About the Name
On the North Shore of Oahu, Aikau was Waimea Bay's first lifeguard. He saved 500 people from drowning in the high surf. In 1977, he won the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship.
In 1978, Aikau joined the Hokule'a, a 60-foot replica of a Polynesian voyaging canoe, on a 30-day, 2400 mile journey from Hawaii to Tahiti. The crew were to use only ancient navigational techniques. After the canoe capsized, Aikau was the one who paddled toward Lana'i in hopes to find help. While the rest of the crew were eventually rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard, Aikau's body was never found.
The surf industry honored the life of Hawaii's surfing hero by organizing the Quicksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, a contest with the unique requirement that the waves must be 20 feet or bigger. While the organizers were deciding whether to proceed, in spite of the huge waves and dangerous conditions, Mark Foo, a famous surfer, looked on and said, "Eddie would go."
The phrase has stuck, and the iconic expression gives tribute to a heroic yet humble man who did not necessarily enjoy competition. More importantly, the statement is about having the courage to pursue greatness when others hesitate. Aikau went where others dared not. Today, his legendary courage encourages others to dream, persevere and be generous. Yoon shares a similar worldview and loves to collaborate with clients who share the same values that embodied Aikau.
To learn more about Eddie Aikau’s inspirational story, see the 30 for 30 ESPN documentary or check out one of the many books recording his life.