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Joel Parkinson on the Billabong Pro, J-Bay downgrade News just broke that the Billabong Pro, Jeffreys Bay, has been downgraded from its permanent fixture as a world tour event to being a six-star. Considering the financial climate right now, it ain’t too much of a shock. Times are tough. “The change in event status follows […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Joel Parkinson on the Billabong Pro, J-Bay downgrade

News just broke that the Billabong Pro, Jeffreys Bay, has been downgraded from its permanent fixture as a world tour event to being a six-star. Considering the financial climate right now, it ain’t too much of a shock. Times are tough. “The change in event status follows a broader review in which we are seeking to identify cost savings throughout the business,” said Billabong’s official statement. “By retaining an event at Jeffreys Bay, it now provides two qualifying events back to back in the South African region. The move to an ASP 6-Star also opens the event up to South Africa’s aspiring pro surfers for the first time in 20 years and ensures continuity of the event for the local businesses in Jeffreys Bay.” One man who’s always enjoyed a love affair with the South-African point break is 2011 world title runner-up, Joel Parkinson. He won there in 1999 as a wildcard and then again, 10 years later in 2009. So, how does it feel, after over a decade of annual trips there, to see a favourite event fall away?

Stab: Joel and J-Bay, the perfect couple. Is this an emotional time? 
Joel Parkinson: Obviously, fuck, I’m spewing. I mean, it’s the best event and one I really love going to. It’s sad, really – we don’t get to have a world tour event at what I think is the best pointbreak in the world. But, anyway… times are tough at the moment. I’m sure Billabong will do everything they can to get it back on.

Tell me about your relationship. It’s definitely one of my strength ones, I guess you’d say. I’ve had better results there than probably anywhere. I think whether you’re a natural footer or a goofy footer, J-Bay’s a sick wave. I think everyone’ll be pretty pissed-off that it’s canned, but with the way the world is at the moment…

It’s tough out there. Will you still go for the six-star? I’m not sure, it’s too early to say that. It’s only just been cancelled.

Considering your affinity with the place, if it suited your timetable would you make the trip? Um, I’m not sure, it’s a long way to go for a ‘QS event. But, it is a Billabong event. So, maybe I will. But you know… you could almost fit a boat trip in, or something, y’know? Who knows.

And what’s been the general consensus from others on tour? I spoke to a couple of guys last night at the ASP banquet. Same kinda thing. It was hard last night because, we were at the awards night and we knew J-Bay wasn’t going to happen, and we had to watch the highlights of last year’s tour. J-Bay came on and I was just like, oh… it was just that six-foot grooved wall. It was just looking at what you’re not going to have. It’s such a sick wave! It’s such a good time there. I mean… it’s still a ‘QS, so we’ll see what happens. – Elliot Struck

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