Sunny Garcia’s Suicide Attempt Rocks Surfing – Smart Media Magazine

Sunny Garcia’s Suicide Attempt Rocks Surfing

Vincent “Sunny” Garcia, a legend in the surf community and the 2000 ASP World Champion, has been hospitalized after an attempted suicide, the World Surf League confirmed Tuesday. He remains in the intensive care unit.

The news, which rocked the tight-knit world of surfing and sparked an outpouring of empathy on social media, was confirmed by the World Surf League over Twitter. The league declined to comment further.

The 49-year-old surfer is known as a relentless competitor with a fierce surfing style that led to six Triple Crown champion titles and a World Championship title in 2000.

Garcia grew up on the West Side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, whose famed North Shore, with its massive waves, is to surfing what Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby are to horse racing. He dropped out of high school at age 16 to begin surfing professionally. He rose through the ranks quickly, and was in the top echelon of professional surfers throughout the 1990s, finishing in the top 10 for 10 consecutive years. He became the second surfer in history to win more than $1 million dollars in prize money.

But Garcia has long been known for having a darker side. In 2014 he began discussing his own mental health struggles. He shared a post on Instagram with the caption “Depression is no joke … I’m not alone and I’m not sure what’s wrong with me because I have no reason to feel the way I do.”

That reaction came long after he had became known as a powerful surfer whose power in the water could be matched by his intensity on land. Opinionated and outspoken, he occasionally got into trouble for scuffling with a competitor or hurling rocks, sand and even a muffin at judges and surf officials. He served three months in prison for federal tax fraud in 2006 and in 2011 was suspended from a contest after being involved in a physical altercation.

Jeremy Flores, a professional surfer from France, shared a photo of the two, writing “Come on brother we need you here! It’s not your time yet.”

On Sunday, Garcia posted an Instagram photo of himself as a teen holding a shave ice. “If I told this kid the things he would go through and things he would achieve he would tell me I’m crazy … it’s been a crazy ride since this photo was taken,” he wrote.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to for a list of additional resources.

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