikau is a local legend, a legend in big wave surfing, and perhaps it’s fair to say a surfing legend in general. If you haven’t seen ESPN’s 30 for 30 episode, Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau, it’s worth your time, an amazing story about a remarkable individual whose surfing accomplishments are only part of his tale.

Given Eddie Aikau’s stature in Hawaii, whenever The Eddie actually happens, things go a little bit crazy. Our neighbor, when we told her the news about the possibility of The Eddie happening next week, got quite excited. She is a substitute teacher, and she recalled how there wasn’t a kid in school the last time the tournament happened. “They all just disappeared. But we knew where they were, of course.”

So it’s just possible that our timing for this trip, scheduled nearly a year ago, will turn out to be perfect if the big waves hit Waimea next week. That’s no sure thing, though, as The Mechanics of Waimea Bay explains in great detail. This online presentation over at Surfline.com has some fantastic photos and plenty of science explaining not only how ocean waves work, but also the underwater topography of Waimea and why big surf hits there only occasionally while Pipe gets lots of huge waves. I even learned a new word: bathymetry!

The current forecast for the big waves is Wednesday. We leave for home Friday morning. That’s cutting it close, but if it happens before we have go come home, what a special time it will be for us – and everyone else here on the north shore.

Feeling like sharing some big wave love in anticipation, I made up a special desktop file from an image of a Pipeline wave that seemed pretty big earlier today. It was probably 15-20 feet, judging from the sizes of the surfers in the water to to the right of this break. I’m trying to image a wave twice as big. Can’t really do it. I’ll just have to see it with my own eyes. I hope!

Hang loose, haoles!

UPDATE: The waves weren’t big enough to hold the Eddie while I was there, and a No Go was issued by the organizer on Sunday night. Still, the waves at Waimea Bay were BIG on Wednesday, even if they didn’t sustain 40+ feet for eight consecutive hours as required by the contest.

Photograph: ©2015 by Scott Jones / PHOTO.GP – All Rights Reserved

Camera Info: Nikon D4 with Nikon 500mm f/4.0



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