Coolangatta's second most famous surfer has been here all along!
It was revealed just a few hours ago that one of the greatest surfers of the past decade, Joel Parkinson, has not been retired for the past five years. Read again, has NOT been retired for the past five years. I’ll be honest, when I woke up this morning hungry for news from J-Bay and saw the World Surf League’s Thank You Joel Parkinson headline I thought something terrible had happened. Maybe even an unthinkable repeat of the 2015 incident starring Mick Fanning.
“Do South African sharks have a sickly taste for Coolangatta flesh?” I wondered before realizing it was a retirement announcement which confused me more. I thought my computer was stuck in some time warp. Some glitch, though everything else seemed in order.
Once I realized my error it made me very happy that Joel Parkinson has been competing all along because I did not want to miss his retirement party. It made me go to his Instagram and read his eloquent words.
The first time I went to J-Bay was 19 years ago. I was just a kid back then. I’d just finished last in a contest in Reunion, turned up at J-Bay with a toothache, but then got my first glimpse of the wave and the pain went away. It was six foot and perfect from Boneyards to Impossibles, I paddled out through the keyhole, caught my first wave and that was it. I was gone. I lost my mind. Next thing I was standing there on stage holding the trophy, not sure what had just happened, but I knew I’d found my second home. This is where it all started for me on tour, and that’s why I wanted to be here in J-Bay to let you know that this will be my last year on tour. The Pipe Masters in December will be my last event. The fire just hasn’t been there for a while now and I never want to surf without it, so it’s time to go look for it somewhere else. The tour has given me so much. So many memories, so many friends, the chance for my kids to see the world, but it’s time to move on to the next chapter. That means one last lap of the tour and I can’t wait to catch up with a lot of old friends and get a few waves along the way… starting this week at J-Bay.