Hawaii Lifeguard Luke Shepardson Wins The Eddie Aikau Surf Contest
This is the ultimate fairy tale start and finish for Hawaii's very own Luke Shepardson a lifeguard by day and now a winner of one of the most prestiguous surf contest in the world The Eddie Aikau Invitational. (top photo is Michael Ho in the yellow singlet and Mike Parsons from a previous Eddie comp. Photo by Jack English)
ICYMI: 'I can't believe it' - Active #Hawaii lifeguard Luke Shepardson wins The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, an event created to honor Waimea Bay's very first lifeguard https://t.co/8oizRxJS2O #EddieWouldGo #TheEddie #BigWaveSurfing 🗒️ @c_shimabuku 🤙🏽 pic.twitter.com/hBgqctxjz4— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) January 23, 2023
Honolulu City & County Lifeguard Luke Shepardson wins the 2023 Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational Championship ▪️ @KHONnews' @chrislatronic caught up with the champ following the announcement https://t.co/GkBMcle9AN Stay 2/ #KHON2 for more coverage throughout the evening 🤙🏽 pic.twitter.com/ecWT1OnTot— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) January 23, 2023
Chris Latronic from KHONews: Ok Luke when you woke up this morning to get ready for work to be a lifeguard did you know you were going to win The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitaional today
Luke Shepardson: I didn't think I was, but I told myself i'm in it because I can win it and that's what I was telling my self all day, super scary, waves were huge that's a dream come true to be part of the Eddie just to be on the alternate list and then to be in it and I can't believe it f_ckin' crazy.
CL: Tell me about some of these waves you got a 10 couple 9's and then I think another 10 out there you were in tune like no other tell me about your experience out there.
LS: I don't know I just I can't believe it, It's surreal it's a dream come true and f_ckin" wah I got to get back to the tower and
CL: Eddie Aikau was a lifeguard here how does if feel to almost completley follow in his footsteps
LS: I'll never be as good as Eddie, but someone to look up to and try someone I inspire to be like and yeah I got to get back to the tower to make sure everyones ok till the end of the day
CL: Well Luke the work doesn't get done you still got a job to do congratulations on becoming the 10th Eddie Aikau big wave champion congratulations Luke
LS: Thanks Chris, I can't believe it. I can't believe it's true.
CL: Yeah, Luke. Love you Brother.
Top surfers were invited to compete today and KITV Malika Dudley ABC 4 spoke with former champ Kelly Slater who acutally gave us his spot for a long time surfer who had never competed in the Eddie before.
Kelly Slater surfing Waimea Bay - Photo Jack English
Kelly Slater: I just wasn't feeling it this morning and the next guy that would get in if I didn't surf is a guy named Chris Owens his brother Bob was pretty famous surfer in the 70's a hero of mine and Chris has been a lifelong surfer at Waimea and never surfed the Eddie so by me not surfing he get's to surf and i'm super happy for him. He was almost crying.
Malika Dudley: What a gift
KS: Yeah, i'm happy You know there is always going to be somebody there who wants it more then you if your timed at all and it didn't feel like my day and I just said Chris you go surf and he was like thank you and we just hugged it out and I can't wait to see him surf.
MD: Oh my gosh you guy's this is what the Eddies all about, Eddie he was the protector, the peace maker and we of course we all know about his sacrifice so it's really cool to kind of think Eddie would feel really good about this.
KS: I hope so. I talked to Tony Moniz who's one of the all time greats out here one of the original chargers with Brock Little who's like my big brother and hero and you know Tony did some incredible things he pulled into one of the biggest barrels in Waimea at back in 1990 Eddie Aikau. I talked to him about it and I just said "I'm not feeling it today" and he was like don't go and don't feel weird about it. You know your ego get's in the way "oh you didn't go" but whatever you know.
MD: Everybody's waiting to see you surf
KS: You know if you don't feel it you don't feel it and that's happened to me on a few times on different swells over the years, theirs been day's where I didn't feel comfortable with myself or my sleep patterns or whatever or I haven't surfed big waves in a while. So theirs some swells I just don't surf and today's one of those day's.
MD: Thank you so much for your time I really appreciate it and it's so great to see you and enjoy watching and taking in especially Chris Owens.
KS: Yeah, he'll be in heat four. I was in heat two, but the way to filled the alternates because theirs people missing he is the next one to get in, but he goes into a different heat. So yeah, a couple guy's Mikey Red got in and Kahea Hart got in, and Chris Owens the next one if somebody doesn't surf will be Dave Wassell, but Dave said he would be giving his spot to Ben, to Big Ben who's always wanted to surf this who's one of the all time big chargers we've ever had he's just out of his mind, so I would love to see Ben get in to.
MD: I love the comrarderty this event especially is it's so evident. Thank you so much