Sunny Garcia scares me. But not for the reasons that you might think. He's got a reputation for being a bit of bruiser, yes, but it's the way that he's been training for the Triple Crown this year that has my knees shaking. And I'd venture to say I'm not alone here. Men pushing 40 don't ride their bike 30 miles a day, man-hack the living hell out of a lineup for an hour and a half, and then run five miles for dessert. Unless, of course, you're Sunny Garcia and you're hell-bent on some backyard redemption.
Looking as svelte as an Olympic swimmer with an inferno raging in his dark eyes, Garcia was the main attraction of day two of the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa. We all love a comeback story, and today, with 20-plus years of experience behind him, Garcia gave us one, neatly wrapped with a bow. In his early morning and late-afternoon heats, he made the meager conditions weep more than once, sending waves of nostalgia through our minds with every rail he buried. In Hawaii, judges dig that kind of thing. And Garcia would go on to win both of his heats, his trademarked testosterone turns doing the grunt work necessary to give him a win.
On the other end of the age demographic, Clay Marzo put himself back on the radar with what had to have been one of the most tweaked airs ever stomped in the Triple Crown. On a mushy outside lefthander—more or less the wave du jour—Marzo linked a few setup turns and threw down the move of the event. It was by no means a massive air, but its beauty lay in how technical and quick Marzo whipped the punt. Eights and nines all around. Backing up his score with a seven and securing his heat win, Marzo's afternoon victory would prove to be the highest-scoring heat of the day at 16 points.
With the indecisive conditions dominating the lineup at Haleiwa today, a competitor could stand in perfect form in one heat, surfing leagues above the competition, and look downright lost in another. Never an easy pill to swallow, when the surf is morphing at the drop of a hat, winning a heat could be anyone's game. Take young Rudy Palmboom for example. Touted as one of the next-best surfers coming out of the Dark Continent, Palmboom looked supreme in his opening heat this morning, dispatching the likes of Kai Barger and others with surgical precision.
"I had a really good heat this morning and it was pretty fun. I got here about 30 minutes before my heat and just kind of went for it and got a few good ones on the lefts. It's soft, but you can get it done," said Palmboom after his morning win.
Unfortunately, it would be his last heat of the event as the Zaffa would fall to shifting conditions and a stacked heat later in the day. That's life on the 'QS; the shit-talk is often warranted. With a steady surge of swell headed towards the islands, keep your eyes peeled to Surfermag.com as we continue to bring you all of the highs and lows of North Shore livin'.