Australia's Joel Parkinson is through to round four at Jeffreys Bay. Picture: Kelly Cestari/World Surf League
Australia's Joel Parkinson is through to round four at Jeffreys Bay. Picture: Kelly Cestari/World Surf League

J-Bay victory could hasten Parko's retirement

VETERAN Australian surfer Joel Parkinson could retire after the Corona Open J-Bay if he comes out on top.

The 2012 world champion announced on Monday his plans to retire after December's Pipe Masters, but a near-perfect 9.37 and 7.50 in round three at South Africa's Jeffreys Bay has the Australian feeling sentimental.

"J-Bay means a lot to me. It is where my career kick-started," he said.

"To be back here and finishing off my last year here is special. It would mean the world to me if I won this event.

"I would probably shut the gate right there and retire right then if I won."

World No.6 Michel Bourez - one of 14 competitors knocked out on the second day - was edged out by Parkinson in round three.

Round two has been completed and the first four heats of round three are ticked off at the South African stop.

Two-time event winner and local Jordy Smith eliminated returning legend Kelly Slater in round two, with the 11-time world champion unable to meet the 7.27 point requirement and leaving in 25th place.

Slater said he felt "rusty" and unsure where he could push his foot, which he broke at the Jeffreys Bay event last year.

Smith went on to win his round-three heat against Brazilian Tomas Hermes and progress to round four.

Australia's Connor Leary scored the day's highest two-wave total, 17.16, against Hawaii's Ezekiel Law, setting up a clash with 2014 world champion Gabriel Medina.

- AAP



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