…A look at some of the most infamous coming togethers in surfing history. Now here at Surf Europe we don’t condone violence, our editor for example is a well-known mint tea-drinking, single fin-riding pacifist, but surfing and violence have a long and twisted history and for once we decided not to walk away. For those with a weak stomach, avert your eyes.
Surfer vs Bodyboarder
In a mismatch made famous by this youtube clip, a young surfer is on the receiving end of a shitstorm of blows from a Pipe heavyweight Kainoa. It’s pretty vicious, as the dude has to choose between a death by drowning or death by hammerblows to the face. Somehow he survives and will clearly never forget what must have been his last surf at Pipe.
Mick Campbell vs Andy Irons, Hossegor, 2000
After losing to Mick Campbell in a heat, Andy Irons proceeded to verbally abuse Campbell whilst the two showered in the competitors’ area. Campbell’s response was direct and on target. He landed a fierce right hook on Andy’s nose, and Andy’s response, where he tried to bash Campbo over the head with his board, only added to his humiliation. The scene was caught on video and went viral. Campbell scored the biggest ASP fine, but definitely won the fight.
Eddie Rothman and Rabbit Bartholomew, 1977
Rabbit announced himself as a Hawaii heavyweight in an article in 1977 called Bustin’ Down The Door, where he talked up his confidence and style on the North Shore. The Hawaiians, not liking the abrasive and aggressive Aussie approach, decided to bring him back to size. Being left in the back of Eddie Rothmans truck with six of his vicious dogs was the start, and multiple beatings the end. Rabbit didn’t return to Hawaii for three years and much later said the violence had, “cut me in half as a man.”
Jonny Boy Gomes and Koby Abberton
We don’t have all the bandwidth to outline all the beatings that Jonny Boy Gomes handed out in his years dominating the North Shore. But it was Australian Bra Boy Koby Abberton who refused to back down with rumours that the two had it out mano-o-mano inside a North Shore public toilet. Only the both of them know who won the battle.
Dustin Barca vs Adriano DeSouza
The two naturalfooters reportedly came to blows during the 2009 Billabong Pro in Tahiti. It was said Barca, now a successful MMA fighter, took offense to the Brazilians freesurfing paddling style, and had it out onshore. After a few lay days, the two faced each other in the next round. Barca may have won the fight, but it DeSouza who won the heat.
Sunny Garcia vs a Burleigh local
Responding to seeing his 16-year-old son involved in a fight at Burleigh Heads during a WQS event, Sunny Garcia weighed with a few well-timed and accurate punches to the head, interspersed with some 30-second dunkings. Jeremy Flores who was first on the scene was disqualified from the event, Garcia was charged and the Burleigh local is never going to Hawaii again.
Mind you Sunny had previous. In the 2007 Pipe Masters he also went for Neco Padaratz, after interference in the heat, knocking out his fins and throwing punches to the Brazilian’s head. After the heat, Garcia threw his board away and stalked his petrified rival, marching after him until the fleeing Padaratz jumped a fence and hid in the judge’s tower.
Nat Young (snr) vs Michael Hutchison
A long-running feud with local surfer Michael Hutchinson led to a brutal bashing after Young had backhanded Hutchinson’s 19-year-old son whilst surfing their homebreak of Angourie. Young’s swollen and black bruised face made all the front pages of Australia’s main papers. Young recovered, the two made peace and Nat Young went on to write a book called Surf Rage about what he learned from the incident. We don’t think Sunny read it.