20th Dec, 2020

Heaviest Moments of All Time - 7: Sunny Garcia's TKO

It was surfing's closest version to a prize fight. Sunny Garcia had all but sealed his first of six Triple Crown titles when he tore an arm muscle late in the first heat of the final day and headed straight to Kahuku Hospital for a cortisone shot.

Fast-forward to the final where, with Garcia in the lead, he took off too deep, too late and suffered another horrific wipeout that had him seeing stars. When he asked the water patrol what heat he was in, he was immediately ushered back to the emergency room. Meanwhile, with time winding down, the remaining finalists Kelly Slater, Barton Lynch and Liam McNamara faced the ultimate moral dilemma: let Sunny win or battle it out in his absence. Slater, who'd already sealed his first World Title that year, suggested they let Sunny have the win. Lynch agreed, but McNamara insisted he was leading the heat and told Kelly to "sit on the Aussie." With the official standings unclear, Kelly decided to surf on and found a last-second Backdoor wave that put him ahead of McNamara and Garcia, securing his first of seven Pipe Masters titles.

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