In an interview with Gold Coast Bulletin yesterday, the former world champ revealed he nearly drowned while surfing close to home last weekend during the first big swell of 2014. The incident occurred when his leash became caught on some rocks underwater, preventing him from resurfacing until finally the leg rope gave way.

"I only had about 10 ­seconds of air left." he told the Gold Coast Bulletin "It scared the absolute ­bejesus out of me."

While Parko refrained from disclosing the exact location of where he was surfing (he'd like to surf there again), a photo from his Instagram stream shows him frothing for the big swell (with new jetski in the background) after an extended flat spell coming into the new year had left him hungry for waves.

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"All pumped for the 1st real swell of 2014" instaspamed Parko to his fans.

In other news, Parko just extended his long-term contract with major sponsor Billabong. He's been with them since he was 11 years old (first signing back in 1992!) and will now remain a key part of the team for the foreseeable future.

“I’m over the moon to know I will continue to be partnered with Billabong for many years to come," said Parkinson from his home on the Gold Coast. “I’ve felt like I’ve been a part of a great big surfing family since I was a scrawny 11-year-old grom. When I got my first Billabong team sticker on my board it was one of the biggest moments of my life at the time, and I am happy and proud to still be flying that flag all these years later. It’s been a really good partnership for a long, long time, it’s helped me get to places I could never have dreamed, and I am seeing a lot of good things still to come in the future."

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Joel-Parkinson