Hail Joel Parkinson, former Caloundra lad takes world title
SURFING: Hail King Joel ... finally.
Four-times a world championship runner-up, Joel Parkinson, formerly a Caloundra grommet, has filled his destiny by being crowned the globe's best surfer.
But the 12-year tour veteran, 31, did not have to beat 11-time world champion Kelly Slater to do it.
Fellow Aussie Josh Kerr shocked the great American in the semi-final of the season-ending Billabong Pipeline Masters at Hawaii early yesterday morning.
Slater's loss meant Parkinson did not have to beat Kerr in the final later that morning, but he put an exclamation mark on his long-held ambition by winning his first event of 2012.
Parkinson said: "Consistency paid off.
"THIS is where I wanted to stand at the end of the year.
"This is what I've worked for my whole life.
"I can't describe what this feels like.
"I've had runner-ups and ups-and-downs.
"I've been to hell and back, and it makes this so much sweeter.
"All the love from Hawaii and Australia and over the world. I can't thank you all enough for supporting me."
It was a case of last man standing at the famed Pipeline break.
Three men - Parkinson, Slater and Australia's dual world champion Mick Fanning -- had a chance of winning the world title going into the event.
By beating Kerr 17.17 to 14.83 in the final, Parkinson collected his 11th elite title.
Kerr beat Slater 11.13 to 4.90.
The win was made all the more special because the event was dedicated to the memory of the late three-time world champion Andy Irons of the US.
Parkinson said: "I dedicate this to my family, Dad, who used to take me to contests when I was 10, my wife and my mom and kids. This is all for us."
JOEL PARKINSON AT A GLANCE
DOB: April 10, 1981
Born: Nambour, QLD, Australia
Resides: Coolangatta, QLD, Australia
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
Weight: 185 lbs (84 kg)
Stance: Natural (Regular)
Sponsors: Billabong wetsuits and clothing, Von Zipper Eyewear, Kustom footwear and JS Industries surfboards
Shaper: Jason Stevenson
Magic Stick: 6'1"
Training Ground: Snapper Rocks and D-BahFavorite Wave: Long Ones
Favorite Move: Big ones
Inspirations: Kelly Slater, Mark Occhilupo and Matt Hoy