Parko proves point in surf

THE umpire's decision is final - except in surfing. An angry Joel Parkinson, forced to re-surf his heat against fellow Australian Luke Hitchings because of a relatively unimportant error from the judges, still managed to dominate the Boost Mobile Pro in California yesterday to reach the quarterfinals of the World Championship Tour (WCT) event at Lower Trestles. Parkinson, telling himself it's now or never in his quest for this year's world title, was joined in the last eight by Gold Coaster Luke Egan, Danny Wills, Darren O'Rafferty and Nathan Hedge. Also making it through was six-times world champion Kelly Slater, using a new lightweight board he calls 'The Bling'. Parkinson thrashed out a near-perfect opening wave of 9.93 points to take care of Hitchings for the second time in as many days. Their original heat, also won by Parkinson, was declared null and void when the judges decided they had erred in their awarding of wave priority. In any other sport, the result would stand. Justice done against Hitchings, Parkinson returned to the water in glassy 1.5m waves to post a 9.73 against Brazilian Peterson Rosa and capitalise on the early departure from the event of world No.1 Andy Irons. "I was pretty fired up when I heard I had to resurf with Hitcho," Parkinson said. "But I figured the best option was to cop it on the chin. I've got a lot riding on this event. If I lose, there goes my world title." Parkinson, the world No.4, skipped back-to-back events at Tahiti and Fiji earlier this year for the birth of his first child, Evie. WCT competitors drop their worst two results when the rankings are decided at the end of the year, giving Parkinson hope but leaving him with no margin for error.

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