The Eddie Aikau...Almost.

One dream that I've had is to photograph the Eddie Aikau, so when I heard that a monster swell was going to hit the North Shore this past Thursday, I was all ears. I checked the surf forecast online for several days, in addition to watching surf updates on the news. The event was very publicized, and as the day drew nearer, Waimea Bay began to bustle with activity when people realized that the waves were in Eddie territory. 

My dad and I decided we were going to go for it and left for Waimea Bay at 4:30AM on Thursday morning. After parking at Ali'i Beach and taking a shuttle, we got to the Bay around 6:45AM. The area was jam-packed with people! Towers were up for the judges, spectators swarmed the beach and the surrounding sides of the bay, and a mass of surfers were out just beyond the mouth of the bay, waiting. 

I set up on the right side of the Bay, just off of Kamehameha Highway. The morning sun took a while to emerge, but once it did, the lighting was stunning. The sets were coming in gradually, and we saw some 30 footers tearing through the Bay. However, at around 8AM, despite all the excitement and anticipation, the meet was postponed because the Eddie Aikau needed consistent sets of big waves to make it fair for each surfer, and this just wasn't happening. It was a letdown to a certain degree, but I definitely enjoyed the overall experience of being at Waimea with all the hustle and bustle of putting on a surf meet like the Eddie Aikau. 

The following are some of my favorite shots from that memorable morning :)

An image of the chopper that was shooting video of the surfers. 

News said approx. 15,000 people were at Waimea Bay throughout Thursday!

For the photographers reading this blog post:

My setup for the day was my Nikon D300, paired with a Nikon 70-200 VR II and 1.7X Teleconverter, both of which I borrowed from my good friend David Lau. (Thanks David!) The whole setup gave me the equivalent of a 510mm lens, which helped me significantly to grab shots of the distant surfers and waves. Everything was mounted on David's monopod, which made holding and steadying the heavy rig a lot easier for me :)

I also had my second D300 with my 17-50mm to take some wide angle shots throughout the morning. 
Some of my favorite shots were taken of surfers riding the smaller waves closer to shore. 

Rolling in...

Monster waves!

Note: the shots of the big waves are slightly hazy due to all the sea spray that the waves were churning up. 

A damaged board

This is something you don't see everyday...

big lenses along the Bay

Some people will do anything to get a good view! You can get an idea of how high up this guy was from looking at the street lights behind him...

Wide shot from my position along the Bay. 

View of Waimea Bay

Kelly Slater created quite a sensation when he decided to jump into the water. A mass of photographers, video crews, and girls swarmed around him before he entered the water...

Looking out for each other :)

The price to pay for watching the surfers: a very large traffic jam on Kam Highway. 


  1. The photos of the waves are stunning!
    Those surfers are sooo brave to go out there!
    I can barely handle a bigger than normal wave at kailua x'D

  2. Aloha Reese, what you might try doing is using a CPL next time. totally cuts out the sea spray



Blog Archive

Total Page Views (Oct 2010 - present)