In terms of board and body control, a natural, unified flow of man and vehicle, few in the history of surfing match Parko‘s mojo. Photo: PS/A-Frame
Few will forget his performance at J-Bay as an 18-year-old wildcard. In an event in which Parko initially tried to give up his place to Kelly Slater (who was not on tour at that point – he declined the offer), the Coolangatta grom won the event in spectacular circumstances, schooling tour veterans with a clinic of point break surfing. It would be one of many for Parko at the famous break, marking him as a master of speed and pure lines. Equal parts Curren and MR, though with a fluency and certain poetry to his surfing that is all his own, Parko mixes style and progression like few others in the sport have done. He is another product of the famed Coolangatta points, coming of age at a time when fellow locals and soon-to- be two time world champ Mick Fanning and former World Tour surfer Dean Morrison were making their rise. Parko’s natural talent and sublime timing remains the foundation for what is undeniably one of the most complete surfing attacks in history, but for a while it looked as though it would fail to yield him a world title. A four-time runner up (equalling Cheyne Horan’s unenviable record), he had a seemingly unassailable lead in 2009 only to suffer a debilitating ankle injury halfway through the season while trying to fashion himself an aerial repertoire away from competition. He ended up losing the title in dramatic circumstances at Pipeline that year against good friend Mick Fanning. He’s barely tried an air since, instead further refining what is already the best rail game in surfing. He eventually won that coveted world title last year, beating the greatest of all time Kelly Slater in a dramatic final day crescendo at Pipeline that saw the ratings lead change hands four times.
The reigning ASP World Champ basks in his win at the Oakley Pro Bali 2013. Photo: Joli