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Pipe Masters Thuggery Makes Surfing Mag. Top 16 list

Surfing Magazine issued their Top 16 stories of 2008 recently. It was a pretty eventful year and the world of surfing definitely had its ups and downs. From the “Surfing for Peace” rally in the middle-east, mind-blowing up and comers, and epic films to shark-attacks, fires, and the loss of fellow water-men at well-known breaks.

The story that once again drew my attention and ended up as no. 6 on Surfer Magazine’s list, was in my opinion nothing more than a gang of thugs attempting to intimidate and assault a world-class surfer in the middle of the most prestigious event of the year. In the first round of the Pipeline Masters, Sunny Garcia and Neco Padaratz battled intensely for a crucial wave in the heat and ended up getting tangled up. As they stood-up, Garcia clearly dives at Neco and takes him out at the peak of the wave. Garcia then proceeded to throw a fit and go after Neco in the water, doing so again once they were onto the beach.

At that point Neco runs to search for refuge from not just Garcia, but his Wolf-Pak buddies who were coming to threaten and go after Neco as well. He attempted to find any source of protection while the whole time throwing his hands in the air to let everyone know he wanted no part of the violence. Surfer described it as “the most exciting thing we’d seen on the North Shore all year”. And depending on your definition of ‘exciting’ I guess they could have a point. But, in my eyes, it was nothing more then a senseless, disgusting display of a gang of thugs having their way at Surfings greatest stage and premier event of the year.

Anyone who has spent much time surfing or following what goes on year after year on the North Shore knows that this is the way that things are run. Local-surfers band up to regulate what goes on and protect their breaks with intimidation and violence. Whether you like it or not, that is the way surfings epicenter has been ran for years and will continue to be regulated for years to come. What should never be tolerated though is having a well-liked and respected professional surfer come to an event put on by surfings governing body only end up being chased from the area of competition with nowhere to go for protection by a fellow competitor and his group of friends.

Having tension and drama at such a crucial event is nothing we haven’t seen before. Having a competitor fear for his own personal safety to the point he needs to be escorted home is. Hopefully the ASP and Pipeline Masters does everything they can to prevent such a sad scene from ever happening again. Garcia summarized it best with this quote,”I might have spent time in prison, but that doesn’t change who I am.”

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Posted by Cameron on Monday, January 14th, 2008 in Surfing.


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