Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, has claimed his maiden ASP World Title today at the final stop of the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) season, the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons.
When the day started, only Parkinson and then-reigning 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 40, remained in contention for this year’s crown. However, with Slater’s loss to Josh Kerr (AUS), 28, in this afternoon’s Semifinal, Parkinson’s title became a certainty.
“Consistency paid off,” Parkinson said. “This is where I wanted to stand at the end of the year. This is what I’ve worked for my whole life. I can’t describe what this feels like. I’ve had runner-ups and ups-and-downs. I’ve been to hell and back and it makes this so much sweeter. All the love from Hawaii and Australia and over the world, I can’t thank you all enough for supporting me.”
Parkinson, currently in his 12th season on the ASP WCT, has now collected 11 elite event victories in his tenure among the world’s best surfers. Over the course of his career, the stylish Australian finished runner-up to the ASP World Title four times (2002, 2004, 2009, 2011) and today’s solidification of the ASP World Title further establishes Parkinson as one of the greatest surfers of all time.
“One day you wake up feeling good the next day you wake up feeling like a loser,” Parkinson said. “This morning I felt like a Champion when I woke up. Like Andy (Irons) always said ‘I got this, huh?’ I dedicate this to my family, Dad who used to take me to contests when I was 10, my wife and my mom and kids, this is all for us.”
Following Parkinson’s clinching of the 2012 ASP World Title, the Gold Coast natural-footer went on to defeat compatriot Josh Kerr in the Final, clinching the 2012 Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons and capping off one of the most impressive seasons in ASP history.
2012 ASP WCT Results:
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: 5th
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: 3rd
Billabong Rio Pro: 2nd
Volcom Fiji Pro: 9th
Billabong Pro Tahiti: 2nd
Hurley Pro at Trestles: 2nd
Quiksilver Pro France: 3rd
Rip Curl Pro Portugal: 3rd
O’Neill Coldwater Classic: 5th
Billabong Pipe Masters: WINNER
“Right now, Pipe Master, World Title, it’s all surreal,” Parkinson said. “I figured it was going to be a pressure cooker years ago. I knew there was nothing I could do about it. It was about what I had to do, not about what he had to do, I thought, surely he (Slater) has got to peak because he had that heat with Shane (Dorian) and I knew Kerr is a danger man for him. When Kerr got that one, I felt like I was going to physically throw up. I couldn’t control my emotions at that point.”
Slater was reflective following his Semifinal defeat this afternoon and gracious in honoring Parkinson on stage in front of a capacity crowd at the Banzai Pipeline.
“I missed Brazil because I had a cut in my heel and couldn’t really turn,” Slater said. “I figured I’d just rest up and get focused. Probably the one that hurt the worst was Teahupo’o. I made two or three mistakes in a row and Ricardo (dos Santos) got a 9.8 with seven seconds left. I had a bad string over the last few months. It kind of fell apart after France. Portugal was a tough one and Santa Cruz, I was just real wobbly. For whatever reason, the momentum went in Parko’s direction.”
“It was cool that it came down to this, it would have been cooler to have it come down to the Final. Joel’s been on tour for 10 or 11 years now and been in the hunt ever since he started. He’s an amazing surfer. He’s just the guy that makes it look easy. He can pull whatever our when he needs to.”