Garcia uses big board to advance at Triple Crown


POSTED: Friday, December 04, 2009

Sunset Beach was a war zone yesterday, with the biggest waves in Vans Triple Crown of Surfing history bombarding the O'Neill World Cup. According to executive director Randy Rarick, the massive 24- to 30-foot waves were the largest in the surf series' 27-year history.

“;This is probably the most challenging and biggest conditions we've ever put contestants out in,”; said Rarick of the mountains of water at Sunset Beach yesterday. “;This is about the biggest Sunset can hold, and any bigger it wouldn't be contestable, so we're taking advantage of the conditions on offer.”;

Rarick also added that there is a bigger northwest swell forecast for tomorrow and Sunday—the last two days of the O'Neill World Cup holding period. Most likely, it will close out the lineup of Sunset Beach and make conditions dangerous and incontestable. Furthermore, with the beach eroding from the giant surf, contest officials are also afraid the judge's scaffolding may be washed out.

Therefore, competitors in the round of 64 and 32 at the O'Neill World Cup manned up and pulled out their big-wave boards. Six-time Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Champion Sunny Garcia rode the longest board of the event.

“;I rode an 8-foot-4, and it's easier to sneak in and sneak out, and just in case you gotta get out of the way it's easier to paddle,”; said Garcia, who was Association of Surfing Professionals world champion in 2000.

Garcia was hoping for giant surf all year long, but realized that the waves yesterday were nearly too huge. He advanced into the quarterfinals that will most likely be held today. He'll be joined by fellow Hawaiian Mason Ho and will face off against Australians Kai Otton and Bede Durbidge. Like Garcia, Durbidge is a former Vans Triple Crown of Surfing champ, thus increasing the drama in an already stellar event.

“;They say be careful what you wish for, you know? I wanted big waves and we got big waves,”; he said. “;It's almost too big and you go out there and hope you get two waves.”;

The 39-year-old Waianae native put on a brilliant display of bravado and big-wave surfing yesterday, advancing out of both rounds into the quarterfinals. Garcia is in fighting weight and has been training like a mad man, giving him more confidence in the sketchy lineup.

“;Physically, I've been doing 4 hours of cardio before anyone gets up, so this is fun,”; he said. “;I'm not using that much energy and as long as you don't get caught inside you're pretty good.”;

Garcia managed to avoid the carnage yesterday, but his younger counterparts weren't so lucky. According to Garcia, he observed many of his youthful competitors fearing Sunset's mountains of water.

“;Some of the sets are kind of big and go into the channel,”; said Garcia. “;So wave selection is crucial today. I'm having fun watching some of the kids sit on the shoulder and they didn't want any part of it.”;