There has been an interesting development out of the Burleigh Breaka Pro. It seems that 2010 ASP World Tour number nine and Billabong Pipeline Masters Champ, France's Jeremy Flores, of France, has been disqualified following an incident in the water at Burleigh Heads. According to an ASP official, Flores may not be allowed to surf the upcoming Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast ASP World Tour event. Former World Champ, 41-year-old Sunny Garcia will be likely be barred from the Burton Toyota Pro in Newcastle for his involvement.
Flores had surfed brilliantly thus far, downing the likes of Luke Egan and Jay "Bottle" Thompson. He was slated to surf his quarterfinal against Jayke Sharp, Noah Lane, and Taj Burrow. During a break in competition, Flores paddled out for a freesurf. He has been reportedly staying with Sunny Garcia and Garcia's 16-year old son, Stone. An altercation involving all three men and another surfer ensued in the water.
According to this report on Australia's News 9, Garcia's son got into an argument with a local. Flores was involved, but told reporters, "I didn't swing first. I didn't look for trouble. And I wasn't just going to turn around and run away."
The news report shows an eyewitness video of a man on the inside, said to be Garcia, with another surfer in a headlock, landing a flurry of punches to the head and holding him underwater.
The incident did not end there. According to an amateur cameraman, who preferred to remain nameless, Garcia attacked him on land after the incident in the water, kicking him to the ground and badly bruising him.
Dane Jordan, ASP's Australasia Tour Manager had this to say:
"Following a physical altercation today, Jeremy Flores has been disqualified from the event. The Association of Surfing Professionals does not condone any form of physical violence and we have strict rules in place for the conduct of any member both Jeremy and Sunny have also been referred to the ASP rules and disciplinary committee who will review the facts and make a decision if further action is required."
Flores has never fallen into trouble with the ASP in the past. "The ASP took me out of the event because they think we shouldn't do [sic] violence," said Flores, "And I agree with that."
Garcia lost in the Round of 32 in a heat that included Adrian "Ace" Buchan and Julian Wilson, has been fined by the ASP as recently as 2007 for Pipe Masters incident involving Neco Padaratz. It is reported he assumes he will not be allowed to surf his next event and is heading back to Hawaii.
ESPN will update this story as more information becomes available.
The Burleigh Breaka Pro has a half day of competition remaining, starting from the quarterfinals. Not to be overshadowed by the violence, young local widldcard, Thomas Woods has surfed excellent throughout and now faces heavyweights Bede Durbidge, Adam Melling, and Buchan. World Tour surfers Tiago Pires, Brett Simpson, Joel Parkinson, Julian Wilson and Taj Burrow (2010 Burleigh champ) are still alive.
Breaka Burleigh Pro Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 1, Jayke Sharpe (AUS) 2, Noah Lane (AUS) 3, *Jeremy Flores (FRA) NS
Heat 2: Tiago Pires (PRT) 1, Jay Thompson (AUS) 2, Mitch Crews (AUS) 3, Dean Morrison (AUS 4
Heat 3: Thomas Woods (AUS) 1, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 2, Adam Melling (AUS) 3, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 4
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 1, Julian Wilson (AUS) 2, Creed McTaggart (AUS) 3, Brett Simpson (USA) 4