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Sunny Garcia (born Vincent Sennen Garcia on January 14, 1970 in Mā'ili, on the Westside of Oahu, Hawaii) is a professional surfer. He grew up in Wai'anae and, after leaving school, debuted on the 1986 Gotcha Pro at Sandy Beach, Oahu, beating the 1984 champ Tom Carroll.[1]

Sunny Garcia
Sunny Garcia Xcel Pro 2007 Sunset Beach.jpg
Personal information
BornVincent Sennen Garcia
(1970-01-14) January 14, 1970 (age 49)
Mā'ili, Oahu, Hawaii
ResidenceSunset Beach (Oahu), Oahu, Hawaii
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight200 lb (91 kg) (as of 2004)
Surfing career
Years active1986–present
Best yearRanked 1st on the ASP World Tour, 2000
Career earnings$1,118,655 (as of 2009)
SponsorsVersasurf Traction, FCS fins
Major achievementsASP World Championship Tour
World Qualifying Series (WQS)
Victories: 22
Surfing specifications
StanceRegular (natural) foot
Shaper(s)Spider Murphy
Favorite wavesPipe and Mākaha

His top surfing achievement was becoming the ASP WCT World Champion in 2000 but Garcia also holds the record for most WQS event wins, 22,[2] and holds six Triple Crown of Surfing titles. In addition, he was the second professional surfer to win over $1 million in prize money.[2][3] He initially retired in 2005 but is now competing again, although in 2008, his hopes for ASP World Tour qualification were dashed with early elimination in the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing. On April 30, 2019, Garcia was hospitalized in the intensive care unit of a Portland hospital.[4]




Following his parents' divorce, Garcia lived with his mother near Mā'ili point, close to the beach.[5] He was a dominant force in the Hawaiian Surfing Association and soon made the grade, as a 17-year-old, on the 1986 WCT, beating former champion Tom Carroll and threatening to cause an upset to the top 16. Despite this early promise he just failed to break into this elite group on his debut season but the following year he finished in 16th position.[2]

Garcia showed great consistency throughout the 1990s, finishing in the top ten every year and coming third four times during that period. However, in 1995 it seemed that he might have reached the climax of his career. Failing to win the Pipeline Masters to claim the title Sunny ended up finishing third behind Kelly Slater and Rob Machado. With a host of talented young blood set to qualify for the 1996 Dream Tour and declining fitness levels, it seemed Garcia's era was over.

Then, four years later, things changed. Inspired by veteran Mark Occhilupo's shock 1999 WCT title, Garcia shed weight and moved to Kauai. There he surfed with the progressive Irons brothers, Andy and Bruce, expanding his surfing repertoire.

In 2000, 14 years after his debut, Garcia achieved the ultimate surfing accolade, emphatically dominating the ASP WCT from the start of the campaign, winning the first two events in Australia and clinching the title in Brazil, the penultimate event. On the way he also picked up a fifth Triple Crown in his native Hawaii.

After initially retiring from the professional surfing circuit in 2005, Garcia is now competing on the WQS again. In 2008, he started slowly but moved into the top ten after a fifth-place finish in Scotland. Garcia was determined to win the series, and many people tipped him to do so but in the end early elimination in the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing, in his own back yard, meant he was denied a place on the 2009 Dream Tour.[3]

In 2009 he had surgery on his knee and finished the year strongly, following a quarter final berth in the Hawaiian pro with a runner-up spot to Triple Crown rival Joel Parkinson in the O'Neill World Cup. However his attempt to clinch a seventh Triple Crown was denied when he lost his Pipemasters place after arriving late for his heat. Some consolation would have come from his standout performance at the 'Quiksilver in memory of Eddie Aikau' big wave contest ("The Eddie"), in which he finished third.

As of June 2010, he was placed 67th in the new ASP World Rankings, his best result being a quarter-final finish on the 'Sponsor me now Sunset Open' in January.

