Stab Magazine | Is Joel Parkinson Retiring At Jeffreys Bay?
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Is Joel Parkinson Retiring At Jeffreys Bay?

Almost two decades after his ’99 Rookie win at J-Bay, Supertubes will be the venue that Parko announces his retirement before bookending his career at Pipe.  

news // Jul 2, 2018
Words by Jake Embrey
Reading Time: 3 minutes

First Mick Fanning, now Joel Parkinson? Say it ain’t so!

It’s a sad moment for fans of the man who makes it ‘look easier than it is’. 

Joel Parkinson is set to announce his retirement at Jeffreys prior to the event, the venue where he took his first ever CT victory at 18-years old all the way back in ’99.

He might not be hanging up the leash just yet – as the first incarnation of this article suggested – but Joel will be announcing his plans to bookend his career at Pipeline in December. Although, don’t be surprised if Joel misses an event or two throughout the back half of the season – we’re looking at you Portugal. 

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Parko warming up at last year’s Corona J-Bay Open.

Photography

WSL/Kelly Cestari

And this isn’t all just conjecture along Stab’s grape vine either; the WSL’s recent article describing Joel’s “special relationship” with Jeffreys Bay heavily alluded to retirement possibilities a few days ago too. 

Parko’s been on tour for 18 years and in that time has never once finished below the 22nd place cut-off zone. However, this year at J-Bay he finds himself sitting uncomfortably at 28th place, his lowest ever seed for the competition at Supertubes. 

With a strong back-half there’s every chance Parko could re-qualify, but in reality, announcing retirement ahead of relegation is a hell of a lot better than fading away with the bottom 10 come December.

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“Regardless of his recent results, Joel’s surfing suits Supertubes perfectly; you don’t earn two wins, a runner-up, and four 10-point rides there unless you know the wave.”

Photography

WSL/Pierre Tostee

Jeffreys is truly one of the last stops where precise rail-to-rail, on-face surfing shines past progressive flair, and there’s no-one better to tick those Speed, Power, and Flow boxes than Mr. Parkinson when he’s in form. Unfortunately for us, this coming J-Bay Open will be the last time we’ll witness Joel surfing in a jersey at one of the waves he’s so readily associated with – sans the occasional veteran’s heat and wildcard. 

In addition to Joel’s imminent retirement announcement, there are a few related questions pertaining to the J-Bay event; in particular, whether Kelly’s sudden return to competitive form is partially driven by wanting to be there to battle it out with Parko one last time, and of course, to celebrate his retirement too.  

Also, whether the blondest of the Coolie Kids, Mick Fanning, will be in attendance to bid farewell his longtime pal and competitive rival? Mick’s currently at home on the Gold Coast, but who knows, a flight to South Africa’s southern tip is only a day’s plane ride away…

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Mick and Joel…

Photography

WSL/Matt Dunbar

Discussions around Parko’s retirement have swirled heavily since Mick retired back at Bells, and some suggested that Joel only delayed his retirement announcement in order to give Mick the full brunt of the limelight at the time.

With six years left of his Billabong contract, we’ll undoubtedly be seeing more of Parko than from behind the rock and in front of the bar at Snapper. We’ll learn what Joel’s plans for the future are over the next few days, but in the mean time, let’s just hope that this expected SW swell shows up so we can revel in the duo that is Supertubes and Joel Parko’s style one last time. 

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Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

Photography

WSL/Steve Sherman

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