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Parkinson, Joel


Smiling Australian regularfooter from Queensland's Gold Coast; World Champion in 2012; three-time Triple Crown champ (2008-2010), World Junior Championship winner in 1999 and 2001, and world- ranked #2 in 2002, 2004, 2009, and 2011.

Parkinson was born (1981) and raised in Nambour, Queensland, and began surfing at age three during weekend family visits to the beach. At 13 he moved with his family to the Gold Coast, and by the late '90s, Parkinson, Mick Fanning, and Dean Morrison were being touted as the supernaturally talented "Coolangatta Kids," as all three teenagers lived in or near the small Gold Coast town of Coolangatta.

Parkinson developed into a fast, stylish, controlled surfer, always riding with what surf journalist Nick Carroll called an "oddly hypnotic grace." In small waves Parkinson was fast and acrobatic; in larger surf he was cool-handed and faster yet. His offhanded demeanor was occasionally taken as a sign of arrogance; his goal, he told TransWorld Surf magazine early in his career, was to "win everything." Parkinson's perceived arrogance wasn't helped by his dark-haired model-quality good looks; Australia's Maxim magazine named him "Down Under's Most Eligible Bachelor" in 2003. One year earlier, at 18, he'd taken both the World Junior Championships and the WCT-rated Billabong Pro at Jeffreys Bay, then commented afterward that winning major league surf comps "isn't as hard as it seems."

Parkinson finished his rookie year ranked #21, and took another World Junior title. He opened the 2002 season with a win in front of a Gold Coast home crowd at the Quiksilver Pro, and won the year's final event, the Rip Curl Cup in Hawaii. He was runner-up to Andy Irons for the world title. 

For the next decade, Parkinson, called surfing's "perennial bridesmaid" by The Australian, was a regular world title threat, while the championship dangled maddeningly just out of reach. After finishing second to Irons again in 2004, Parkinson hovered in or near the top five for the next few seasons, then made an all-out blitz for the 2009 title, winning three of the year's first five events, before an ankle injury derailed his campaign. The season came down to the year-end Pipeline Masters, but Parkinson lost early while Fanning stepped in and collected his second world championship.

Parkinson by then had matured into one of the world's most respected and popular surfers, buoyed in part by his three-straight Triple Crown titles. Finally in 2012, Parkinson rode a steady string of top 5 results to make it to the year-end Pipeline Masters ranked #1, with eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater nipping at his heels. Parkinson surfed brilliantly throughout the contest, won the Pipeline Masters trophy handily, and Slater's loss in the semis delivered Parkinson's first world championship. Afterwards, the hyper-fit 32-year-old pro tour vet wore a T-shirt with "I Finally Fucking Won!" printed across the chest. 

His 2013 campaign also saw Parkinson in title contention for the first two-thirds of the season, before eventual champion Mick Fanning and runner-up Kelly Slater pulled away. Parkinson won the Oakley Pro Bali event after collecting a perfect 20-point score in his round five heat, the second 20-point heat of his career.

Parkinson has appeared in dozens of surf videos, including Feeding Frenzy (2000), Momentum: Under the Influence (2001), The Rising (2002), Blue Horizon (2004), Free as a Dog (2006), and Drive Thru Australia (2009).