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The full press release is available as a PDF download here.

Eddie Aikau

Eddie Aikau

Wailea, HI (May 28, 2013) – Eddie Aikau, represented by his family, and Nainoa Thompson will receive 2013 Maui Film Festival Visionary Awards, it was announced today by Barry Rivers, Director of the event, which will be held June 12-16, 2013, at the Wailea Resort in Maui. The Maui Film Festival Visionary Award is being presented to this year’s honorees for living lives beyond limits, outside of fear. The awards will be presented at the Celestial Cinema located at the Wailea Gold & Emerald Golf Course on June 12, 2013 before the screening of HAWAIIAN: THE LEGEND OF EDDIE AIKAU. Tickets and passes are available at www.mauifilmfestival.com.

“The Maui Film Festival is deeply touched to have the privilege to present 2013 Visionary Awards, given previously to only H.H The 14th Daiai Lama, to both the Aikau ‘ohana in memory of Eddie Aikau and to Nainoa Thompson,” Said Rivers. “Both men have helped guide not only the mission of the Maui Film Festival, but even more importantly, people all over the world to navigate their personal life journeys in service to the greater good.”

Aikau is one of the most respected names in surfing. He was the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay on the island of Oahu. He saved many lives and became well known as a big-wave surfer. Aikau was a true symbol of Aloha. Born on the island of Maui, Aikau later moved to O’ahu with his family in 1959. In 1968, he became the first lifeguard hired by the City & County of Honolulu to work on the North Shore. Not one life was lost while he served as lifeguard at Waimea Bay. Aikau braved surf that often reached 20 feet high or more to make a rescue. He became very famous for surfing the big Hawaiian surf and won several surfing awards including First Place at the prestigious 1977 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship. The local saying, “Eddie Would Go,” refers to his stoke to take on big waves that other surfers would shy away from and his courage to make a rescue in impossible situations. Aikau became involved in perpetuating his Hawaiian heritage. In 1976, the Polynesian Voyaging Society sailed the Hokule’a on a successful 30-day, 2,500-mile journey following the ancient route of the Polynesian migration between the Hawaiian and Tahitian islands. In 1978, a second voyage of the traditional sailing canoe was planned. At 31 years of age, Aikau was selected for this voyage as a crewmember. The Hokule’a left the Hawaiian Islands on March 16, 1978. The double-hulled voyaging canoe developed a leak in one of the hulls and later capsized in stormy weather about twelve miles south of the island of Molokai. In an attempt to get to land to save his crew and the Hokule’a, Aikau paddled toward Lanai on his surfboard. Hours later a commercial airplane spotted the Hokule’a and the rest of the crew were soon rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. Aikau was missing at sea. Despite great search efforts he was never seen again.

Over the past 35 years, Thompson has inspired and led a revival of the traditional arts associated with long-distance ocean voyaging in Hawaiʻi and throughout Polynesia. He developed and teaches a system of wayfinding, or non-instrument navigation, synthesizing traditional principles of ancient Pacific navigation and modern science. He is the first Hawaiian to practice the art of wayfinding on long distance ocean voyages since such voyaging ended in Hawai’i around the 14th century. Thompson continues to develop and implement a multi-disciplined, culturally relevant educational program focused on teaching children of Hawaiʻi the values of Polynesian voyaging. The program emphasizes both traditional and modern scientific knowledge about the environment, and stresses the importance of eco-cultural principles for ensuring the conservation of resources and a safe, healthy, sustainable future for Hawaiʻi and Island Earth. Thompson is the recipient of numerous community awards, including the Unsung Hero of Compassion, which was in 2012 awarded by the Dalai Lama on behalf of the organization Wisdom in Action; and the Native Hawaiian Education Association’s Manomano Ka ʻIke (Depth and Breadth of Knowledge) Educator of the Year Award. Thompson is a graduate of Punahou School and the University of Hawaiʻi, where he earned a BA in Ocean Science.


The 2013 Maui Film Festival Wailea is made possible by the tremendous and continued support of a number of local, national and international organizations.

The 2013 Maui Film Festival at Wailea will be held June 12-16, 2013. For additional information, call the Film Festival Headquarters at 808-579-9244 or visit www.mauifilmfestival.com.


Media Contact & Credentials:

Ben Goodman
The Works Creative Group
(310) 301-7793