Hometown: Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia
Age: 28 (Dob 10 Apr 1981)
Sponsors: Billabong Wetsuits and Clothing, Von Zipper eyewear, Kustom footwear and JS Industries surfboards
In 2009 Mick Fanning won the ASP's World Championship Title, yet his bestfriend Joel Parkinson came in as runner up and in the process won the hearts and imagination of spectators around the globe. So who is this smiling surfer who graciously accepted defeat and chaired the newly victorious Fanning up the beach at the Pipeline Masters?
Joel “Parko” Parkinson grew up on the Gold Coast of Australia. He started surfing at a young age, and was joined by fellow Coolangatta surf freak kids Mick Fanning and Dean Morrison. At the tender age of 18 Parko made the surfing world take notice when he won the Billabong Pro at Jeffrey's Bay in 1999. He was the youngest unseeded wildcard in history to win an ASP world tour event. So it was of little surprise that he shortly joined the ranks of the tour in 2001.
In 2002, Parko sky rocketed up the tour's leaders board and completed the year in an incredible 2nd place. He had set the standard and he proceeded to surf brilliantly over the following years, notching up a 5th in '03, another 2nd in 04', and then almost all top 10 rankings over the following years. It has seemed that Parko has been ripe for a world title since he joined the tour. Yet, that crown keeps slipping from his grasp.
After finishing 4th in both 07' and 08'; 2009 seemed set to be the year Parko would finally win the ASP's world title. He won the Triple Crown of Surfing in Hawaii at the end of 2008, and opened the new season in 09' in style. He won the Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro and the Ripcurl Bells Beach Pro back to back, and solidified his lead in the rankings by winning Billabong's competition at Jeffrey's Bay. However, 09' wasn't to be Parko's year. He suffered a foot injury mid season whilst training, and couldn't get the points to continue his campaign until the final stages of the tour.
Parko was pipped to the post by his bestfriend Mick Fanning when they battled it out for the world title at the Pipeline Masters. Yet the devastated Parko paddled over the elated Fanning, shared congratulatory words and hugged in the water. Parko's bittersweet episode in Hawaii saw him lose the world title, but gain his second Triple Crown of Surfing and a whole lot of respect from those who looked on.
2010 will be an exciting year for Parko. He just got knocked out of the Quarter Finals of the Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro held at his home beachbreaks but the tour is only just began. So maybe on his 10th year on tour, Parko will finally get a chance to raise his game, show the world that persistence really does pay off... and win that elusive world title. Yet no matter what, we know that he'll do it all with class and style.
Take a look at Parko's perfect 20 out of 20 score at 2008's Pipeline Masters to see why he's up there with the best... tune in at 1min05