Joel Parkinson beat Mick Fanning in an all-Australian final of the Quiksilver Pro to claim his first world surfing victory of the year and climb to fourth place in the rankings.
Easily the form surfer of the event, Parkinson put on a tremendous display in the final to defeat compatriot Mick Fanning.
Parkinson scored a total of 15.17 to Fanning’s 7.67 but both surfers were heavily fatigued from battling a current that kept dragging them out of position.
Fanning struggled to find the right spot in the lineup but Parkinson grabbed an excellent ride for an 8.83, managing to score a double tube followed by a huge air.
“I had one of those days where I always felt like I’d do well,” Parkinson said. “I picked a couple of really good waves and surprised myself. I knew that once I was on my wave my surfing would be really good. I guess I was in the rhythm today.”
The result put Parkinson within reach of the world title and the Gold Coaster was suddenly feeling ambitious: “With surfing you can really change things around in one or two events,” Parkinson said. “I had a couple of results at the beginning of the year that weren’t going my way. I felt like I was surfing really good and I think I had a couple of bad decisions. I guess I learned from them and now I’m really feeling a lot better as a surfer and can have a decent crack at it (the title).”
For Fanning the second place was bittersweet. While he would have loved to claim the win, Fanning was pleased for good friend Parkinson to claim a first victory since winning the Boost Mobile Pro in California in 2004.
“If one of your best mates wins it’s just great,” said Fanning. “A second is always good, it looks really good at the end of the year. Last week I lost to Deano (Dean Morrison) in California and this week I lost to Joel. When’s it my turn?”
Seven-time world champion Kelly Slater finished equal third after being dumped by Fanning in the semi-finals. The American had only squeaked past another Australian, Jake Paterson, in the quarter-finals.
Slater remained in the box seat to take the title as third-ranked Andy Irons of Hawaii was also eliminated in the semi-finals, by Parkinson, while second-ranked Australian Taj Burrow crashed out in the third round.
A Slater win in the next event at Mundaka would wrap up the title but failing that, any of Irons, Burrow, Fanning and Parkinson can still mathematically snatch the crown.