For any child growing up near the ocean, an intense fascination with the waves is deeply imbedded in the soul. Most ocean lovers turn into wave-chasers, or delve into water sports any way they can. Surfing is one of the most thrilling ways to interact with the sea; but whether you surf or not, watching the pros tame enormous waves is something every person can enjoy witnessing.
Hawaii hosts some of the most elite and prestigious surfing competitions in the world. The season runs from around October to March every year, when the most skilled surfers will congregate on Hawaiian shores to reach new heights and set new records on the waves. Always challenging, and often dangerous, the competitions have carried on for years, creating a worldwide following of surf enthusiasts. We have highlighted some of the details of Hawaii’s most well-renowned competitions, and encourage you to plan your vacation ahead and try to catch some of these momentous events. They are history in the making!
The best Hawaiian big-wave surfing happens in the winter, and the greatest competitions kick off in November. They are scheduled to take place usually on an on-call basis, over the span of a few weeks. Waves and weather patterns are unpredictable, so surfer pros assemble and are ready to arrive at the water the moment notice is given when the swells and climate seem promising. The ASP Men’s Prime Competition: Reef Hawaii Pro is held at Alii Beach Park, in Haleiwa on Oahu this year on November 12 to 24, 2014. The competition offers a prize of $250,000. In addition to this, the ASP Men’s Prime Competition: Van’s World Cup is also held on Oahu’s beautiful Sunset Beach from November 25 to December 6, 2014.
Women have also proved superior surf competitors, and Hawaii hosts numerous competitions for women. A notable win was just recently awarded to Bethany Hamilton in March 2014. Hamilton, Hawaii’s Kauai-born “soul surfer” experienced a shark attack in 2003, which resulted in the loss of nearly her entire left arm. Making one of the most impressive surfing comebacks, Hamilton went on to win a National Title in 2004, and a decade later was awarded 1st Place at the Surf & Sea Women’s Pipeline Pro in March 2014. She continues to be an inspiration of courage to hopeful surfer girls all over the world.
For those who enjoy watching women exhibit their surfing techniques, you will not want to miss this upcoming competition: the ASP Women’s World Tour, Maui Women’s Pro. Like many other notable events, this one will be held on November 24 to December 6, 2014.
One particular event that stands out is the Quicksilver Competition: In Memory of Eddie Aikau which is set to take place in Waimea Bay, on Oahu. The event was established to honor Hawaiian surf-hero Eddie Aikau, a legend whose dedication to his fellow men and the sport of surfing has been immortalized in this competition. Big-wave surfing was his way of life, and fearless Eddie would routinely go out into stormy waves to retrieve a lost surfer, when no one else would go. The catch phrase “Eddie would go” came about because of his ethic and determination to help others, in spite of the frightening sea. Tragically, Eddie’s own life was lost in 1978 after embarking on the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Hokule’a double-hull sailing canoe, when he was only 31 years old. His tremendous courage lives on, inspiring other surfers to push the limits and honor the favorite Hawaiian sport.
Because of the fluctuation of raging stormy weather, or the waves not proving high enough, the competitors are required to be ready on-call from the 1st of December 2014 to late February 2015. There are strict rules and regulations that make this one of the most competitive and coveted events to participate in. The waves must reach 40 feet to be considered a good day to hold the competition, and if they are too high (e.g., this year saw tumultuous waves of 60 feet o January 22nd, and torrential weather that was unfit for the competition’s regulations), then the executive decision will be made to hold off for another day. Because of these conditions, the Quicksilver Competition in Memory of Eddie Aikau has only run 8 times in the last 30 or so years.
Lastly, one of the greatest surf competitions you can witness will take place from December 8 to 20, 2014 when the ASP Men’s World Tour will assemble for the Billabong Pipe Masters competition, at Banzai Pipeline. On the deadliest, most challenging beach on Oahu, the greatest surfers in the world will compete for the championship and a prize of $500,000. If there is any time to plan a few weeks’ holiday in Hawaii, it would be during this season when the talented surfers come out to play and honor those who have courageously gone before them. It is a certainly an experience that would render any Hawaiian vacation entirely unforgettable.