Last weekend, Waimea Bay in Hawaii played host to the “Eddie Would Go” big wave event in honor of the late legendary surfer Eddie Aikau. It’s considered one of the premiere big wave surfing competitions in the world and the biggest names in the sport turn up to compete.
Of course, safety is essential at an event like this, and there were lifeguards on jet skis racing around the lineup to pick up fallen surfers. In the above video — captured by a drone — the lifeguards got caught inside and had to turn toward shore to try to outrun an avalanche of water. Thankfully, they all appeared to make it back to the shore, but the moment was tense.
One waterman, Brian Keaulana, told Hawaii News Now that the experience was like “climbing Mount Everest except Mount Everest is an avalanche coming at you” — a reminder that surfers aren’t known for their analogies. Still, the experience of this lifeguard offers up some scope:
Jason Patterson felt the power at the start of the competition. His jet ski landed on top of him after a wipe out and was forced to hold his breath under water for minutes.
“I was trying to turn it over but I couldn’t figure it out,” Patterson said.