Surfers from the country of Hawaii dominated the leaderboard Thursday in The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau.

The big-wave surf invitational drew thousands of spectators to Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore.

For casual observers, many of whom were watching a surf contest for the first time, some eyebrows were raised at how the leaderboard explains where each surfer comes from.

The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau leaderboard, Thursday.
The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau leaderboard earlier Thursday. Final results hereCourtesy: WSL

Under the category “Country,” six of the top 10 were from Hawaii, one was from the United States, two were from Australia and one was from South Africa.

John John Florence of Hawaii won the Eddie Aikau with a final score of 301, edging out Ross Clarke-Jones of Australia, Shane Dorian of Hawaii, Jamie Mitchell of Hawaii and Kelly Slater of the USA.

Hawaii surfer John John Florence is interviewed after winning the Eddie Aikau.
Hawaii surfer John John Florence is interviewed after winning the Eddie Aikau. Courtesy: WSL/2016

Even though Hawaii has been a state since 1959, surfers explained that in their world it’s critical to differentiate a mainland surfer from a Hawaii surfer so that’s why it’s done that way.

In recent years, there’s been a heightened awareness of issues important to Native Hawaiians, including sovereignty, making the leaderboard’s listing of Hawaii as its own country all the more salient.

The surf contest is named after Eddie Aikau, who died at age 31 in 1978. He was the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay and a popular big-wave surfer.

Born on Maui, he endeavored to perpetuate his Hawaiian heritage until his death, according to his biography on the Eddie Aikau Foundation website.

Eddie’s brother Clyde Aikau, 66, competed in the invitational Thursday. The last time the Eddie ran was 2009, as it only happens when the waves are big enough and conditions are right.

Check out footage of the event and more here.

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