Written by: Shannon Marie
An emotional day to say the least, the final event of the ASP World Tour season finished in glory in solid Pipeline conditions, as Kelly Slater (USA), 40, passed over the World Title trophy to Australian #1 ranked, Joel Parkinson, 31. In an event dedicated to Kauai’s late Andy Irons, the 2012 Billabong Pipe Masters competition finished off the year in the mecca of surfing right where it all started. The North Shore of Hawaii fills to capacity every winter as the surf industry and the world’s most talented athletes gather to score the waves of their life and document the most-awaited event of the year. With a solid 6-8ft faces and tricky cross swell, the world’s best surfers battled in a board-breaking extravaganza of perfect rides and broken dreams. It was Joel Parkinson and Josh Kerr (AUS) that were able to surf through enough heats to find themselves on the podium. Parko’s dream-come-true event secured his #1 spot in the world rankings in front of a packed beach in “GO PARKO” paraphernalia and millions of webcast viewers.
Watch The Surf Channel Heat Highlights video from the final:
Footage provided by Vans, Billabong and ASP
Congrats to the 2012 winner of the Billabong Pipe Masters, and the new ASP World Title holder, Joel Parkinson. His performance throughout the year was full of great results and progressive surfing, fighting each heat of the Billabong Pipe Masters to claim the trophy. The veteran member of the ASP World Tour has paid his dues advancing the sport of surfing, and finally has the first place results to secure confidence going into 2013.
Joel Parkinson (AUS) accepts the ASP World Title trophy, handed over by Kelly Slater (USA) at Pipeline. Photo: Surf Channel/Shannon Q
Only Parkinson and reigning 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater were in contention for the world title heading into the final day. Parkinson needed to finish one position higher to claim the title that has eluded him for the past 12 years. With Slater’s loss to Josh Kerr (AUS), 28, in the semi-final, Parkinson’s dream became reality. Parkinson went on to beat Kerr in the final.
“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.
“Right now, Pipe Master, World Title, it’s all surreal,” Parkinson said. “I figured it was going to be a pressure cooker like a few 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.
“One day you wake up feeling good the next day you wake up feeling like a loser. 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,” said Parkinson.
Parkinson has been the world title bridesmaid four times (2002, 2004, 2009, 2011). His Billabong Pipe Masters victory is his 11th elite event win over the course of his career, and by clinching the ASP World Title has established himself as one of the greatest surfers of all time.
Joel Parkinson 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
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,” said Slater.
Josh Kerr battled his way to a career first ASP WCT Final. The Australian suffered a heavy wipeout in his round four heat with Slater and Gabriel Medina (BRA), resulting in a brief trip to the hospital. After medical clearance, Kerr overcame the setback to take it all the way to the final.
“It’s been a hectic day,” Kerr said. “My first heat, I’ve been having nerve damage in my neck and my left side went numb when I fell. I had to get an x-ray and made it back for my next heat and made it through to the final. Congrats to Parko as well. I’ll be back next year and hopefully one place better.”
Kerr finishes the 2012 ASP season ranked No. 8 on the ASP WCT rankings.
Damien Hobgood (USA), 33, eliminated defending event champion Kieren Perrow (AUS), 35, while attaining his best result of his season. Hobgood was a standout at both Pipeline and Backdoor, but was unable to surpass Parkinson in their Semifinals matchup, finishing equal 3rd.
“I was just thinking if I saw something that looks decent, give it a go,” Hobgood said after his Round 5 victory. “I wanted to try and build a couple of scores and I took one and was paddling out and saw Kieren (Perrow) get one. I could have given Kieren a 10 and that would have been the heat. I just tried to get some scores and not give him a bomb.”
Hobgood’s Equal 3rd place finish at Pipeline vaults him up to 16th on the 2012 ASP WCT rankings.
John John Florence (HAW) – 2012 ASP Rookie of the Year.
John John Florence (HAW) – Hawaiian Airlines Airshow Winner – best aerial of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series.
Awarded earlier: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) – 2012 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing champion.
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS FINAL RESULT:
1 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.17 – US$75,000
2 – Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.83 – US$30,000
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.30 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.63
SF 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.13 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 4.90
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.83 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.17
QF 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.50 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.40
QF 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.00 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.17
QF 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.73 def. Shane Dorian (HAW) 18.20
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Damien Hobgood (USA) 8.23 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 3.26
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.94 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 8.00
Heat 3: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 13.00 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.00
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.27 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.66
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.57, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.10, Kelly Slater (USA) 8.10
Heat 4: Shane Dorian (HAW) 6.53, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 5.83, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 4.23
For more information, log onto www.vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com
While the world’s best surfers prepare for a well-deserved break before the start of the next season, the ASP has determined which surfers will contest for the 2013 ASP World Title:
Top 22 from 2012 ASP WCT Rankings:
Top 10 from 2012 ASP World Rankings (barring double qualifiers):
Two ASP Wildcards:
ASP WCT Replacements (in the event of athlete withdrawal):
The 2013 ASP World Championship Tour will commence with the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks from March 2 to 13, 2013.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com