The Eddie Aikau Big wave is back!

The anticipation is high after Thursday's opening ceremony for the Eddie Aikau Big Wave competition at Waimea Bay. Organizers say Hawaiian culture plays a key role this year.

The last contest took place in February 2016 and with large surf forecasted this winter, conditions look good for what surfers call one of the most prestigious events in the world.

The Eddie in Honor of Eddie Aikau has faced its fair share of challenges in recent years, but with the support of three new sponsors, surfers will get a shot at the coveted title.

It's been three years since the Eddie Big Wave Invitational took place. Sponsorship problems threatened the fate of the iconic contest again this year, but thanks to support from Kamehameha Schools, OHA and Waimea Valley, The Eddie will go and surfers are ecstatic.

"You're basically celebrating the life of Eddie Aikau, who's a legendary waterman from Waimea Beach. He was a lifeguard there, saved hundreds of people, and lost his life to the ocean," said professional surfer Kai Lenny.

Aikau died in March of 1978. He swam to try to get help for his fellow crew after the Hokulea capsized.

Lenny said that being invited to The Eddie has been a lifelong dream. 

The fact that The Eddie has only taken place eight times since it started in 1984 makes being a part of it even more important.

The holding period for the event runs Dec. 1, 2018 through Feb. 28, 2019. Whether the event runs is determined by the size of the waves.

Invitees: Grant Baker, Lucas Chianca, Ross Clarke-Jones, Danilo Couto, Shane Dorian, Nathan Fletcher, John John Florence, Nathan Florence, Sunny Garcia, Aaron Gold, Mark Healey, Mason Ho, Bruce Irons, Billy Kemper, Keala Kennelly,Ezekiel Lau, Kai Lenny, Greg Long, Keali‘i Mamala, Garrett McNamara, Jamie Mitchell, Jamie O'Brien, Joel Parkinson, Makuakai Rothman, Koa Rothman, Kelly Slater, Takayuki Wakita, Ian Walsh e Dave Wassel.

Alternates: Kyle Shipman, Michael Ho, Landon McNamara, Luke Shephardson, Ramon Navarro, Reef McIntosh, Kohl Christensen, Chris Owens, Tyler Laron, Ben Wilkinson, Kala Alexander, Rodrigo Koxa, Tom Carroll, Paige Alms, Mark Matthews, Jamie Sterling, Shawn Dollar, Carlos Burle, Gabriel Villaran, Kahea Hart, Damien Hobgood, Kalani Chapman, Ryan Hipwood, Danny Fuller, Nic Lamb, Anthony Tashnick, Rusty Long, Derek Dunfee, Jeremy Flores, Noah Johnson, Peter Mel, Andrew Cotton, Duane DeSoto, Kainoa McGee, Ikaika Kalama, Tyler Fox, Brad Gerlach, Vincent Lartizen, Mike Parsons, Axi Muniain, Benjamin Sanchis, Damien Warr, Sebastian Steudtner, Eric Akiskalian, Dan Corbett, Francisco Porcella, Antonio Silva, Gautier Garanx, Antonio Balau, Mick Corbett, Jarryd Foster, Lance Hoʻokano, Rusty Keaulana, Hugo Vau, Pedro Scooby, Yuri Soledade e Trevor Sven Carlson.

Eddie Aikau 2018 Opening Ceremony.

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