You knew the 30-something brigade couldn’t keep it up forever. Taj, Bede, Mick, all called it a career in the last few years, and now Parko will also take a bow and gracefully exit stage left.
He announced on Instagram overnight that he’ll be retiring at the end of the year.
“The Pipe Masters in December will be my last event. The fire just hasn’t been there for awhile now and I never want to surf without it, so it’s time to go look for it somewhere else,” he said on Instagram. “That means one last lap of the tour and I can’t wait to catch up with a lot of old friends and get a few waves along the way…starting this week at J-Bay.”
Parko walked onto stage from seemingly nowhere and won the 1999 J-Bay event as a junior few outside of Australia had heard of. Needless to say, the place has a special pull on the handsome Coolangattan’s heart, so he chose this event to announce his retirement. “This is where it all started for me,” he said, “and that’s why I wanted it to be here in J-Bay to let you know this will be my last year on tour.”
He won his long-deserved World Title in 2012, and has a dozen trophies from World Tour event wins blinging up the living room. Parko’s also a Triple Crown winner and a two-time World Junior Champ.
There will be plenty more to come, but for now, take a minute to raise a glass to the syrupy smooth Parko, a generational talent, who will be missed on tour.
The first time I went to J-Bay was 19 years ago. I was just a kid back then. I’d just finished last in a contest in Reunion, turned up at J-Bay with a toothache, but then got my first glimpse of the wave and the pain went away. It was six foot and perfect from Boneyards to Impossibles, I paddled out through the keyhole, caught my first wave and that was it. I was gone. I lost my mind. Next thing I was standing there on stage holding the trophy, not sure what had just happened, but I knew I’d found my second home. This is where it all started for me on tour, and that’s why I wanted to be here in J-Bay to let you know that this will be my last year on tour. The Pipe Masters in December will be my last event. The fire just hasn’t been there for a while now and I never want to surf without it, so it’s time to go look for it somewhere else. The tour has given me so much. So many memories, so many friends, the chance for my kids to see the world, but it’s time to move on to the next chapter. That means one last lap of the tour and I can’t wait to catch up with a lot of old friends and get a few waves along the way… starting this week at J-Bay.
A post shared by Joel Parkinson (@joelparko) on Jul 1, 2018 at 9:29pm PDT