Lifeguard Wins Legendary Contest On Lunch Break, Over Pros

The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Hawaii's Waimea Bay was won Sunday by lifeguard Luke Shepardson.
Hawaiis Barron Mamiya wipes out at Pipeline on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii, January 20, 2023. - - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by Brian Bielmann / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by BRIAN BIELMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

At a glance

  • The 27-year-old Shepardson is a lifeguard for the City & County of Honolulu.
  • Shepardson edged out pro surfing star John John Florence for the win.
  • Sunday marked the first time since 2016 the waves were big enough to hold “The Eddie.”
  • Eddie Aikau, for whom the event was named, was also a Waimea Bay lifeguard. He died in 1978 trying to help fellow members of a canoe expedition in which he took part and that was hit by a storm.
  • “Super scary, waves were huge. It’s a dream come true to be a part of the Eddie,” Shepardson said after the win. “Brah, I gotta get back to the (lifeguard) tower.”

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