HALEIWA, Oahu/Hawaii (Monday, November 22, 2010) – Yesterday saw the emotional return of Joel Parkinson (AUS), 29, to the winner’s dais. The Australian, who was sidelined from competition following a horrific heel slice last July, returned to the singlet for the opening event of the Vans Hawaiian Triple Crown of Surfing, the Reef Hawaiian Pro. Opening his campaign with a Perfect 10 on his very first wave, Parkinson steamrolled the competition, netting the event’s highest scores before dominating the Final yesterday afternoon. With a win under his belt, his confidence high and the ratings’ lead in the hunt for the 2010 Vans Triple Crown Title, Parkinson is now emphatically back in action. Sean Doherty caught up with Parko following his win to see where his head was at. This…is their story…
How are the celebrations going?
Louie’s cooking the barbecue, there’s a heap of the boys here at the house, and I’m eating a sausage sandwich and drinking a beer looking out over Pipe. Pretty good, I reckon.
With the drop in the swell it looked like more of a chess match out there today.
It was a real day for strategy. It just wasn’t consistent enough for your surfing alone to do the talking. There had to be some paddling and positioning and heat strategy as well, so you really had to be on your game.
It seemed like a real struggle for pretty well everyone to string two good heats together.
I suppose. I had one heat where I struggled to even find a 6, but it was one of those days where you just had to go out and find a way to get the job done. There probably wasn’t a lot of pretty surfing, but there were a lot of really close, hard fought heats.
During all those months of rehab and physio, working on your foot, could you have ever dreamed you’d score a win in your comeback event?
Not my first event back, no. But after my first heat, I knew I could win the contest. Coming back from injury and not having surfed a heat in such a long time, you kind of half expect that a shocker heat is coming your way at some stage. Luckily for me it never did. But with every heat I got through I felt stronger and had a bit more faith in my surfing.
So you’re leading the Triple Crown, and probably the favourite to win it for the third time in a row. What would it mean to you if you did?
It would be a great thing to make something from what’s left of the year. It’s been the most radical year of my life. To win the Triple Crown would mean a year that’s had so many ups and downs would end on a high. There’s a long way to go though, and a lot of surfing before I get anywhere near thinking about winning.
And this was the first contest you’ve surfed in a long time without Andy (Irons) being there. Was that sitting in the back of your mind the whole time?
For sure. It will be in the back of my mind for the rest of my life. My memories of Andy will last forever and will always be with me. It’s still so raw right now that it’s hard to draw too many positives out of it just yet. It’s been such a radical year, so sad and so happy at various times. I think of Andy and I’m sad, then I think of my son Mahli being born and I’m happy, and I think of Andy’s son and I get a little sad again. It’s all so up and down. But it really makes you think about and treasure everything you have. As much as I miss Andy, my memories of him and the times we had are so precious and so happy that I’ll never forget them. We’ve got to move on and stay positive, because that’s exactly what Andy would be doing. And I can’t wait to meet his son. There are going to be so many aunties and uncles who’ll love him and look after him.
For more on JOEL PARKINSON, check out his ASP WORLD TOUR PROFILE
Watch Joel do battle LIVE in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing