Heartbreak at Pipeline

posted by / News / December 11, 2009


Sunny Garcia misses heat on Day 1

By Stuart Cornuelle

Jobs not to be 10 minutes late for:

Sunny Garcia

Torrey Meister arrived at Pipeline in the dark this morning. Tired. He’d surfed into the semis of the O’Neill World Cup in big, unruly surf a week earlier. Then he’d gotten up at 4:00 a.m. to jet over to Maui and tow-surf Jaws with Mike Parsons and Laurie Towner. As the swell dropped, it became clear that the Billabong Pipe Masters would begin Thursday, and Torrey — as first alternate — had to be ready to paddle out at a moment’s notice.

He hadn’t surfed Pipeline once all season, missing the only good days for WQS events in California and Vancouver Island. He hadn’t eaten anything. Sitting in the competitors’ area, ready to patiently await a dropout for days if necessary, Torrey actually began to doze off.

Until about a quarter after ten. Sunny Garcia was supposed to be surfing against Nic Muscroft in Heat 8, but Sunny hadn’t showed. Torrey was on. He grabbed his jersey and rushed out to join Muscroft in the lineup, who had already begun catching waves. Then Sunny arrived on the beach, ready to surf. Late to work. Mere minutes late, but his tardiness wouldn’t be excused.

The contest had kicked off running the dual heat format, meaning the contest was progressing 50% faster than normal, and Sunny had missed his chance. Torrey had already caught a 4.87, which he’d soon throw out in favor of two 8’s, bludgeoning Nic Muscroft out of the event with a 16.83 heat total. But the real drama was on the beach at the competitors’ tent.

Sunny was told he wouldn’t be surfing; he disagreed. He made a move to grab a jersey and paddle out, but Triple Crown Director Randy Rarick grabbed it too. Rules are rules. A mild singlet tug-of-war ensued, but to no avail — Sunny was out. Kauai’s Evan Valiere offered to give up the next alternate spot, so that Sunny would still have a chance to get in, but no other surfers withdrew from Round 1. And that was it. Tragedy.

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  • Jaime G.

    So unfair! Just because he was late for his heat (traffic!), they wouldn’t let him surf!??!?!?! 1st of all, this was Sunny’s first surfing contest, so how could he have known the rules! And seriously, after all the good he’s done – I heard he hasn’t kicked anyone’s ass in SIX MONTHS!!!! – couldn’t you have made an exception? I can understand Randy’s stance if this was say, Aritz Subaru, but he should know that in Hawaii, Hawaiians are exempt from ASP (or other) rules and he should have let St.Sunny surf. Plus, we all know Sunny needed that 3xCrown 50K for motorcycles, rims, tattoos and some other stuff (taxes, child support, etc.). Randy, you SUCK.

  • Brandy Cook

    Wow ya i watched it that was heavy. How do you not show up in time? That is crazy he had a chance to win the Triple Crown right?

  • http://SticksandStonesLove.com Jesse

    Too bad Sunny’s name isn’t Kelly Slater or he would have been allowed to surf no matter how late he was.

  • 808Girl

    I agree wit Jesse. They should have let him surf. Traffic was hell gettin 2 pipe (not jus parking). But believe me sitting in traffic 4 about a hour was worth it. Hopefully sunny gets in n wins another triple crown title. WAR SUNNY!!

  • Taylor Paul

    if this were facebook I’d ‘like’ Jaime G’s comment. spot on.

  • Ryan

    what’s so hard about being on time to a MAJOR ? No one is bigger than the contest. Him being late messes up the schedule for everyone else. Love the guy, he’s a legend, but rules are rules. No one to blame but himself on this one.

  • NarNar

    Check Steve Sherman’s photo gallery the one of Sunny wow Randy must have shat himself when Sunny walked up to check in.

  • DR

    Randy was perfect, he made the right decision! If a surfer is late, he wont be able to surf the heat. Thats the way it is, rules are rules, and they werent created to avoid them! So there is no excuses for Sunny. He show up late, he wont surf his heat. All the competitiors even the alternate surfers were in there, he was the only one late. Next time he should get up earlier. Sunny a non-professional surfer!

  • val

    rules are rules. everyone else was on time for their heat. guys like Torrey deserved to surf because he was there.
    I love sunny and would have enjoyed to see him surf but rules are there so that it IS fair.
    too bad.

  • Pete Simpson

    I want to hear what Sunny has to say about the whole thing. No matter what, Sunny still rips and I feel he will be out for blood next year. Watch out!

