Unlikely Heroes Of The Volcom Pipe Pro: Mitch Parkinson
Yes, he’s Joel’s lovable little cuzzo!
Mitch Parkinson, the 22-year-old Coolangatta native, could not surf more differently from his World Title-holding cousin Joel. While Joel’s stance is small with knees knocked, Mitch surfs more widely with legs bowed. While Joel is best known for his long, swooping arcs, Mitch is a master of punts. And while Joel is a ruthless wavehog behind the rock at Snapper, well, yeah… I guess he and Mitch do have something in common.
But Snapper ain’t Hawaii, and as any visiting Haole will tell you, it’s not easy getting waves on The Rock. At least not the good ones.
That’s why, after years of visiting the North Shore but never quite quenching his thirst for mother Pipeline, Mitch used his 2017 Volcom Pipe Pro entry to its fullest extent. The Australian escaped from the event slightly sore but with a semifinal finish and the best 30-minute session of his life to show for it.
Knowing how damn good of a surfer Mitch is, and seeing how he proved himself at the ultimate competition venue, I felt it was right to drop him a line and see what’s going on in his world.
Note: this interview was conducted the day after the conclusion of the Volcom Pipe Pro.
Stab: Mitch, congrats on yesterday!
Mitch Parkinson: Aw thanks, it was crazy hey!
Crazy. How are you feeling?
I’m a little bit sore to be honest [laughs].
From the comp or the afterparty?
I think a mixture [laughs]. But yeah, that was definitely one of the best days of competitive surfing I’ve ever had.
I know you’ve been to Hawaii plenty of times before, and you definitely gotten your fair share of waves, but how did you feel coming into this event? Did you feel like an underdog, or were you planning on making it this far?
I definitely saw myself as an underdog coming up against those huge names. A lot of these guys are my favorite surfers in the world. That said, I knew I had the ability to ride those waves — I just never get the chance in my freesurfs. When I had the playing field to myself though, I was like, Oh wow, this is pretty mellow [laughs]. I just got to enjoy Pipe, sit where I wanted to sit and catch the waves I wanted to catch.
Did you find that without all the people out there it was more difficult to find the right place to sit?
As the day went on, I got my bearings a bit more. I kind of figured the wave out throughout my heats. By the end of that I felt super comfortable.
And you had to surf a heat on the big day, right? How was that?
Yeah, it was terrifying [laughs]. But I knew how good it was going to get after that, so I was just praying I got through the day so I could surf the perfect waves. Pretty much my only opportunity that whole day was on my last wave, and I just pulled into a close out and got a 4.5. And that got me through [laughs].
So you actually needed that wave to get through your heat?
Yeah, it was in the last minute and I needed a 3.5. I was kind of just pulling in out of frustration, but then they gave me the score so I was stoked.
Do you have one heat that you remember as being really really good? Or is the whole event just one epic blur?
The semi, actually. The one that I lost [laughs]. I didn’t get a wave until like six minutes left, and then I got an 8.2, and I only got one more wave at the end, but it clamped me at the end. That wave would’ve gotten me through if I’d made it, but the wave gods didn’t let it happen. That led to the best part of my whole event though.
I had just gotten beat in the second semi, and there was about a 30 minute break before the final. Somehow Kaiborg didn’t let anyone else out, just me and that Alvaro guy. So we got to sit out there at perfect 8-to-10 foot Pipe and just trade perfect waves. That was the craziest thing I’ve ever had in my life.
Did that make it worth not advancing to the final?
I think so actually. I’m pretty sure that the two waves I got in that break were the best waves of my life [laughs].
That’s amazing. How has the response been from everybody over in Hawaii?
Really good, yeah. It’s cool that people are finally starting to recognize me as a guy who will go on waves out there [laughs]. People may not know it, but those are kind of my preferred conditions.
And beyond Pipe, you actually won a QS event last year, correct?
Yeah, last November in Taiwan.
So are you going to be chasing QS points this year?
Definitely, I’m gonna give it a good crack. Winning that event got me the Australasian title, so now I can get in to all the 6-and-10,000 events.
Best of luck brother!
A Six-Minute Look At Shipstern’s Dangers And Delights
16-year-old Ned Hart begins his painful internship.
Authentic Brands Group Buys Boardriders For An Estimated $1.3 Billion
Quiksilver, Billabong, and RVCA join Volcom under the same umbrella. What does that mean for…
There’s No Such Thing As An Unremarkable Hawaiian Winter
Allow the O'Neill team to explain.
Watch: ‘Vacation’ Presented By Monster Energy
Stab Highway winners visit Kandui Resort.
The Stab Interview: Shaun Manners
On signing with Former, landing the cover of Surfing World and TSJ, his Cult of…
Why You Should Never Not Paddle Out
How an impromptu 30 minute session made a Jamaican surfer $1,000 richer.
Rio Waida Has Been Surfing Onshore, Oversized Bells Alone
...and he might not go home all year.
John Florence Releases Long-Form Piece On The 243km Great Ocean Squiggle
Tourism Victoria going, ‘he just did our job for us’.
Japanese Rice Farmer Enjoys Frightening Sumatran West Bowls
Kaito Ohashi is on his best behavior.
Watch: When People Like This Speak, We Listen
Raw, extended conversations with Clyde Aikau and Eddie Aikau winner Luke Shepardson.
Diamond Tail = Diamond Hands?
We'll explain everything in the Rusty D-Min Joyride.
Behold Australia’s Nine & NZ’s Two Challenger Series Qualifiers*
May the Southern Cross smile upon you at Snapper.
An Unordinary Life Structured Around A Tidal Bore
Long Read: The life and times of Pete Beachy.
Sun Room: The Overnight Success Of A Young Surf Band
What's it like touring the world and living off of McDonald's?
How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 6
An instructional manual for the modern professional surfer
Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.
Already a member? Sign In
Want to join? Sign Up