Don’t Call It A Comeback; At least Not Yet Anyway

Imagine starting out on the grueling, grom-fused WQS tour at the age of 38. Imagine being a former world champ, a six-time Triple Crown winner and a legitimate surfing legend, then getting seeded in Round of 196, behind some {{{200}}} young contenders -- many who happen to seriously rip. This is the difficult and humbling situation Hawaiian powerhouse Sunny Garcia finds himself at the start of 2008. Having overcome a stint in prison and a failed bid for a Dream Tour wildcard, the 2000 World Champion has set out to qualify for the 2009 World Tour the old-fashion way.

"F–k 'em," said Garcia, during a recent visit to the SURFING offices, "if they won't grant me wildcard, then I'll just have to qualify on my own."

Sunny trained his ass off leading up to the season and was surfing (by many accounts) in the top form of his life, but after disappointing early round losses in his first two events, a few second thoughts might be expected. But now, finding some bigger surf in Western Australia's Margaret River, Garcia seems to be hitting a rhythm. Currently seeded into the fifth round at the Margaret River Drug Aware Pro, with more surf forecast for the 6-8 foot range, he's already posted some of the highest scores of the heat event.

"At the start of this year," says Sunny, "I didn't realize how tough it would be. The level of surfing from all the younger kids is awesome. It's definitely going to be harder that I anticipated."

Anyone who's ever seen Garcia in bigger surf will testify to the extreme nature of his power surfing -- a single hack immediately puts every previous turn into perspective. But the WQS Tour can be a long, wave-starved grind. What's going to make or break his year is most likely going to be his ability to make heats in small waves -- that, or a couple of well-timed swells. Currently ranked 175 in the world, if Garcia can just make it to Hawaii with a few solid results, he might just have a shot at making it back on to the dream tour. Because, with six Triple Crowns to his name, every one knows Sunny dominates in Hawaii.

"It's a lot different now than I remember," says Sunny of being on the WQS. "There aren’t as many big personalities and characters like there used to be. But, the kids today have so much energy. It’s really fun for me to embrace that in my surfing. But my main goal is to re-qualify."

For now, you can watch his continuing WQS campaign LIVE from Margaret River at -- or follow his results on

As of right now, Sunny has charged into Round 5 at the 6-Star event in Margaret River, West Australia