HALEIWA, Oahu/Hawaii (Thursday, November 18, 2010) – There’s been a lot of rumor and speculation about what it would look like to see Joel Parkinson (AUS), 29, back in the competition singlet. The stylish natural-footer was sidelined earlier this year after a horrific fin slice to his heel prior to the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay. It’s been over half a year since Parko has donned the competitive singlet and yesterday was his first venture back into the arena. In case you missed it, the Australian came back with a vengeance. A Perfect 10 on his opening wave, backed up with a 9.87 for a combined heat total of 19.87 out of a possible 20. Can someone say “Vans Triple Crown Title”? Sean Doherty caught up with Joel after his explosive return to form to get the low down. This…is their story…
You’ve had seven months since your last heat, and a lot of time to think about what your comeback wave would feel like. Was that Perfect 10 today on your first wave today something like what you had in mind?
Nah, not at all. I was really nervous yesterday ’cause the comp was on and I thought I was going to be surfing. But today I wasn’t too nervous at all. I paddled out thinking, okay, heat strategy, heat strategy. And I kind of went to myself, you know, I can’t overthink this. I’ve just got to surf the wave 10 feet in front of me. I know the wave at Haleiwa pretty well and where I need to be on it, let’s just worry about that. And when I take off on a wave I’ll just surf it 10 feet in front of me until I get to the channel. And that’s what I did.
And you got to the channel and you had a 10.
Maybe I got a new heat strategy?
Don’t think. Do.
Maybe no strategy is my new strategy.
And then you backed it up with a 9.87. At that point you must have felt your comeback was going reasonably well.
Yeah. Before I paddled out I said I felt like I was surfing at 80%, but that’s by far the best surfing I’ve done since I cut my foot. Maybe I just needed that little push, starting back into competition mode, to get me going.
You do have a love affair with Haleiwa though.
Yeah it suits me, I like it. You can come off the bottom hard, and you’ve got a lot of face to work with. I love it. It’s also one of those waves that if you get a wave-starved heat it could be one of the worst heats of your life, but if it’s consistent and pumping like my heat today everyone can get good waves and it can be the best heat you’ll have all year. I’ve had heats out there where everyone has had nines. And I’ve also had heats out there where everyone’s had twos. It’s one of those places. Like that heat today was one of those heats that makes you remember why you love surfing heats. Why you love being in a jersey. Everything was going my way. It’s probably what I needed, just a little tease of the good life after what I’ve had to go through with my foot. When you have heats like that, everything goes your way and you’re on fire you’re like, you know I could do this all day.
Until you surf your heat tomorrow and get a pair of twos.
Well you’re only as good as the heat you’re about to surf, not the one you surfed yesterday.
You started off with a 10 at Haleiwa last year, coming back off an injury, and it led to you winning the Triple Crown… today’s 10 must have been a good omen for you?
Yeah, I had a 10 in the early rounds at Haleiwa last year, didn’t I? That was against Dingo. Hopefully it’s like a blessing and it gets the Triple Crown going for me.
How’s the foot feeling? Twinges?
You know what? Since I got here, every day I wake up and it still feels pretty shitty. It feels like a block of wood on the end of my leg. It doesn’t move, it’s stiff and there are some crinks and cracks to get it moving, but that’s slowly disappearing. More importantly when I surf on it I haven’t felt any pain. I was feeling pain back at home, but it seems like a lot of that scar tissue is breaking up. Since I’ve been in Hawaii I’ve been trying to walk around barefoot a lot to break the scar tissue down and toughen up my foot.
And you said you felt like a bit of a crumpet when you first got back in the water after cutting your foot. How’s a week on the North Shore been helping your surf fitness?
I’ve been surfing three times a day and I’m starting to feel good again. It’s like going on a boat trip; as soon as you put in four or five days straight of surfing you start to feel really good. By two weeks you can surf three times a day – or three heats a day – and then feel like going for a fourth.
You chalked up 19.87 out of 20 in your comeback heat today. Where do you go from here?
I was paddling out today thinking this was my first heat in a long time, I’ll be over the moon with two sevens. I’ll paddle out again tomorrow and I’ll be happy with two sevens, but I’ll be even more happy with a first or second. That’ll do.
For more on JOEL PARKINSON, check out his ASP WORLD TOUR PROFILE
Watch Joel do battle LIVE in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing