California's Greg Long overtakes Slater to win Eddie Aikau big-wave surf meet
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
California's Greg Long capped a perfect day at Waimea Bay by scoring a perfect 100 in the afternoon round on the way to winning the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau
big-wave surfing contest today.
Long caught all his best waves in the late afternoon heat to win the prestigious contest for the first time.
"I'm humbled to be even in this event," he said. "To the all the competitors, It was an honor to be on this list with you."
He scored his perfect wave midway through the heat, making a steep drop down the face of a giant wave.
The unique one-day competition was run in wave-face heights of 35 to 45 feet at Waimea Bay.
The contest can run only on a day when wave-face heights are consistently near 40 feet. Because of those strict standards, it has been completed just eight times in its 25-year history.
Long finished with a four-wave score of 323 to earn the $55,000 first-place check. He is the first California surfer to win the Eddie Aikau contest.
Florida's Kelly Slater, who scored a 98 in the morning round, scored 313 points to place second.
Wai'anae's Sunny Garcia was third with 292 points.
Each of the 28 invited surfers got to surf in two separate one-hour heats, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Contest officials estimated the crowd to be between 20,000 and 25,000 — the largest in the history of the event.
The event was created in 1984 to honor former Waimea Bay lifeguard Eddie Aikau. He was lost at sea while attempting a solo rescue mission for the voyaging canoe Hokuleça in 1978.