  • over asp events

    they need to follow the rulebook! so chris davidson and chris ward can paddle out late to previous contest heats but since billabong had a 2 min chance to put in Torey (sponsored by Billabong) they did.. rumor has it Billabong lied to the ASP. Also Even never gave up the alternate spot Randy took it from him. LAME!

  • rules

    in the 2009 ASP Rulebook it states that their not allowed to give his spot out unless the ASP was notified by the athlete. So in lamest terms Torey should have never paddled out it was sunnys heat and Billabong knew this and lied to the ASP so their sponsored rider could compete

  • Actual Cats

    Yes that’s true, Evan Valiere didn’t exactly “give away” his spot. Oops did I say that?

  • Chas

    Look the guy blew it! What you don’t know that there is going to be traffic on the North Shore come on Sunny this is not your first barbecue. You blew it!


    First Barbecue Sunny? Don’t think so! Torey owes you for be such an TKnox and blowing it. Classic Torey wins this event?

  • m

    well, he worked all the way to get there (which obviously deserves respect) – but at the end, he didnt show up: too bad, get it right next time. he cant expect to have his own little exception of the general rules: thats almost arrogant.

    and based on jesses comment, we should be happy that he didnt kick someones ass for over 6 months – wow, quite impressive!

    try an alarm next year!

  • Freebird

    If I am late for work, busted. If my guys show up late, your getting sent home.
    If I had an opprotunity to surf Pipe with “only” three other guys I’d be camped out the nite before, let alone have the chance to be paid for it. No heartache here.

  • http://www.myspace.com/ripcurlrev Dave Floyd

    Sunny you are a man after my own heart…you rock! Late or not…..Agape, pastor Dave

  • Gary

    Those of you who agree with Randy need to know the history with both Sunny and Randy. Also, you need to very carefully read the ASP 2009 Rule book where it contradicts itself about being late for heats. Sunny was given an automatic draw into the Pipe contest this year, and had not the contest been running “ahead of time in a faster than normal pace,” this wouldn’t have happened. He, Sunny, was there only 5 minutes after the heat started. So it was only a JUDGEMENT” call by Randy Rarick, who should be an impartial director for everybody concerned. But he wasn’t with Sunny because of their long standing feud, and history of a similar incident.

    Sunny should have been given a chance to protest the decision to the other ASP members on the beach, and then, and only then, and not with only Rarick’s decision should the decision have been made to either let Sunny surf, or not.

  • smithmamax3


  • chris

    i fully feel bad for Sunny,but rules are rules and thats just the way it is…So unfortunate..i love watching Sunny Garcia surf..he is an amazing competitor to watch..so explosive and dynamic !!
    He was sadly thrown out cause of traffic !!..he should have left earlier ..like if i was competing i would be there at the crack of dawn…it’s his own fault,but i still feel bad for the bloke…and as for the rule book..well i aint read the rule book..if there was any chance of him being able to surf in any possible way,i am sure Sunny would have tried all avenues…wouldnt you.???..i know i would..so the rules must be right !!

  • Mr Hand

    Wow, the guy has ten days of work a year and can’t show up a half hour early; pathetic for a grown man, inexcusable for a professional…how was Adriano cluelessly sauntering up the beach, only to learn he was late, too. What other professional sport does this happen in? They’ll be taken seriously when they take themselves seriously.

  • Bretto

    In response to Gary:
    Karma is a beautiful thing… Sunny is a narcissist who’s bridge-burning and wrong-doing is catching up with him. You can’t expect to always catch breaks in life when you’ve played your cards the way Sunny has. Randy this time, someone else the next. The players are irrelevant. My question is: how much longer do we have to endure this guy’s bad attitude and antics and why does our society love the ‘Sunny’s’ of the world so much?

  • Eric

    Sunny is a legend, but this isn’t the first time the traffic caused him to be late for a heat. Rules are rules, he has been surfing competitively for a long time now and should know better.

  • Jose

    If rules are so strict how come Adriano de Souza got there late for his heat and was allowed to surf????
    Now before puffin’ and talking trash about Sunny, read the ASP rules ( I would love to see all those trash comments said to his face)
    True he was late, true he might have screwed up.. again, so how come Adriano de Souza, late, surfed?
    Is that been impartial and fair?
    Sunny’s faults or glory is his own beef.. No one here did time for him.. Have you ever screwed up (anyone here) ?? Who’s right it it to judge.. Cast the first stone…

  • mauigurl

    So lame!!! Why couldnt he paddled out late? How Late was he? so what if he was late!!! let him fucking surf!!!
    he probably would of gotten the biggest wave and won the hit anywayz… he only needed a couple waves!!
    those Rules are stupid… that’s what happens when Haoles run surf contest!!!!

