The final heat of the Round One features a former Eddie winner, a Big Wave World Champion, and several Hawaiian legends.
Kauai native Bruce Irons won the event in 2004 during just his second time surfing the Bay. Irons recently made the Final at the Volcom Pipe Pro where he competed against fellow Eddie Invites, Kelly Slater and Jamie O'Brien. Earlier this winter, Irons admitted rediscovering his passion for surfing for the first time since the passing of his brother, three-time World Champion Andy Irons, in 2010.
Bruce will be joined by last year's Big Wave World Champion Makuakai Rothman. A North Shore local, this will be Rothman's second time competing in the iconic event at Waimea Bay. A win at the Eddie would be a serious addition to Rothman's growing list of credits.
Hawaiian Kala Alexander will also represent the local surf community in Heat 4. Alexander was hand picked by the Aikau family for the event in 2009 and has continued to be an invite since then.
Ian Walsh has been absolutely on fire at Jaws throughout the winter's incredible El Niño run, including a fourth place finish at the Pe'ahi Challenge. The Maui local will take his skills to Waimea Bay on Wednesday, where many consider him a serious threat.
Another Maui local to join the pack will be Albee Layer. Layer has undoubtedly been one of the breakout performers of the year in Hawaii's big wave season. He earned a second place finish at the Pe'ahi Challenge, and has been a standout on every swell with his remarkable tube riding. Chances are he'll be looking to do the same at Waimea.
Well-known big wave charger Garrett McNamara rounds out the roster of Hawaiians in Heat 4. McNamara, 44, still holds the record for biggest wave ever surfed and continues to chase swells around the globe for Big Wave Award submissions. With his recent injury at Maverick's, however, he's likely on the fence. Don't be surprised if he gives his spot up to one of the many qualified alternates.
Jeremy Flores is the only non-Hawaiian in Heat 4, representing France and Quiksilver for his hard charging nature. Flores is a former Pipe Master and claimed victory at the Championship Tour's heaviest reefbreak in 2015, the Billbong Pro Tahiti. Though he faces a serious crew of Hawaiians, Flores has proven himself in the heavy surf and will look to do so again at Waimea Bay.