Inductee - Joel Parkinson

Joel Parkinson

Joel Parkinson


Joel 'Parko' Parkinson is regarded as one of the most naturally gifted and stylish surfers to grace the sport. And his story is a sporting classic.

Joel had finished runner-up for the ASP World Title an astonishing four times between 2002 and 2011, the most heartbreaking of those in 2009 when he led the rankings all year only to injure an ankle in the mid-summer break and lose the world title to best mate Mick Fanning in the final event of the year at Pipeline.

It's a measure of the man that having had the title taken from his grasp only minutes before and broken down in tears, he dusted himself off, pulled himself together, and walked to the water's edge to chair Mick up the beach. But his time would soon come.

In 2012 he went into the last event of the season - the Billabong Pipeline Masters - leading the ratings by a whisker, this time from 11-time world champ Kelly Slater.

In one of the most drama-packed days in pro surfing history, Joel and Kelly traded the lead in the world title race four times, but when Kelly eventually fell short in his semi-final it was Parko who was crowned World Champion. And surfing in an era of superstars, it was certainly a long road to the top. Born in Nambour, Queensland, Joel grew up on the Gold Coast.

He started surfing as a child on his father's board, before the Palm Beach Currumbin State High student started competing with his friends Dean Morrison and Fanning - a childhood that would soon see the trio surfing some of the finest pointbreaks on the planet.

Parkinson, Fanning and Morrison became known as The Coolangatta Kids, and it was in these formative years that he developed his smooth stylings that took him to victory in the ASP World Junior Championship.

The first professional win came at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa in July 1999, where competed as an 18-year-old wildcard in the Billabong Pro, systematically dismantling the world's best surfers and winning the contest in a canter.

It was the start of a stellar career that would see Joel win 12 Tour events at iconic waves like Pipeline, Sunset Beach, Jeffreys Bay, Bells Beach and California, in Bali and at his home break of Snapper Rocks.

He made the ASP/WSL Top 5 on nine occasions, won the Hawaiian Triple Crown three times in a row and featured in dozens of surf movies and magazines.

His career tally is headed by his 2012 world title and four runner-up finishes in 2002, 2004, 2009 and 2011, with his last tour win coming at the Oakley Bali Pro in 2013, where he earned one of the few perfect heats seen in history - masterfully pairing two 10-point rides.

In 2018, Joel graciously made his retirement announcement at Jeffreys Bay in salute to his 1999 wildcard appearance at the peeling right-hander.

And he has shown he is also adept at riding the business wave.

In 2016 Joel and mates Fanning, Bede Durbidge and Josh Kerr established the Balter Brewing Company, which was acquired by Carlton and United Breweries just three years later in 2019.