PROFESSIONAL surfer Joel Parkinson with his partner Monica Pagano and their baby daughter Evie soon after her birth
PROFESSIONAL surfer Joel Parkinson with his partner Monica Pagano and their baby daughter Evie soon after her birth

Parkinson plans title assault

By Steve Jancetic

WHEN Coolangatta surfer Joel Parkinson found out he was to become a father for the first time this year, he wrote off his chances of contending for the World Championship Tour (WCT) title. Parkinson decided to skip the WCT events in Tahiti and Fiji to be at home for the birth of his daughter. But a string of top performances propelled him to No.4 in the world and he reassessed his title prospects heading into this week's Boost Mobile Pro at Trestles in California. "When I knew I'd miss those two, I thought I didn't really have a chance," Parkinson said by telephone from California this week. "I kind of thought next year's my year. "But I'm not giving up on this year. I'm going 110 per cent." Parkinson will be able to drop his worst two results, his two no-shows, when the final rankings are tallied but it means he can't afford any more poor events. At Trestles, he will be looking to go one better than in Japan earlier this month when he lost the final to American CJ Hobgood on the last wave. Although conditions weren't too good yesterday when he went for a surf with fellow Tweed Coast surfer Mark Occhilupo, Parkinson was hopeful that conditions would pick up for the start of the event. "It's the closest thing in surfing to a skateboard park. It's a really easy wave to surf," he said. "You really have to light the wave up, make it look exciting, do an aerial and all that stuff, to make the judges sit up and take notice." Parkinson was drawn in the same first-round heat as American Kalani Robb, who showed good form in reaching the semifinals in Japan. Defending twice world champion Andy Irons is leading the points this year from fellow Americans Hobgood and six-time world champion Kelly Slater. Parkinson, who won at Bells Beach in Victoria before he took his three-month break, thinks good friend and former world champion Occhilupo will be the one to watch at Trestles. "The way he's been surfing, he should be a lot higher (in the rankings) than what he is, he's just been unlucky a couple of times," Parkinson said. A total of 23 Australians are in the 48-man field. Unlike other events which have a two-week waiting period for the best surf conditions, contests at Trestles are held on set days due to state park regulations.



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