Parko has crowd on the edge
EAGER to make up for lost time, Coolangatta charger Joel Parkinson kick started his 2011 ASP campaign with a runner-up finish at the four-star Breaka Burleigh Pro yesterday.
Showing no lasting signs of the debilitating ankle injury that beached the former world No.2 for much of the 2010 World Tour, Parkinson was content with finishing second to defending champion and reigning World No.3 Taj Burrow.
After a slow start to the final, the three-time Triple Crown winner rallied late in wind-affected one metre performance waves to have the capacity crowd one the edge of the headland.
Third for much of the four-man showdown, Parkinson posted the highest single wave of the final, an excellent 8.23, to leapfrog Currumbin’s World No.5 Bede Durbidge and leave Burrow shaking in his boardies.
It left Parkinson chasing a 7.24 to take the win but he was unable to find a second decent wave in the dying minutes.
“It has been a great warm-up for all of us,” Parkinson said.
“But you know, when you’re in a final with guys like Taj and Bede you really want to win and I was out there chasing the win.
“I needed a decent final ride and it didn’t happen but all up, a great event.
“Taj was always going to be the man to beat in conditions like that.”
It was Burrow’s second consecutive Breaka Burleigh Pro victory and until Pakinson’s late charge he never looked like losing.
Out of the blocks fast, the swift, talented No.1 seed displayed a full repertoire of moves highlighted by his renowned aerial talents to take control of the 40-minute final, building his scores throughout and closing on a 7.57 and 7.9 for a final two-wave tally of 15.47.
“It’s great to win back to back here at Burleigh,” Burrow said.
“Parko came hard at me near the end which made for a tight final and it’s always good to win a quality final like that.
“I certainly hope history can repeat and I follow up next week at the Quiksilver Pro – I’ll take that for sure.
“Burleigh’s an exciting wave, even small like today.
“It’s high performance and you can really surf these waves and score – it’s been another amazing event.”
Bede Durbidge placed third in yesterday’s final ahead of little known Jayke Sharpe.
And all three top-placed surfers look ready for the opening event to the 2011 ASP World Tour.
Preparations for next week’s Quiksilver Pro didn’t go so smoothly though for French world No.9 Jeremy Flores.
Flores was disqualified on Saturday and subsequently not allowed to start his quarter-final when organisers learned that he was involved in an altercation with a local surfer near the contest site.
He reportedly intervened in a fracas in the water between the man and the 16-year-old son of former world champion Sunny Garcia.
The Hawaiian legend also became involved.
However he was not sanctioned by organisers because he had been eliminated in the previous round of the contest.
Police investigations into the incident were continuing yesterday.