Garcia has been a controversial figure, depicted as both volatile and easygoing by those who have met him. He has served prison time for tax evasion[6] and been arrested for fighting.[7] According to ESPN TV, his nickname Sunny was given to him by his mother, due to his cheerful disposition as an infant. He is known as a tough competitor but also someone who owes success to the anger he feels when surfing, which he often takes out physically on his competitors.[8] He has been married three times, most recently to Colleen McCullough in 2008, and has three teenage children from his first marriage.[9][10]

On April 30, 2019, the World Surfer's League announced that Garcia was in critical condition at a Portland hospital.[4]


Titles/records heldEdit

  • 2000 ASP WCT World Champion
  • 2004 Triple Crown of Surfing
  • 2000 Triple Crown of Surfing
  • 1999 Triple Crown of Surfing
  • 1994 Triple Crown of Surfing
  • 1993 Triple Crown of Surfing
  • 1992 Triple Crown of Surfing
  • 1987/1988 ASP's Men's Most Improved award
  • 1990 ASP's Men's Most Improved award
  • Most victories in WQS competition (22)
  • Most Triple Crown of Surfing titles (6)

History of winsEdit





  • Katin Team Challenge (Huntington Beach, California)


  • Rip Curl Pro (Bells Beach, Australia)
  • Town and Country (Ala Moana - Oahu, Hawaii)


  • Rip Curl Pro (Bells Beach, Australia)
  • Quiksilver Surfmasters (Grande Plage - Biarritz, France)
  • Rusty Pro (Honolua Bay - Maui, Hawaii)
  • Op Pro (Huntington Beach, California)
  • T&C/Bud Surf Tour Championships (Mākaha - Oahu, Hawaii)





  • Pukas Pro (Zarauz, Basque Country, Spain)
  • Seland Pro (Sopelana, Basque Country, Spain)


In 2010, Sunny was inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame at Huntington Beach.[11][12][13]

Volunteer WorkEdit

Garcia has often volunteered for the charity Surfers Healing, a foundation for autism, which has included beach clean-up days held in Hawaii and along California's coast.[14]

In 2011, Garcia is the host of "Surfers for Cystic Fibrosis" golf tournament fundraiser that has been organized by the charitable organization The Mauli Ola Foundation. Proceeds will fund surf experience days Cystic Fibrosis sufferers.[15]

In the newsEdit

In October 2006, Garcia was sentenced to federal prison for tax fraud after failing to pay taxes on unreported contest winnings from 1996 to 2001. Garcia failed to report over USD471,000 in prize money on his tax returns for those years,[16] resulting in a three-month sentence, beginning January 12, 2007, plus a further 7 months of house arrest [17] and 80 hours community service with Goodwill.[3] "I spent my money foolishly and didn't handle my affairs," he said outside the San Diego federal courtroom where he was sentenced.[18][19][20]

On 21 February 2011, the ASP Rules and Disciplinary Committee convened to assess an alleged brawl involving Garcia, Jeremy Flores and a local surfer, who allegedly dropped-in on Garcia's teenage son while surfing on 19 February 2011 on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. In accordance with the ASP Rulebook, immediately following the incident, then-active surfer Jeremy Flores was suspended from the 4-star Breaka Burleigh Pro event at Burleigh Heads and then-eliminated surfer Garcia was suspended from the 4-star Burton Toyota Pro in Newcastle, New South Wales.[21][22][23][24] An amateur cameraman who filmed the brawl alleged he was attacked by Sunny Garcia soon after, when he approached him on land. The cameraman lodged an official assault complaint with Gold Coast Police but withdrew it on the afternoon of 21 February 2011.[25] Witnesses allege Garcia went after the amateur cameraman, knocking him to the ground and inflicting deep grazes to his back and arms with one of the man's hands receiving injuries. The amateur cameraman told police he wanted to drop his complaint after receiving threats from locals and Garcia's overseas supporters warning of retribution and sought to lay low in his native Brazil until the surf rage furore died down. The amateur cameraman was quoted as saying, "I'm too scared to press charges...Garcia could go to jail and then people would want to get me. At the moment I just don't feel safe...I've had threats on the internet I don't know how I'd protect myself and my family if something happened".[26] Garcia sought legal advice from high-profile Gold Coast lawyer Chris Nyst.[27] On 3 May 2011, Queensland Police Service confirmed an arrest warrant has been issued for a 41-year-old man on a charge of common assault, the reporting newspaper linked the warrant to Garcia.[28] On 4 May 2011, Garcia's lawyer, Chris Nyst, confirmed the arrest warrant for Garcia, that it involves the young surfer who was allegedly assaulted, advised continued co-operation from Garcia with police and is confident his client would be exonerated.[29]

