Huge waves greet return of ‘Super Bowl of Surfing’ competition in Hawaii after seven years

One of the most prestigious surfing contests in the world returned in Hawaii this weekend for the first time in seven years. The competition, which for the first time

had female surfers competing alongside the men, was greeted with towering wave faces and a gigantic swell. The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational - alternatively known simply

as The Eddie - is a one-day contest held in Waimea Bay on Oahu's North Shore only when the surf is consistently large enough during the winter big-wave surfing season from

mid-December through mid-March. The wind, the tides and the direction of the swell also have to be just right. "Large enough" means 20 feet (6 meters) by Hawaii

measurements. That's equivalent to about 40 feet (12 meters) when measured by methods used in the rest of the United States. Before this year, conditions have only aligned for it

to be held nine times since the initial competition in 1984. Organiser Clyde Aikau said at a news conference Friday that he was expecting waves to reach 25 to 30 feet (7.6

to nine meters) by Hawaii measurements or 50 to 60 feet (15 to 18 meters) on the national scale - and the conditions were meeting expectations. "We've been looking at

30-foot to 40-foot wave faces for the most part, (and) the biggest waves of the day are going to be in excess of 45 feet. By local scale, they'll call those waves 25 feet - and

we've seen a couple sets like that already," Kevin Wallis, director of forecasting at Surfline.com, said by phone Sunday morning. "It's amazing, it's really cool to see and

it's such a rare and prestigious event, and there's a lot of energy and a lot of buzz around, for sure," he said.