  • J

    I don’t care what anybody says. In what professional sport can you show up late? Football, baseball, car racing, or anything? Sunny knew what traffic there was. “Everybody” knew. He should have been there an hour early instead of trying to cut it close. I wanted Sunny to surf more than anybody but “bro, you got to be on time.” This is a professional event on a world stage you show up “way” early bro. It sucks but no excuses. No exceptions. No deviations. It’s already over and ther is nobody to blame but yourself.

  • Jorge

    Sunny is over, Garcia isnt Hawaiian last name, Garcia is hispanic so NO HAWAIIAN NO ALOHA,to bad he is a bad person, bad pro and a violent and coward peace of s…..

  • oliver

    What a dumb ass. A professional means to act like one. Not make excuses and act like a thug….Vince Lombardi 10 min early to where ever you go. Maybe next time

  • Virgo


    “Association of Surfing Professionals”

    In other words act like a professional.

    Be there in advance Period.

    Its your Job…If you don’t want to do it well…there is a line of people that well.

  • Leo

    to Jorge… your uneducated assumption makes you look like a fool! For one Garcia isnt just a hispanic name. Its a Spanish name. Sunny is Hawaiian, Filipino and when the Spaniards invaded the Philippines and “set up shop” they brought the country alot of the Spanish Culture including their NAMES! Looks like you need to go back to school and take history 101. Sunny is very much Hawaiian and a very proud one at that! Geez I cant stand peoples ignorance

  • JJ

    The rules allow his heat to run in its entirety without being replaced. Randy screwed him. He could have paddled out late. Randy needs to follow the rulebook! He didn’t replace Andriano and Kelly both paddled out late and they weren’t replaced??? hmmmmm

  • one haole

    Randy ruined the excitement of his own event with that call. Sunny is on fire. Rarrick is like a cop or politician abusing his powers. I’m over Mick, Joel, same old guys, Kelly even, (a favorite of mine) winning… sunny was the only darkhouse who could’ve pulled it off. His under the lip hacks @ Pipe are unbelievable, no one but pancho does that…. so bummed.. Sunny will get his.. u haters stay home too. Aloha to Sunny, you shine bruddah….

  • TDiddy

    no excuse to be late to you’re heat. I dont feel sorry for sunny one bit.

  • Warren

    F***ing Sunny I was pulling for him, you killin me Brah! Looked so good at Sunset, could have made it far at Pipe till the surf went SoCal!!!

  • mattincabo

    Why are we even talking about this? Who cares? Taj won and he surfs circles around Sunny. Can you say retire?

  • http://www.surfwriter.net Surfwriter

    While I feel sorry for Sunny’s predicament and would have liked to see how he’d perform, it’s a professional contest run for and by experienced pros. He should have made sure he was there on time for his heat – like all the other contestants – and accepted the consequences of his late arrival like a man. Hopefully, he’ll have another opportunity to shine and will organize himself better the next time.

  • http://surfographie.com stephen

    Rules are rules, sucks for sunny , I would love seen him won the triple crown. May be next year.

  • http://clutchcargo67@hotmail hoale..guy

    Hey running late how about a phone call?or better yet spend the nite on the north shore…plenty of friends houses to crash at…I dont know i wasnt there but i worked for Randy for years and the man is running a contest get off his back already…sorry rules are rules…ALOHA

  • shaun

    HE SHOWED UP LATE!!! you have one f’ing job! to surf heats! what an idiot. I know 10,000 people that would like to be in Sunny’s position. you have one job, show up for your 40 minute heat, and if you can’t do that, then you shouldn’t surf. I’m just saying, that if that were me…i’d be sitting there 1.5 hours before looking at the surf, checking out the conditions etc. his excuse was “traffic” and “i went to Makua Rothman’s pad to get a leash”. WHAT A BONER of an excuse! THis is the WCT. you make sure your shit is ready the night before, and you need to be at least 1 hour early for your heat. I feel like a parents saying this to a grown ass man. Get your shit together. Maybe that’s why you went to jail for tax evasion. Sloppy in life…Sloppy in surf. that being said…he surfs really well..only in hawaii.

