Tuesday, December 8, 2009 Updated: June 15, 11:23 AM ET
Yes, Eddie Is Going
Kelly Slater is currently sitting on top, on a 98.
On Tuesday, the mother of all big wave contests was called on amid 25- to 30-foot surf in Waimea Bay, Hawaii. The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau has run only seven times in its 25-year history, as the invitational runs only when waves are 20 feet or higher.
And who made the headlines early? Well, Mr. Kelly Slater, of course. Slater led the pack for most of the day with an incredible, near-perfect Round 1 score, but in the end, it was California young buck Greg Long who came from behind to win by 10 points in the last heat of the day.
Jake Howard was on the scene, gathering tidbits to relay back to the mainland throughout the day, and what a beautiful day it was on the North Shore.
The morning started out with a few lulls, but there were definitely some legit bombs coming through. Slater posted a 69 early, then he caught a dream wave, all the way through the shorebreak, for 98 points. He maxed out his wave count in Round 1, and the beach went bonkers.
"I heard somebody say, 'Here comes a beast,' and I was the only one in position and had to go," Slater said on the beach after his heat.
Slater rode the same board he rode when he won at The Eddie in 2002. If he had won today, he would have been the first person in the contest's 25-year history to win twice.
Garrett McNamara may be in contention for the Monster Energy Monster Drop.
Other highlights from earlier in the day (full report coming soon):
After winning the inaugural contest in 1986, Eddie Aikau's younger brother, Clyde Aikau, is 60 years old and still commanding respect.
Darryl "Flea" Virostko, whose brutal fall in 2004 became the poster for this event, took another ghastly beating today.
26-year-old Pipeline local Jamie O'Brien has been on the invite list two years running, but Tuesday was his first go at surfing in the contest. And he's off to a good start, trailing just behind Slater in points after his Round 2 heat.