Parko's champ hopes dashed
JOEL Parkinson's agonising injury on the eve of the next ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro at J-Bay South Africa starting today, has been a cruel blow to the defending champion and last year's World Champion runner-up.
Last Friday Parko pulled into what he called “one of the most perfect waves” he'd ever taken on at his home break at Snapper Rocks.
Parkinson is a master at taking off behind the rock, pulling in behind an exploding lip exasperated by the sideways backwash that runs diagonally off the rock and then meets the oncoming wave with a dramatic double-up effect.
The wave actually doubles in size, creating a cannonball spit where nine times out of 10, Parko will disappear from view surfing behind the foam ball and then successfully reappear to the howls of delight from both the spectators on the rocks and the surfers looking on from the water.
He's done the Harry Houdini time and time again at Snapper but last Friday he caught a rail which sent him tumbling inside and knowing that he was in trouble, he dived forward to clear himself from his board. Unfortunately, his board jackknifed with the fin viciously chopping into the heel of his right foot.
“It totally severed his heel,” said his brother-in-law Mark “Richo” Richardson who added, “It was one of the worst fin chops I've ever seen.”
The cut was so deep that when Parko felt his wound, his fingers disappeared inside the cut and he could feel his ankle.
He was assisted from the water by friends including Hawaiian sparring partner Andy Irons and rushed to John Flynn Hospital where he underwent immediate surgery with 37 stitches.
“It was at least 5cms deep with 10 stitches across the top and 27 on the inside, his tendons were ripped to threads but luckily there was no nerve damage but he was left in a lot pain especially after the surgery,” Richo said.
He said there had been overwhelming support for Joel, who was itching to compete again after a three month break.
“All the young family kids came to visit him in hospital including his two daughters Eve and Macy, plus his nephew Ty and Occy sons Jay and Jonah. He is so thankful for all the support he has received and is hoping to compete next month in Tahiti.”
Parkinson checked out of hospital on Sunday afternoon and was told it would take three months for his injury to heal.
It's uncanny that it's the same right foot that put him out of a World title comp when he broke his ankle in August 2009 at Bali.
“He was so fit going into J-Bay and for this to happen a second time, I'd like to think that he will be three times lucky and this will help to prepare for next year's World title,” Richo said.
The other big thing for the 27-year-old father of two is that his wife Monica is expecting a third child in October and a baby boy.
South Africa's Jordy Smith and World number two is probably the most deadly threat to Kelly Slater's 10th World title. The Durban powerhouse with all the new modern moves is in red hot form after winning the five-star Mr Price in South Africa. I'm tipping that Jordy will win his first J-Bay final and the World title will be between Slater and Smith and that's no disrespect to Mick Fanning. The former winner at J-Bay will also be a deadly contender.