In the end, it was all for not. Trans-Pacific flights were reduced to nothing more than a waste of jet fuel, a work crew's midnight effort to erect scaffolding and stage was rendered futile, and for the 15,000-plus humans that showed up at Waimea in the pre-dawn hours, well, their quest for a parking spot was ultimately pointless. While the surf was "Eddie size," on Tuesday at Waimea Bay, the consistency was lacking, and thus the waiting period for the 2010/11 Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau continues.
"What we see in conditions like this is just one or two true 'Eddie' size waves in the period of a heat," said event director George Downing. "With seven surfers in the water per heat, that is not the kind of playing field we need for quality, fair competition.
"It's very easy to get caught up in the excitement when those huge waves come through, and after all of the efforts of the crew and the spectators to get ready for this day. But what keeps this event the greatest big wave event in the world is never relaxing those standards. Eddie never did.
"We will continue to wait. The holding period runs through February 28 and we know that there is definite potential in the coming weeks for more extra large surf to arise. If that day comes, we will be ready to go again."
"It's a good call," agreed Kelly Slater, who won the Eddie in 2002 and almost won it again last year. "There are big waves out there, but there's not that many of them. It's not what we need."
But not to deterred, most of the surfers who came to surf the event still paddled out and braved the timeless fury of the Bay. You don't get invited to the Eddie because you're cool or look good carrying a 10-foot gun, you get invited because you charge, and contest or not that's exactly what went down on the "No Eddie" day. No brightly colored jerseys or big-time prize money on the table this time, just rushing it for the love.