Have you heard about Eddie Aikau?
We were told his story at the Inspiration Dinner and it really stuck with me. Here’s the short version:
Edward Ryon Makuahanai “Eddie” Aikau (May 4, 1946 – March 17, 1978) is one of the most respected names in surfing. He was the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay on the island of Oahu. He saved many lives and became well known as a big-wave surfer. “Eddie” was a true symbol of Aloha.
The local saying, “Eddie Would Go,” refers to his stoke to take on big waves that other surfers would shy away from and his courage to make a rescue in impossible situations.
He was alway doing something no one else has done before or since, purely on the basis of raw skill. Aikau’s prowess as a lifeguard became widely known, and a comforting presence on the beach. No one drowned on his watch, dozens were saved, at least the ones we know about, because Aikau rarely bothered to file reports on lifesaving. Aikau was a legend on the North Shore, pulling people out of waves that no one else would dare to. That’s where the saying came from — Eddie would go, when no else would or could. Only Eddie dared.