tikini wikini a fond farewell to 43Things
That’s what I said.
This being Hawaii, time for a little talk story. Not a commercial break. Just a time out for a moment to honor Eddie. Eddie and Iz are two Hawaiians. They were contemporaries, and I have no idea if they ever met. They shared a magnificent love for Hawaii and Hawaiian Ways. The Hawaiian Life. Ke ola. They lived aloha in the truest sense of the word. Story of Iz to come later, Eddie today.
Eddie was a lifeguard on the North Shore of Oahu in the late 1960’s and 70’s. Waves there can be enormous in winter. Eddie was quite the waterman, and no one drowned ever with him out there. He would go into any water to rescue someone. He was also a world champion surfer. And a Hawaiian. He stood between people who would act out on their racist alarms and those who reacted to them, and made peace happen. He was a modest man who when people asked what he did, claimed to be a golfer.
Eddie crewed onto the Hokule’a for a voyage from Hawaii to Fiji, following the course of the ancient Polynesians. A great storm blew up and the Hokule’a began to take on water. Eddie took off on his surfboard to try to reach Lanai and bring help. He was never seen again.
The phrase “Eddie would go” comes from the invitational surf competition held in his honor in the winter, at Waimea Bay. The first time it was held, the waves were so high there was discussion of canceling the event. But Mark Foo, another surfer who later drowned in a surf accident at Maverick’s in California, said “Eddie would go” so the competition was on. It doesn’t go every year, as the surf must reach 30 feet on the face of the wave. It went in 2009.
So, if Eddie would go, would Walter go?