“If they’re really hating on you, then you must be doing something right.”
Sunny Garcia. The name has a ring to it, doesn’t it? I always thought so. Some names are just better suited for fame than others. Sunny Garcia is one of those names.
Nevermind he was born Vincent Sennen Garcia. Scratch that. The world knows him as Sunny. The world knows him for his World Title. For his six Triple Crown victories. For his power, physicality, and intimidating behavior in his younger years. For his tattoo: “Death and taxes” wrapped around his chest. For his checkered history. Fair or not, his reputation precedes him.
But that was Sunny of years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I saw a wild electricity surge in his eyes when I asked him about disrespectful visitors to Hawaii. For a moment, I wished I never asked, but on the whole, to quote Sunny himself, “[He’s] like everybody else. For the most part, [he’s] pretty harmless.”
Just don’t mess with him.
Most recently Sunny has settled into the role of grandfather. The pace of life ebbs differently than it did as surfing’s consummate badass. Now, he orbits Hawaii as a charitable influence on the new generation of waterman on the North Shore.
We were lucky enough to spend an afternoon together on the North Shore last winter, and he candidly shared his thoughts and experiences with us – from the time he spent in prison to the meaning of aloha to the surf industry’s ill effect on the islands, he was honest. He admitted that his fear of sharks actually deterred him from surfing Sunset for a long time. The distance from the sand freaked him out. And in the short time we spent with Mr. Garcia, he impressed upon us an honest spirit that seems to be warming with age. Now, when he’s not running marathons and gouging iconic waves across the Seven Mile Miracle, he’s just trying to keep up with his grandkids.
Without further ado, meet Sunny Garcia. – Zach