You better believe Joel can still jump. He's best known for a silky rail game, but the more savvy readers out there may recall the unprecedented height of his opening air in Waves Magazine's cult gem, Bicycle.
Joel Parkinson: "Jumping Out Of My Skin" (And Ready For A 2017 World Title!)
A cleanse is just the thing to kickstart Parko's year.
It’s impossible not to like Joel Parkinson. No matter what preconceptions you’ve formed of him through webcasts or interviews, all it takes is two minutes of banter before you’re a fan. It’s likely the Bob Hawke-esque, classic Australian charm; razor wit dressed in relaxed vernacular. Which is a characteristic mirrored in his surfing: Classic, relaxed Australian style, spread over the most razor-sharp speed and power.
And he’s never been sharper than right now. Needing to shake the rundown state that a year on the road can induce, Joel has recently undertaken a detox that’s left him positively lucid. And despite constant speculation about how much longer he’ll be on tour, the cleanse has been the perfect start to a year which Parko is as ready as ever for. You wanna talk about who to watch on the webcast in 2017? Let’s tap the current headspace of a very good candidate, below…
Stab: How’s 2017 looking for you?
Joel Parkinson: So far, so good! I’m pretty desperate for waves right now (the Gold Coast has been struggling), but I’ve got some good trips coming up. I’ve actually started this crazy cleanse. I feel like I’m jumping out of my skin, which I haven’t felt for a while. You can get real run down travelling a lot, but my wife and a few friends and myself got put on this cleanse from a naturopath. I’m seriously feeling amazing. No alcohol, no saturated fats, no carbohydrates… well, a couple of carbohydrates. But it’s been amazing.
It’s wild how different you feel after purging yourself of all that shit. It’s scary! It’s scary what a difference it makes, especially on the mental side. I just feel so sharp in my mind.
Mr Parkinson burying the rail of a lone rudder craft, en route to victory at the Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin Classic. And, done so with great panache.
You sound… ready. You mentioned in an interview at Pipe that you got inspired a little too late in the year. At the start of 2016, did you think it could be your last year on Tour? Well, I started off the year with a really good couple of events. I was always not going to go to Brazil – I had a funny… um… I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for Brazil. And missing it put me back a bit, I guess. I lost a little momentum.
It’s really weird: Last year was the only year of my whole career, that I got every single result you can get, from second to last, except I didn’t get a first.
But with the tour? I don’t know how I’m going to feel in a few months. But I am really, really keen to make something of the whole year. I want to make sure there’s no momentum loss at any time through the year. I never used to have that, but I think as I’ve gotten older that’s become a little easier to do. I used to just have surfing but now I’ve got a lot more going on in my life – a lot of good things like kids and family that I really enjoy. I take time out where I didn’t used to take time out. I used to train between events like a madman, but now if I get time off I want to spend it with my family.
Although, my family certainly doesn’t derail my momentum. For me, personally, I’d probably be a lot worse off if I was the way I was before I had a young family. Surfing all day, every day, 365 days a year… there’s not much of a father figure in that.
Will you go to Brazil this year? Definitely. I’m fully committed to a whole year.
So you’ve got this wild, renewed vigour. I know! I don’t know why. I should be slowing down. I’m beaten up! But I was starting to feel it towards the end of the year. I definitely have more determination.
"Joel's an absolute wave magnet," says Dunc, who captured this D'bah funnel late last year.
Taj and Ottz wrapped, and Mick’s a flight risk. And we’ve all seen what a good time Mick and TB have been having off Tour. Does that make you more driven than ever to hold it down on Tour, or does it get you thinking about life after the competition? It got me thinking, like, yeah, I won’t be here (on Tour) for another hundred years. Watching what Taj and Mick did, I loved watching that and it looked amazing. But. I will get to do that. I’ll keep going until I’m finished competing, then I get to do what they’re doing. Y’know, I’m two years younger than Taj. He threw it in when he was 37, I’ve still got two years until I’m at the same point as Taj and go, ok, I’m done. At the end of this year, that may be it. I really don’t know. But at this stage, I’m pretty pumped to go a full year. I won’t miss an event. I’m ready to go.
If you won the world title this year, would you retire? That’s a good thing to have, a good goal: If I win, I’m out! I don’t know though, maybe if I won I’d be too pumped and would want to keep going.
Do you believe that you can win another world title? I know that I can be consistent in every event. I’m probably a lot stronger in some more than others – if it’s one foot Brazil, you probably won’t find me on the podium. But if it’s four foot and tubing, or a four foot sucky beachie, and I’m fit and healthy and feeling ready… I want to win. I can’t see why I couldn’t be in the position of getting to Pipe to see what happens. Now that Kelly’s come back out – if he can do it, I can do it.
If you could win any event in 2017… J-Bay. Or, Teahupoo. Teahupoo eludes me. I’d really like to win Fiji. Am I naming too many? If I had to pick one… I’d say J-Bay this year, and Snapper next year.