Joel Parkinson - Where's north from here?
This Monday, Joel Parkinson will board a plane on the Gold Coast and fly to Hawaii, land at Honolulu Airport, and drive to the North Shore. It'll be the 12th time he's made the trip as a WT surfer. And, maybe the last time as a man who doesn't own a world title. He's been close. He's finished second in the world four times. Twice to Andy Irons, once to Mick Fanning and once to Kelly Slater. He now faces the latter two in a Pipeline decider for this year's title. But Joel is relaxed. