In a showdown at some sweet and sour looking Banzai Pipe, Joel Parkinson took his first world title after about a dozen close shaves with greatness. The title was his when Kelly Slater fell to Kerzy in the semi-final, but he put the whole thing to bed with a win at Pipe as well. A good day for the Aussie for sure. But why hasn't Parko won the title until now? He possesses all the speed and the progressive maneuvers and the consistency, but there's something that has prevented him from grabbing the top honor.
Sure, he had some injuries and some bad runs of luck over the years, but the biggest problem in my opinion is that he is just too smooth. Too stylish. Even in his early days, his style didn't fit in with the amped out gyrations and flailing recoveries other surfers were using to make their surfing look "harder". Instead, Parko kept his cool in every move and stayed controlled with every turn. Even today, he almost looks like he's longboarding at times, standing tall and "wasting" precious face time with elongated cutbacks and even longer bottom turns. He embellishes his old school approach with progressive airs and slides and somehow makes it all look easy. But finally, the understated regular foot has silenced his detractors and won the big event. If you've ever seen the guy surf in person, you know he is one the best surfers on the planet, but now he has the title to prove it. After a series of great sessions in surfing's most challenging arena, Parko is this year's victor. Congrats to him and congrats to Sebastian Zietz for his Triple Crown win.