As reported on www.theaustralian.com.au
THE only thing less surprising than Sunny Garcia’s Hawaiian style of conflict resolution at Burleigh Point on the weekend is the lacklustre response of the organisation empowered to discipline him.
As the video of a fight involving Garcia and fellow pro surfer Jeremy Flores, of Reunion Island, which is attracting tens of thousands of views on Youtube, undermines the positive image the sport has managed to acquire, the Association of Surfing Professionals is taking its time to decide about whatever discipline it might impose.
The ASP’s rules and discipline committee met yesterday and deferred any judgment on Garcia and Flores until after the police had finished an investigation into the incident.
The police investigation was solely on Garcia, who allegedly attacked a Brazilian who recorded the incident on video. The Brazilian reported the attack to the police, but yesterday afternoon dropped the complaint.
With the police investigation terminated, the ASP is now able, according to its own rules, to discipline Garcia and Flores.
But CEO Brodie Carr was not returning calls from The Australian today to explain what that discipline might be. Neither did former ASP president and current Surfing Australia board member Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, the 1978 world champion and one of the sport’s most respected figures, return calls from The Australian.
Bartholomew himself has firsthand experience of the Hawaiian thuggery that has been an occasionally recurring feature of the sport. In 1976, he lost a few teeth when he was beaten up at Sunset Beach, having previously unwittingly offended the locals in a surf magazine. Death threats ensued, and he and fellow Australian Ian “Kanga” Cairns needed to go into hiding for a couple of weeks.