As the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach — the second stop of the Triple Crown and the final event on the 2017 Qualifying Series — kicked off today, we got to thinking: Who are the best Sunset surfers of all time? Sunset has been a professional surfing staple for as long as professional surfing has been a thing, and its huge playing field and horrifying west peaks served as the original “proving grounds” before all the attention, at least from the media, shifted to Pipeline.
To get his thoughts on the subject, we asked six-time Triple Crown winner Sunny Garcia, the most decorated surfer in the event’s history. Regarded as one of the most powerful surfers of all time, and one of the best to ever surf Sunset himself, nobody stands up for fundamental rail surfing and brute power the way Sunny does. Especially as it relates to surfing in Hawaii. Recently, Sunny said, “In Hawaii, bring your f—king power surfing game. If you want to prove something here, leave that air-game shit for those closeout beachbreaks.”
And sure, you can call him old school. But truth is, few know Sunset as well as Sunny does. Which is why his list of the Top 5 surfers of all time at Sunset, in no particular order, is as solid as anybody’s.
“Being from Western Australia and growing up surfing big waves around there was the perfect practice for surfing Sunset. Ian, being a pretty big man, was super-powerful out there. I really enjoy watching old footage of Ian at big Sunset.”
“To this day, Mike surfs Sunset just as good as anyone, and his wave knowledge out there is second to none.”
“This is the man I truly enjoy watching at Sunset, because he set the standards for power surfing at Sunset in the late 90’s until today.”
“Tom will always be one of my favorites at Sunset, for the pure backside attack and power turns he did out there in big waves for so many years.”
“Some of the turns I’ve seen Johnny do out there…to this day I haven’t seen anyone match them. He always surfed Sunset with so much power, and he always turned his board in the most critical parts of the wave.”