Australian powerhouse, Joel Parkinson, earned his ASP World Championship title after a long year of intense battles between some of the best surfers on tour. Not only did Parko take home the title, he polished the year off with a win at the Billabong Pipe Masters. The Surf Channel met with the champ on Oahu’s North Shore to listen to him reflect on his accomplishments this year and to hear about his epic final event to top off his season.
Some footage provided by Billabong, Vans and ASP.
“I’ve just had a consistent year and I kind of felt like I needed to win an event to prove to myself that I deserve the title. And just doing that then, I really feel, no matter what, like a champion,” said Joel Parkinson, 2012 ASP World Champion.
What was the support like for you here at Pipeline?
Parko: The support was unbelievable. The whole “Go Parko” thing and what Billabong did, and just everyone from Australia was sending me so many messages. I can’t thank them enough for their support and I’m so glad; I guess I delivered and all that. Needless to say, I just want to thank everyone for their support at Pipeline.
Plans after this?
Parko: (laughs) I’ve got no plans. After these interviews, I’m done.
You had two really hard heats today. Walk us through them.
Parko: Yeah, I guess so… The one thing that I’ve learned this year about myself is how to come back in a dogfight, you know? There’s been a lot of dog fight heats this year, and there’s been a few heats where it’s been pretty smooth sailing, but a lot of them have been like that. And I think just holding my nerve… When I was younger I used to feel like a bit of a ball of stress sometimes if I wasn’t in the lead or I didn’t get the wave, and now I feel like I’ve found my rhythm a bit in competing.
Was it difficult to surf in the Billabong Pipe Masters finals knowing you already won the ASP WCT title?
Parko: It definitely was. I remember Mick (Fanning) doing it in Brazil when he won his first title. He won the semi, he won the world title and then had to go back out in the final, so I was thinking, “If he can do it, I can do it.” I just thought, if I play a smart heat it would be possible, and just throw myself over the falls off the ones I don’t need and not worry about what’s going to happen on the beach when I get there. I just wanted to worry about what was going to happen in the water and I gave myself half an hour more and it paid off.
Is there anything that’s changed this year from past years?
Parko: I felt like I really gave myself a good chance in the dog fight heats. I’ve really liked all the heats, the ones I’ve lost and won, it’s kind of my philosophy. The ones I’ve lost, I really wanted to enjoy. I’ve been pushed in a corner and you try to find your way out. Stuff like that, I just never wanted to stress in a heat. I don’t work very well when I’m stressed and that’s the way I kind of went into the year, and that’s the way I came out at the end.
Tell us about that semifinal heat.
Parko: You know it was back and forth and I knew there were waves to come, but sometimes you put yourself too deep, you put yourself in the wrong place. I kind of felt like I relaxed myself into it and then got another good wave.
This time it felt like not only the Australians, but also the Hawaiians were behind you.
Parko: It’s such an awesome thing. I’ve had a lot of good friends here.
Amazing job, and congrats!
Parko: Thank you. Thank you so much guys. (Sighs.) Let’s go drink beer.