IN THE PIPE: Joel Parkinson in action during the Billabong Pipe Masters in Oahu, Hawaii.
IN THE PIPE: Joel Parkinson in action during the Billabong Pipe Masters in Oahu, Hawaii. Kirstin Scholtz

Praise for Parko after stellar career

SURFING: Former Caloundra grommet Joel Parkinson has been labelled "one of a kind" after he called time on his remarkable 17-year career.

The 37-year-old retired after the Pipe Masters in Hawaii on Tuesday, having won the 2012 world title.

He finished runner-up on the world tour on four occasions and won the Triple Crown in 2018.

"Phenomenal, Joel has had a phenomenal career in Hawaii and around the world," Sunshine Coast surfing legend Gary Elkerton said.

"He's a very unique surfer and just his style of surfing, there's not many people that are that casual that I've ever seen surf."

"He's one of a kind."

Parkinson grew up at Moffat Beach before moving to the Gold Coast in the early '90s.

He quickly caught the attention of the more prominent surfing scene there.

Elkerton, himself a three-time runner-up on the world tour, praised Parkinson for making the most of his move.

"I used to do a lot of trips to the Gold Coast," he said.

"You'd have to in the early days when you were surfing up here on the Sunshine Coast. You had to go down there to actually be someone.

"The Gold Coast looks at Sunshine Coast surfers and go 'oh yeah' but you've got to go down there and really get in their face and do it and Joel did that.

"What a wonderful career."

Coolum Beach's world No.2 Julian Wilson surfed against Parkinson in the latter's final event. "Special day to be able to trade off with Joel Parko on a few (waves) at Backdoor (surf break)," he said via social media.

Parkinson himself said he had "no regrets" following his last heat. "I feel like I've been let out of school," he told News Corp Australia.

"This is so exciting. I can't wait to go and do other fun things.

"I can't believe I'm so emotional though."



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