When is the Eddie Aikau Contest?

All over the island you still see “Eddie Would Go” on car bumpers, street signs, and t-shirts. By now most people know that this is in reference to big wave legend Eddie Aikau. Eddie was a waterman and lifeguard who devoted (and gave) this life to keep countless of people safe from the unpredictable power of the ocean. Given that you’re searching for information on when the Eddie Aikau surf contest will run, you probably know most of the story. So instead of diving deeper into the history of this iconic Hawaiian we’re here to answer your question even though it’s a challenging one. Why? Because the “Eddie” does not run every year. Hardly ever, in fact.

The contest is only held when the waves at Waimea Bay reach a height of 30-feet+ (Hawaiian) and when other conditions are prime. This must occur within the designated holding period which typically runs from early December to the end of February. That’s one hurdle. Then there’s the fact that the Aikau family has had to deal with a lot of red tape over the decades, negotiating (squabbling) with sponsors and Honolulu City Council members alike. Permits, and all that. There are also multiple websites and Instagram profiles purporting to be the most up to date version of the official organizers of the contest. Then there’s the coconut wireless network (word of mouth). Even more confusing. Keeping up to date with all of these ongoings has been difficult for the average person who wants to know when they can pull up a beach chair at Waimea to watch the event.

Who knew that planning to watch a surf contest could be so much trouble? We did, which is why we’ve decided to create a one-stop portal for the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational. The platform includes general information in addition to real-time updates to account for current events. And when the contest is called ON we will let you know right here.

Note: The contest schedule will be updated through each winter (surf season) on Oahu as news unfolds and swell forecasts are delivered. Check back often for updates. Use the comment section below if you have any questions. We reply!

Updated Schedule and Everything You Need to Know About When the Annual Eddie Aikau Surf Contest Will Run

Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational Event Period

December 1 to February 28 of each year. One-day event.

*Subject to change based upon permit changes

Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational Location

Waimea Bay, Haleiwa, North Shore, Oahu HI (view location)

Is the Eddie Happening this Year?

The most recent Eddie Aikau Opening Day Ceremony took place on December 3 2022. That means the event holding period is officially ON for 2022. From here, “The Bay Calls the Day” so stay tuned to find out if conditions comply to run the one-day contest.

Swell Forecasts to Watch

Waimea Bay requires WNW (295-305) to work its magic (30-feet+) for the Eddie to be called on. We’re in touch with the folks at Surfline and MagicSeaweed for up to date alerts on incoming swell. We also have some inside sources (unkos!) who monitor buoys and keep an eye on conditions for us. When we get the heads-up, we will update this article. Otherwise, feel free to monitor the following swell forecasts for Waimea Bay:

Recent Photos from the Opening Ceremony

(images: property of @marcus_ocean)

When is the Eddie Aikau Contest

Clyde Aikau preparing to paddle out

When is the Eddie Aikau Contest
When is the Eddie Aikau Contest
When is the Eddie Aikau Contest
When is the Eddie Aikau Contest
When is the Eddie Aikau Contest
When is the Eddie Aikau Contest
When is the Eddie Aikau Contest

Another legend (Michael Ho) coming in from his opening ceremony surf

If you have any questions about if and when the Eddie Aikau contest will run during your time on Oahu, leave a comment below. We read them, and reply!


  1. Kerryn Butt says:

    Hey, we’re coming to North Shore in December for the first time. We’re from Australia and hubby is a huge surf fan. How will we in is when the comp is on? Cheers

    • Aloha! While their Instagram at @theeddieaikau should keep you in the loop, they are a little slow with the updates. Excuse the self-promo, but you’re better off following @marcus_ocean (on Instagram) as I live up the road during the winter, and will be posting if/when the event is called on.

  2. Hello,

    Some say opening ceremony is December 9th, 2022. Contest starts in 12/14/22?

    We are coming too, just want to be sure on dates… Does anyone know for sure.

    • Aloha Erika! No official word from the family yet BUT the period begins in the first week of December so I expect the opening ceremony to be between Dec 2-4 (Friday to Sunday).

  3. Hi Marcus,

    I got a hold of someone from the Aikau family and mentioned with permits and all the changes, the ceremony will not be on the first week of December. They changed it to the second week. I hope that is right, we changed our flight tickets. I don’t see anything being posted as of yet. But it would be really nice if they did post up since there are people traveling to this event.

    Have you found any updates???

    Thank you, 🙂

    Thank you,

    • Aloha Erika! How do I say this….umm….sometimes the family doesn’t have the details right. HOWEVER, the event goes through this almost every single year with respect to the permits so you may have the right info. I’ll ask around again tomorrow (will be on-site for the Haleiwa Challenger event). If you’re correct, we may have to put you on the payroll 😉

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