Sunny wins Clash of the Legends
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 18 November, 2012 : - - Sunny Garcia won the 2012 Reef Clash of the Legends presented by Bud Light Lime on Saturday. The 42-year-old, six-time Triple Crown champ dominated the first heat in 6-to 8-foot rights on Friday, but Saturday saw a declining swell and 3-to 5-foot peaks, and the win for Garcia came down to his last ride.
"Man, that was a nail-biter," said Garcia after the Legends final. "I was stressing and I got lucky with the one 5-point ride. I paddled back out and Kaipo was too deep and Tommy, for whatever reason, didn't go and I got that second wave, a 5.9 to put me back in the lead at the end."
1996 Triple Crown Champion runner-up Kaipo Jaquias was on fire Saturday and narrowly lost by only 1.44 points. Mark Occhilupo finished thrid and destroyed all of the lefts in the final. Tom Curren found his groove on the final day, showcasing his signature smooth surfing ending up with only a fourth place finish.
"I'm just really enjoying competing because for me everything is icing on the cake now," said Garcia, "I'm way passed my prime and for me everyday is a blessing and I'm going to enjoy the rest of my life and not be wound up."
Garcia also surfed against Kelly Slater, 40, in the Round of 64 in the Reef Hawaiian Pro on Saturday. Slater won the heat and tried to put the pressure on Garcia from the get-go. "Oh, he's just as grumpy as ever and I love it," laughed Slater when asked about surfing a heat with Sunny. "He has to catch the first wave and then he paddles right back around you. You have to try to get some of the smaller ones and get a score and put a little pressure on Sunny."
The last time Slater won the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing was 1998, and this is the first time in 13 years that the Floridian is entered into all three events of the surf series. "It would be nice," said Slater when asked what another Triple Crown title would mean to him. "I never really put a lot of importance on the Triple Crown in my career, I really put the importance on Pipeline and probably put so much energy into it that it probably took me out of the Triple Crown a few times."
It appears that Slater isn't putting a lot of weight on taking the Triple Crown title, but that may be one of his mind games. Defending Triple Crown Champ John John Florence admitted to hearing a rumor a couple of days ago that Slater was coming after him, but it didn't seem to phase the 20-year-old North Shore native in the contest. Florence won his heat yesterday and scored the biggest air of the Reef Hawaiian Pro so far -- and is now in the lead for the Hawaiian Air Show Award.
"I paddled out and I saw a couple of really good sections and it was kind of in the back of my mind the whole time," said Florence, who recieved a 9.4 for the air. "I knew there wasn't much time left so I just went for it." While the pressure is on Florence to defend his Triple Crown title, the young, regularfoot appears content to be back in Hawaii right now. "Mostly I'm just glad to be home," said Florence.
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Author: Peter Wilson
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