It was not a slow news day for the World Surf League. Two absolute legends announced retirement plans during the 2018 Corona J-Bay Open, which began today. Parkinson, 37, announced that he’ll retire following the Billabong Pipeline Masters at the end of the year. Slater, who just returned to competition at J-Bay following a foot injury that has hampered him since the same contest last year, told viewers during the broadcast that his goal is to get healthy and make one more run before calling it quits after the 2019 season. He’ll turn 47 in February.
— World Surf League (@wsl) July 2, 2018
Parkinson, who won his lone world title in 2012, started off the contest at South Africa’s Jeffreys Bay well, beating Julian Wilson and wildcard Matthew McGillivray to head straight to Round 3, while Slater finished third in his opening heat and will face Jordy Smith in a one-on-one Round 2 elimination heat. Slater admitted that he was easing his way back into competition after essentially missing most of the last year. “I was surfing for the next six months,” he said.
Parkinson’s plans were sealed before the contest as the World Surf League released a retirement tribute during the event. “I have no more fire or desire to want to win,” he said in the video–also be a good tid-bit if you’re playing Fantasy Surfer the rest of the season.
Slater, the 11-time champ and the only pro surfer your mom can name, has most recently revolutionized artificial waves and of course owns the brand Outerknown. So he has his hand in plenty of side projects and seemingly shows up at every major swell event around the world (especially those that hit Fiji). He sounds ready to get on with the rest of his life as well. “My basic plan is to get myself really healthy, get ready for April next year, and next year will be my last year on tour and just be done with it.”