Eddie Would Go


“Eddie would go” is a popular local phrase, sometimes used as a challenge, but more often as words of encouragement. Before the days of popular mythic superheroes, a boy named Edward Ryon Makuahanai Aikau (born on Maui in 1946) dreamed of surfing the monster waves on Oahu’s North Shore. In the 1960s, Aikau mastered those waves, capturing the attention and respect of those at the very top of the sport. Among his many accomplishments, this real life “super hero” was appointed as the first official lifeguard on the North Shore. During his seven years of service, not one person was lost to the pounding surf. Regardless of how dangerous ocean conditions became, it was known that “Eddie would go”—when no one else would or could. In 1978, Aikau was part of the Hokule‘a crew, a traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe that journeyed from Hawai‘i to Tahiti. When the canoe capsized in rough seas 19 miles off the island of Lana‘i, Eddie grabbed his board and set off paddling for help. He was never seen again, but his fellow crewmembers were all found and rescued. Today, the phrase “Eddie would go” is used to reflect the fearless and selfless actions that were once demonstrated by the local surfer. Often appropriate in times when people are in doubt with themselves, unsure or think that something cannot be done, you may hear the phrase used as encouragement and basically meaning, nothing’s impossible. Next time you need that extra boost of courage, just remember, “Eddie would go!”

The Aikau family established The Eddie Aikau Foundation in 2000 to support promising opportunities that reflect Eddie Aikau’s dreams through education, advocacy and philanthropy. This summer the family joined forces with restaurateurs Brandon and Ryan Lee to open the Eddie Aikau Restaurant and Surf Museum at the Waikoloa Beach Resort Kings’ Shops.

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