Professional surfing might be one of the only sports where athletes can compete against each other, have so much on the line, and come out the other end laughing about massively disappointing moments. Does anybody think for a second that Nick Foles ran up to Tom Brady after TB12 dropped that softball pass in Super Bowl LII, jokingly barked “I’ve seen better hands on a snake,” and they all just laughed it off on the sidelines? Or do you think Moises Alou and Steve Bartman ever sit down for beers in Chicago and fondly reminisce about “that one time” they both tried to catch a foul ball but instead extended a World Series curse that was nearing 100 years at the time?
Absolutely not. Most of you probably don’t have the slightest clue what I just referenced but the whole point is those kinds of jokes in mainstream sports are why idiot fans riot in their own hometown. Sports aren’t fun. Especially if you’re the one on the losing end. In fact, the only joy in watching your team win a Super Bowl is in knowing you avoided the horrible disappointment that would have come with failure (I imagine, at least. I wouldn’t actually know).
Back to the point at hand. Right now, Joel Parkinson is wrapping up a wonderfully accomplished 17-year career on the World Tour with a World Title and a dozen Tour wins. One win that evaded him throughout his career, though, was Teahupo’o. And his best shot at winning there came in 2012 against one of his closest friends, Mick Fanning.
As the story goes, Parko jumped out to an early lead in the final, putting Mick in a deep combo situation with two high-scoring waves out the gate.
“This is where it all goes pear-shaped,” Parko says. “I had priority. Mick needs a low nine…” And then a set came through. Fanning ended up jedi-mind-tricking Parkinson into taking that first wave of the set, which Joel knew “was a piece of shit.”
“I saw the next one and thought, oh wow, this is amazing,” Mick says. Amazing enough that he started laughing, probably at Parko, when the ride was over.
“He just f***in’ got the score…given to him.”
Parko’s convinced he won that heat to this day. And six years later, he’s still threatening to break into Mick’s house and steal the trophy.