International footwear brand Kustom has collaborated with world championship tour surfer Joel Parkinson to design a new signature surf shoe. The ‘Parko’, developed over six months by the Kustom product and sales & marketing teams in co-operation with team rider Parkinson, pays tribute to the boardriding club that kick-started his competitive career.

The shoe is available in three colour schemes, being black, white or black/white/orange – the colours of his beloved Snapper Rocks Board Riders Club on the Gold Coast. “I’m not a shoe designer by any means!" joked Parkinson. “But I am glad Kustom gave me the opportunity to work on a shoe and give my input. I’m pretty excited for it to hit the shelves.

“Snapper is my roots, it’s where I grew up surfing. The boardriders’ club colors are black, white and orange and they are my favorite color combination. I’m away from home so often these days, but now I get to take a piece of Snapper with me every time I travel!"

In recognition of the support Parkinson was once afforded as an emerging junior talent, every sale of the Parko shoe will return a dividend to youths and junior surfing. One per cent of global sales of the Parko shoe will be donated to a Kustom-Parko program, which is designed to encourage youths or help launch the careers of emerging young talent from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“If I can give back to surfing through this program and give some kid an opportunity where they may never have got it, I’ll be stoked!" said Parkinson. During Parko’s travels around the world he will scout for eligible junior talent, particularly those who may never have the opportunity to succeed unless someone recognises their talent and believes in them.

Parko will then recommend the young chargers to the programme committee – consisting of Parkinson, Kustom global marketing manager Brad Bricknell, legal counsel Julian Blanchard and International Sports Management’s Bree Andrews – for funding consideration. Kustom’s Brad Bricknell said the combination of a signature shoe linked to the new support program was a coup for the brand.

“Parko really embraced this concept and it made our jobs easy in putting the whole program together," he said. “It’s a landmark event in the history of the brand and credit needs to go to the whole team for pulling it off."

The signature series is due to hit Australian retail stores in February ahead of a planned international rollout in the first half of 2007. The Parko shoe will be available in selected surf stores across Australia.

www.kustomfootwear.com