Hawaii is a land famous for its gorgeous beaches, vibrant parties, and blue ocean waves – huge and raging, and in a moment – submissive and gentle.
And, of course, this is the place where the glorious conquerors of the waves are born – surfers who can “ride” the water element and triumphantly ride on its crest.
One such ocean tamer was Eddie Aikau – an outstanding lifeguard, surfer, and man who was adored in his homeland for simplicity and soulfulness.
Eddie is ready to risk his life for the sake of others, rush into the raging ocean to lend a helping hand, and, ironically, he became a victim of the water element, finding in its waters the noble death of a person who lives and dies to save others.
Conquering the waves of the Hawaiian coast
On May 4, 1946, Eddie was born in Maui to a large family. Surfing, popular in Hawaii, interested Aikau from the age of 11.
Having tried to reunite with the ocean once, he remained forever captivated by this element: the guy found extraordinary harmony while spending time on the coast and deftly coped with big waves beyond his years.
At the age of 13, the Eddie Aikau family moved to the island of Oahu, and at the age of 16, the young man dropped out of school to go to work.
Eddie was taken to the Dole Cannery, where he tins pineapples. Aikau has earned the necessary amount to acquire a real surfboard working hard.
From now on, the young Hawaiian guy spends all his free time from work and sleeping in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The local government noticed the dexterous surfer and offered Aikau a job he liked. Eddie became a lifeguard.
Since 1968, Eddie Aikau, not sparing himself, threw himself into giant waves and raging whirlpools for ten years, saving people from certain death. Eddie controlled a 10km stretch of beach with two incredibly challenging surf spots.
Aikau has held more than 500 people for all the years of work, and no one drowned during its shift!
This was the whole Eddie – he gave himself up to the cause entirely, with all his heart he approached all his undertakings, did not give a weakness, and with open arms walked towards others.
Thanks to his incredible sacrifice, heroism, and kind-heartedness, Eddie Aikau was recognized as the best rescuer of the year 1971.
During lunches and breaks, Aikau could not leave the expanse of water for a minute – he enjoyed conquering the ocean, soaring up on huge 10-meter waves, and felt like a thrilled person.
This was his life, his highest meaning of existence. Yet, ironically, it was the meaning of life that brought the death of a great man who existed for the good of others.
Fatal North Star
In 1978, the Polynesian Travel Society organized a scientific naval expedition on the trail of Polynesian migrants. The two-hull canoe was supposed to cross 4,000 km in 30 days and arrive at the shores of the island of Tahiti.
Being a native Hawaiian, Eddie wanted to take part in the journey because he was proud of his origin and studied the history and culture of his ancestors. Thus, Aikau volunteered to become a member of the crew of the Severnaya Zvezda ship.
On March 16, 1978, the canoe hit the road despite unfavorable weather. Soon a real storm began, and the ship received a severe breach. The crew members became hostages of the elements, on a sinking ship, without radio communication and hope of salvation.
Here the breadth of Eddie Aikau’s soul manifested itself: the 31-year-old surfer and lifeguard made the fateful decision to go for help using his surfboard. He desperately tried to reach the shore, for this, he even took off his life jacket …
The ship’s passengers saw for a long time the silhouette of a real man, an outstanding man, a lifeguard going to certain death. No one else saw Eddie Aikau.
The sinking canoe was spotted by a helicopter pilot flying over and called for a rescue team. All crew members were rescued, and the most prominent search party in Hawaii history was sent to find Eddie, but the search was unsuccessful.
The great surfer remained forever in the waters of the ocean, buried in its raging waves.