Other informationEdit

Garcia is of Filipino and Hawaiian from his father's side and Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Irish and Native American heritage from his mother's side.[30] In 2002, he starred in 'North Shore: Boarding House', a reality TV show featuring co-habiting surfers living together. However, he generally chooses to steer clear of the North Shore hype, preferring to spend his time surfing alone or riding motocross. He has a clothing deal with Affliction Clothing where the tattoos he has on his body have been replicated on his own custom shirt.[citation needed] Sunny also features in the 'Sunny Garcia Surfing' computer game.


  1. ^ Surfline
  2. ^ a b c ASP Stats Guide Archived 2009-03-15 at
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ a b Schad, Tom (April 30, 2019). "Longtime pro surfer Sunny Garcia hospitalized". USA Today.
  5. ^ Surfing (The Mag)
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ EXPN TV
  9. ^ LA Times
  10. ^ Stab
  11. ^ Surfing Walk Of Fame Has New Member Sunny Garcia, Content Update Service News Archived 2011-08-13 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 27 February 2011)
  12. ^ Surf Pioneer Sunney Garcia, Surfing Walk of Fame Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 27 February 2011)
  13. ^ Sunny Garcia Inducted Into The Surfing Walk of Fame, Surf Devil (accessed 27 February 2011)
  14. ^ Sunny Garcia, The Surge[permanent dead link] (accessed 27 February 2011)
  15. ^ Surfers for Cystic Fibrosis, Transworld Surf, 17 February 2011 Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 24 May 2011)
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Dark Days Are Gone, Stab Magazine (accessed 27 February 2011)
  20. ^
  21. ^ ASP Rules & Disciplinary Committee Holds Initial Meeting Regarding Flores/Garcia Incident, ASP International, 21 February 2011 Archived 18 July 2012 at (accessed 26 February 2011)
  22. ^ ESPN Sports
  23. ^ Gold Coast.
  24. ^ Police confirm Sunny Garcia surf brawl on Gold Coast, Perth Now, 21 February 2011 Archived 24 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 21 February 2011)
  25. ^ Sunny Garcia Assault Complaint Dropped, NineMSN News, 21 February 2011 Archived 24 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 21 February 2011)
  26. ^ Cameraman who filmed Gold Coast surf brawl involving Sunny Garcia fears for life, Courier Mail, 22 February 2011 (accessed 21 February 2011)
  27. ^ Garcia seeks legal advice on alleged brawl, Gold Coast, News Ltd, 21st February 2011 (accessed 4 May 2011)
  28. ^ Warrant for surf star Sunny Garcia's arrest after surf rage incident on Gold Coast, Courier Mail, 3 May 2011 (accessed 4 May 2011)
  29. ^ Surf champ Garcia to defend assault claims, Brisbane Times, 4 May 2011 (accessed 4 May 2011)
  30. ^ "The Champs Interview: Sunny Garcia". Surfing Magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
Preceded by
Mark Occhilupo
Association of Surfing Professionals World Champion (men's)
Succeeded by
C. J. Hobgood