Updated: February 23, 2011, 8:41 AM PST
Aside from top-level surfing, The Burleigh Breaka Pro showcased a violent incident involving former World Champion Sunny Garcia and 2010 Pipeline Masters Champion and current World No. 9 Jeremy Flores. According to reports, Garcia and Flores came to the aid of Garcia’s 16-year-old son after an incident with a local surfer escalated into a fight.
“I didn’t swing first,” said Flores. “I didn’t look for trouble, and I wasn’t just going to turn around and run away. The ASP took me out of the event because they think we shouldn’t do violence, and I agree with that.”
”They were punching him good – he was bent over and spitting blood,” a witness told GoldCost.com.au. ”It was just totally brutal.”
The ASP responded by disqualifying Flores from the contest and banning Garcia from the next 4-star WQS event which will take place in Newcastle, Australia on March 15-20. The ASP, however, has permitted Jeremy Flores to compete in the first stop of the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
Garcia has encountered problems with physical altercations before. In 2007, he chased ASP competitor Neco Padaratz out of the water at the Billabong Pipeline Masters. As a result, Garcia was fined and referred to the ASP’s Disciplinary committee.
“Following a physical altercation today, Jeremy Flores has been disqualified from the event,” said Dane Jordan, the ASP’s Australasia Tour Manager. “The Association of Surfing Professionals does not condone any form of physical violence and we have strict rules in place for the conduct of any member both Jeremy and Sunny have also been referred to the ASP rules and disciplinary committee who will review the facts and make a decision if further action is required.”
According to reports, neither Adam Clarke, the Burleigh local involved in the fight, nor the 37-year-old man who captured an amateur film of the altercation and was allegedly assaulted by Garcia, have chosen to pursue legal recourse.
“Garcia could go to jail and then people would want to get me,” the cameraman told CourierMail.com.au. 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.”