Honolulu lifeguard Luke Shepardson wins ‘The Eddie’ contest

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM Luke Shephardson was brought up after winning the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Luke Shephardson is brought up after winning the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM Pedestrians and motorists throng Kamehameha Highway early today for the 2023 Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Pedestrians and motorists throng the Kamehameha Highway early today for the 2023 Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay.

Luke Shepardson won the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational today in Waimea Bay.

Shepardson, a Honolulu Ocean Safety lifeguard, scored 89.1 points out of a possible 90 to beat defending champion John John Florence.

>> BLOG: Luke Shepardson crowned winner of surfing competition ‘The Eddie’

Thousands watched from the North Shore beach and nearby higher elevations.

To run the competition, the waves of Waimea Bay must be consistently equal to about 40 feet (about 20 feet Hawaiian style) with the right wind conditions. This was the 10th time “The Eddie” – named after legendary Hawaiian big-wave surfer and lifeguard Eddie Aikau – has been held in its 38 years of existence.

Florence won the last Eddie in 2016. No one has won more than once.

A total of 40 athletes were invited, plus alternates. They surfed in two rounds of five heats each, with each competitor riding a maximum of four waves in each round. The best three of the possible eight rides count towards their score.

For the first time, women were invited and six participated. Andrea Moller made history as the first woman to compete in competitive golf at ‘The Eddie’.

Eddie Aikau was lost at sea and presumed to have died in March 1978. The 31-year-old crew member of the Hokule’a attempted to swim for help after the Hawaiian voyage ship capsized 12 miles south of Molokai in a storm. The rest of the crew were rescued.

The first competition in Aikau’s honor was held at Sunset Beach in 1985. Aikau’s brother Clyde won in 1987 after the event moved to Waimea Bay. Clyde Aikau is now tournament director.

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained the incorrect score for Luke Shepardson.

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