Garcia issued arrest warrant

Hawaiian Sunny Garcia will return to Australia to deal with the legal issues. AP Photo/Sean DuFrene

The Queensland, Australia, police issued former world champion surfer Sunny Garcia a warrant for his arrest last week, following the February 19 physical altercation between Garcia, World Tour surfer Jeremy Flores and a local surfer named Adam Clarke on Australia's Gold Coast.

"I can confirm Queensland Police contacted me on Tuesday 3rd of May 2011 to advise a warrant has been issued for my client Sunny Garcia, in relation to an incident involving Mr. Adam Clarke," Chris Nyst, Garcia's attorney, said in a statement.

The fight occurred after Garcia's son was allegedly threatened in the water. "From day one he made it clear he became involved in an altercation to defend his 16-year-old son," Nysts's statement said. "As a father he considered himself entitled, and indeed morally obligated, to do that."

The incident was caught on camera and the cameraman claimed Garcia attacked him once he realized he was recording. Garcia and Flores were in Australia competing at the Burleigh Breaka Pro. The fight occurred in the free surf zone. Both Garcia and Flores were disqualified from the contest.

Nyst said Garcia spoke with police at the time of the fight and has made no attempt to evade the issue. No charges were filed at the time and Garcia returned to Hawaii.

Garcia is expected to return to Queensland to comply with the legal process. "Given Tuesday's development," said Nyst, "Garcia intends to return to Australia in due course, and when he does he has instructed me to reveal the full facts of the incident, and its lead-up, to the court. When that happens I'm confident he will be exonerated of the charge."

Last week, ESPN Surfing reported that Garcia, 41, was fined $10,000 and received a six-month suspension by the Association of Surfing Professionals. This will make Garcia eligible to surf in the Triple Crown of Surfing later this year. The ASP said the fine could possibly be reduced if Garcia takes anger management classes.