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|Greg Long won the last Eddie thanks to this 25-footer, will he have a crack at defending his title this year? He hopes so.|
Invitees to the 28th annual Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau have been announced, and there are several surprises among them. New to this year's list, which is decided upon via peer poll, are California's Alex Gray, Oahu's John John Florence and Maui's Ian Walsh.
"My whole morning just stood still when I saw this. I could not be more honored to be invited to the Eddie," said Walsh. "Thank you Quiksilver and the Aikau ohana."
There are a total of 28 invitees on the list. The one-day event at Waimea Bay, which follows the mantra "the Bay calls the day," requires consistent 20-foot surf to run. This year's waiting period runs from Dec. 1, 2012 through Feb. 28, 2013. The last time Eddie ran was in 2009 and was won by Greg Long.
"I don't know if I'm more stoked or more scared," said Florence in Quiksilver's press release. "My whole life I've been going to the opening ceremony, looking at all the big guys with their big boards, and paddling out to the circle since I was super little. Something about Waimea and the way Eddie surfed it back in the day... all the stories you hear about him, it's just such a powerful place. You can feel it when you're out there. To be able to grow up and kind of learn to surf that wave since I was little, and be able to watch the last couple of Eddies has been crazy."
With a mild El Nino in the winter forecast, hopefully Florence, Gray and Walsh get a crack at the Eddie, goodness knows all three are worthy.