You’d imagine Joel Parkinson has his fair share of stories through close to two decades on Tour. Some of them filled with incredible highs and others filled with some pretty dark lows.
For example, his World Title in 2012 would have to be an obvious high, personally and competitively. He’d given his life to something and then paid his dues through over a decade on Tour at that point and finally, 2012 was his year to stand on top of the mountain.
But before that championship year Parko had four near misses, finishing runner-up for the first time exactly ten years earlier. He had close calls in 2004, 2009, and 2011 as well that ultimately ended in massive heartbreak. And apparently, none were more frustrating for Parko than 2009 when he’d started off the year with back-to-back wins and looking like he would run away with the title. An injury slowed him down just enough for Mick Fanning of all people to claw his way back into contention and sure enough, when the Tour got to Pipe the two close friends were destined for a title showdown. Parko took the eventual loss out on a North Shore wall.
“Filthy. So furious at everything and everyone. Anything I could find to be angry at,” he says. “Belted a wall and then a little birdie got me down the beach and said support your mate.”
Mick had just won his second world title. And that’s when Parko decided to put his own disappointment aside so he could celebrate his friend.
“I look back and go, ‘That was a test,’” Parko says. “It was the right thing to do. I was stronger. It set me up for what was to come.”
What was to come was that eventual title that he certainly earned.