  • shaun

    Jamie G’s comment…god i love sarcasm…brilliant

  • Capt. Obvious

    All other aspects of the situation aside-in todays world of advanced technology (I was watching it unfold live via internet from thousands of miles away) did anyone bother to try and use a cellphone to call someone??? There had to be hundreds of people on the beach and in the area that could have relayed a message to either Sunny or Randy and got the whole thing resolved prior to bumping him from his heat. When I’m late for work or an event, I call someone and let them know (ie being ‘professional’) and things usually work out just fine. A little communication goes a long way…

  • JoJo

    Surfing is a professional sport. You can’t show up late for a tee time, nascar race, track event and expect someone to make exceptions for you. Sunny’s problem is in the past he has always had exceptions made for him. Except death and taxes.

  • http://none Steve Newman

    Got to go with “Rules” on this one. Guys are late to heats all the time. You don’t give away their spot without their consent. But still, why wasn’t Sunny staying on the N. Shore? He could have ridden a bike, for God’s sake! Maybe it’s because guys on the N. Shore act like idiots so much and Sunny’s tired of opening all those cans of Ackrite!

  • http://www.idigthisearth.com kai von max

    Garcia is a legend for his surfing as well as being a bully…being a “bully” gets old real fast to majority of others… if Garcia “had it all together” i feel he’d be back on top of the world but he cannot focus and be self disciplined enough to be that way…too bad as i like the dude and wish him well…
    If he stopped being so angry at life – he be on top…

  • calypso

    what has surfing become??? i can’t believe this dialogue… comments by presumed surfers… “rules are rules”– since when! surfing has always been about bending the so-called rules to break barriers– in the water & and as a culture/community. i’ve cancelled my subscriptions to the surf mags, ain’t watching no contests either, will only support local, conscious surf shops– and only for essentials (wax!). no more gross capitalist/racist bullshit dictating who surfs= (who wins!). when a hawaiian legend is banned from surfing in hawaiian waters– shouldn’t we all be asking– what has the world of surfing become?

  • Gunnar

    Look Randy is a North Shore guy running the TC forever and was just doing what he would have done for anyone even though he probably didn’t want to.

    I was SO PISSED he was late, i was pulling for Sunny who was on fire all season.

    Bottom line is if you don’t show up early when you have heats to surf to check conditions and get a quick surf in to figure out the waves your blowing it.

    If you want to win you must be ready for battle period.


    Is Jorge a Hawaiian name idiot?


    Stupid is as Stupid does…


    Contests are stupid.

  • wade

    Sunny got robbed! Chris Ward showed up 15 MINUTES LATE! to his 2nd round heat in France. But he still got to go out and surf. If the rules are what all you Sunny haters say they are then how come nobody replaced Wardo? Rules are rules and Randy Rarick is the one who didn’t follow them.

  • Marcus

    FAAARRRKKK. Is this true? Adriano was also late during pipe and was allowed to surf? Randy, not cool. Unprofessional is having double standards, so if you’re late your’re out should APPLY to all situations… Heavy one Sunny, at least you’re a living legend.

  • Sid&Nancy

    For the record, Sunny G DID take it like a “man”. He was understandably upset about the situation and was watching his chance slip away in real time as Rarick jawed on the beach. Thats slow torture. But Sunny realized his mistake, blamed only himself and moved on and that’s the mark of maturity. I don’t know why so many are taking “pleasure” in this man’s mistake and misfortune.

  • http://terroirsf.com Da Mo’O

    It does sound a bit like a double standard with Adriano getting to surf and Sunny getting the ax but who shows up late for a Pipe Masters heat anyway it’s beyond me.if you’re gonna surf pro you’ve got to be pro about it and be on time.If I hear it’s good at OB and I don’t run to get it,well you missed out bra,your bad…


    Tragedy! Heartbreak! Talk about over kill. Talk about sucking up. Here’s a writer shoring up a hassle free winter on the North Shore this year. The headline should have read: No News Today.

  • Curtis Wood

    Tragedy? Hasn’t this happened before with Sunny. You would think he had learned his lesson the first time.
    He is really not the best representitive for Hawai’i anyway, yea he charges but he is just too aggro, or at least he was, maybe he has mellowed out in the last few years. One would hope anyway. Beter luck next time, and hopefully you won’t be late. Don’t forget about the traffic.

  • Fat Bennie

    Garcia is a racist, aggro, idiot. Glad he finally got a taste of his own karma. He couldn’t kick somebody’s ass to fix this screw up…surprised he didn’t blame all us haoles for his over sleeping.
    What goes around comes around…