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Pro-Surfer Sunny Garcia On Road To Recovery After April Suicide Attempt And Coma

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Who Is Sunny Garcia? Pro-Surfer Recovering After April Suicide Attempt

Most of us grow up with dreams to achieve our goals, big or small. While a majority of the time those dreams fall to the wayside, there are lucky individuals who end up doing what they love. That’s what happened with Sunny Garcia.

Who is Sunny Garcia? The professional surfer from Hawaii, made history at just 17 years old. He dropped out of high school, made the grade in the Hawaiian Surfing Association, and beat champion Tom Carroll in the 1986 World Surf League. 

But he really gained praise after becoming the 2000 Association of Surfing Professionals World Surf League Champion. He also holds the record for most World Qualification Series event wins, and has six Triple Crown of Surfing titles. Though he retired in 2005, he eventually continued competing on the WQS once again. He was also inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

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Unfortunately, Garcia was hospitalized in April 2019 after a suicide attempt, and was in a coma. His daughter, Kaila, revealed that after regaining consciousness, he was doing physical, occupational and speech therapy, and was speaking again. In the past, Garcia has been open about his mental health struggles, encouraging others to discuss their feelings and emotions. 

In a December 2014 Instagram post, he wrote:

“Depression is no joke, waking up feeling like you’re ready to take on the world then a couple hours later feeling down on life and wondering what's wrong with you. Well, I know I'm not alone and I'm not sure what's wrong with me because I have no reason to feel the way I do, and it's been happening for about two years and would love to hear from any of you who suffer these feelings so I can figure out what I should do.”


A post shared by Sunny Garcia (@sunnygarcia) on Mar 20, 2019 at 11:47am PDT

In March 2019, he shared another post on Instagram:

“Doesn’t matter what kind of mental illness you suffer from, we all suffer in silence and deal with it best we can and most people that don’t suffer can’t understand the pain and frustration that we go through. I have an incredible life surrounded by people that love and care for me, and I get to travel to beautiful places to surf and meet different people from all over the world, but I can tell you when I get down that none of that matters. 

I just feel like nothing or anyone can help me at the particular time, so I just keep sharing my feelings, hoping that it helps any of you out there that suffers from anything, and encourage you to reach out and talk to others like yourself because this life can really be beautiful. If we all just talk and let it out so others see that it’s ok to share and we are not alone in this suffering... spent the morning curled in my dark closet feeling like I just didn’t want to be here anymore, but I know that this s***ty feeling will leave and my day will get better, and I hope you all know that your days will get better as well. You just need to find what gets you through those moments in life.”

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A message from his family on his GoFundMe page provided an update, saying:

“A long overdue update on Sunny. We are taking one day at a time and celebrating each little triumph. Sunny is a warrior and fighting everyday to get better and stronger. He has said a few words and is now in therapy daily — physical, speech and occupational. The family thanks you for your continued support for Sunny as he continues to heal. It’s going to be a marathon not a sprint but we work every day to make sure he is surrounded with love, laughter and ohana.”


A post shared by YEW! (@yewonline) on Sep 16, 2019 at 9:06pm PDT

In an interview with the Inertia, family friend Janae Twisselman gave more information on Garcia’s condition, adding that he’s now moving on his own: 

“The (family) is still in a zone where they don’t want to give out too much info because they’re still trying to figure everything out. From everything we’ve learned from past history (and trauma like this), it’s a long process. But he’s been working out on a stationary bike, assisted, and he’s definitely able to hear voices and track people and read people’s hands. He’s saying words, he’s not totally audible, but he’s gaining his motor functions, working on physical movements and brain functionality and auditory processes. It’s just a really long recovery road.”

While Garcia recovers, it’s important to raise awareness about suicide prevention. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.