Parkinson defends Triple Crown
IT mightn’t have been textbook, but Coolangatta kid Joel Parkinson has defended his prestigious Vans Triple Crown in Hawaii – a much deserevd consollation prize for one of 2009’s stand out surfers.
With Tweed Heads stablemate Mick Fanning pipping Parko at the post for the ASP World Title, the talented natural-footer almost watched his TC title follow suit.
A quarter finalist in the Reef Hawaiian Pro (leg one) and victor of the O’Neill World Cup (leg two), Parko was frontrunner for the crown entering the third and final leg – Billabong Pipeline Masters.
Eliminated in the third round however – a defeat that cost him the ASP World Title – the 28-year-old could only watch from the shores as American CJ Hobgood, runner-up in the first leg and the only threat to the title, went head to head with countryman Dane Reynolds in Wednesday morning’s quarter-finals.
Fortunately for Parko though, Reynolds proved too good for his compatriot – who required a top two finish for the title – and Parkinson secured a second straight series title that, as well as the traditional prize money, is this year worth a bonus $50,000 and a $10,000 custom watch.
“This is my consolation prize,” he said.
“To me, the Triple Crown is the next best thing to the World Title.
“Last year I wanted to win the Vans Triple Crown and this year I wanted to win the ASP World Title, but I won the Triple Crown and I’m over the moon with what happened this year.
“I should be proud of everything I’ve done and I can’t wait for next year.
“I’ll be back strong for another Triple Crown in 2010.”
2009 has been one of the most impressive seasons of Parko’s career.
Winning three of the first five events, the silky smooth shredder rampaged to an early season lead.
However, an ankle injury sustained whilst training in Bali slowed the juggernaut run down and opened the door for best mate Fanning to vault into the lead for the world title following an incredible late-season run.