Always a bridesmaid never a bride, Joel Parkinson claimed his first ASP World Title minutes ago at the final leg of the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons in Oahu, Hawaii.
Parkinson, 31, won his maiden title over 11-time reigning champ Kelly Slater, 40, who lost out to Josh Kerr, 28, in the semi-finals earlier today, despite the latter being hospitalised for an injury to his neck and shoulders. The two are facing off right now in Kerr’s first final heat at the Banzai Pipeline regardless of Parko’s insurmountable lead.
“I may not have won an event this year, but this is where I wanted to be standing at the end of the year. This is what I worked for… I can’t describe what it feels like. I’ve had runner-ups and ups and downs and injuries… I’ve been to hell and back,” said Parkinson.
Humble in his defeat to Parko – a noted family man and all around champ – Angus Stone collaborator Slater said “I just told him I’m happy for him. Parko’s just an amazing surfer. He’s so smooth and he makes it look so easy. He’s ultra smooth. He can pull whatever out when he needs to. He’s great, you know.“
At the time of writing there’s twenty minutes left in the final round. You can stream it all here.
UPDATE: With twenty seconds left Kerr attempted one last wave before completely wiping out down the face. It was a picture perfect and a spectacular end to the final for Parkinson, the 2012 World Champion and Pipeline Master. It’s Kerr’s best result ever and a fantastic victory for four time runner up Parko, who also takes out his first title for the season.
At the awards ceremony, where Andy Irons’ wife Lindie presented the surfers with leis and their awards, Kerr said “Its been a pretty hectic day… Hopefully [I’ll be here again next year] but one place better.” That’s all I got before my feed cut out.
Parkinson said, “It’s a very surreal feeling. I’ve gotta pinch myself. I feel like I’ve still gotta man up and surf another heat.
I don’t know who sent me those waves in that final. Thanks to Andy for pushing those things in from mother nature and for giving me that one eight. I really felt like he was a part of me out there and he’ll always be a part of that event. Cheers to Andy for sure.“
“It feels amazing. I want to thank Kelly. The rumour is you’re retired but I hope you don’t.“
Photo AFP/Stringer via Getty