Andy Irons, Waimea Bay Shore Break, The 2009 Quiksilver: In Memory of Eddie Aikau, Hawaii
Photographer Patrick ‘Tupat’ Eichstaedt: “I’ve seen five Eddie Aikau events and have been blessed to see some incredible moments. That epicentre (Waimea) really gives you an appreciation of surfing and what it feels like to ride moving water. I knew on that day someone would try to do that exact feat – ride the tube on the inside at the bay. That day I’d decided to shoot with my 300mm and just walk everywhere I could get. Fortunately my shots that were published were of Andy and Bruce: Bruce’s shot was in The Eddie Book by Surfer magazine and AI’s wave was in Transworld Surf as a spread. I was very happy with these results. By the afternoon, I’d made my way over to the area that would give me the angle looking into the tube on the inside. I could tell the swell was pulsing. I hadn’t had anything to drink for a while and I was getting a bit dizzy. That day was fucking hot. I sat next to a Hawaiian-looking lady and she was nice enough to offer me a few pieces of sushi and some water. I was obliged to take her offerings. As I was taking a break, Andy’s wave came in and I could barely see the outside because of white water in front of his wave. As he approached the mid section, more towards jump rock area but out a bit further, you could feel the crowd starting to swell up and I started getting very anxious and excited to see what was going to go down. I shot an image of Andy midway and you could see Slater looking into it with the lifeguard raising his hands to claim it. It was all unfolding for another magical moment at the bay. Pops Ho did it, then Bruce did it, so why not Andy do it?
…Years earlier – ’96 I believe – we all bunked up at Logs: Cory & Shea lopez, Hopper, Dicko, Eric Diaz, Andy and Bruce. Just sleeping on the couches to hang and shoot footage. One day the inside at the bay looked like it had a really rip-able sand bar, so we all went down there to capture footage for the original 5’5″x19x1/4″ …Lost Fish movie. I called Billy Goat to get the looking-into-the-tube angle. We ended up scoring a great session that probably inspired a few people to go out and buy a fish…
But, back to the wave at The Eddie, this brought back great memories from those times and now I was taking pictures of it, instead of video. I remember looking through my view-finder and really seeing just a blur. I was so excited to shoot this moment that everything went kinda slow-motion for a few seconds and then the crowd just erupted. The final frame in this sequence was the last shot I took, because my memory card froze up, so I was lucky to even score that image. I instantly checked the shots to see what I’d had scored. It looked as if it was a success but with the sun and all the excitement it was tough to see, so I kept shooting. Then he got to the beach and I knew this was a real moment at the bay, so I fired away to score all the emotion of what had just happen, not knowing these would be his last shots at Waimea. As for the shot, he had told me it was one of his favourite shots he’d ever had published. I will always remember Andy as a inspiration to all of us. To have been a friend of his was an honour and also a blessing.”