Hawaii All gather on Oahus north shore when the big ones come By Brian Berusch / September 21, 2005 Share 1 -- WAIMEA BEACH -- The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational draws big crowds on short notice. The Eddie, as it is called, has no set date. It comes when the 30-foot-plus waves come, anytime from Dec. 5 to 25, or thereabouts. Last year, the waves came on Dec. 15. The other contests were put on hold. These waves were too dangerous for all but the very best. Thats the criterion for The Eddie: dangerous waves.Radio reports spread the word. Some people knew the big ones had come when they heard the thunder as the swells collapsed against the shore. More than 5,000 people ditched work or school that day and headed for Waimea Beach.Rows of cars lined the side of the road. Most were pickup trucks, Volkswagen buses or ratty hatchbacks bearing surf racks that probably cost more than the car. People walked alongside the road, cup of coffee in hand, toward the bay.Thirty average-looking men were chosen to surf in six heats of five surfers. They paddled out from the shore on their boards into waves that, on that day, reached nearly 60 feet, the size of a six-story building, and moved at speeds of 40 mph.Most eyes were on surfer Bruce Irons as he dropped straight off the lip of a curling wave, an easy 30 feet, skipped over the water and flew through the air, still on his surfboard.He hit the water about 40 feet down the wave and still had another 20 feet to carve out a long bottom turn. At that point, the people on the beach were on their feet.Irons had surfed one of the largest waves in tournament history and went home with the $100,000 purse.To contact reporter Brian Berusch, send e-mail to email@example.com.Vans Triple Crown of SurfingThe Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, a series of three contests that runs almost daily on Oahus North Shore, invites top-rated surfers to compete with the waves for a $670,000 purse. Onlookers can picnic on the beach, and there is no fee to watch. The series begins with the Vans Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa from Nov. 12 to 24, followed by the ONeill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7. Both contests are six-star World Qualifying Series-rated and carry $125,000 cash purses. The ONeill World Cup of Surfing determines which surfers advance to the World Championship Tour for a shot at the world title.The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters is the grand finale and offers a $270,000 purse. It will take place at the Banzai Pipeline Dec. 8 to 20.Meanwhile, the Roxy Pro, the first womens event in the Vans Triple Crown, is set for Nov. 12 to 23 at Haleiwa, and the womens Billabong Pro will take place Dec. 8 to 19 at Honolua Bay, Maui. Each is a $65,000 event.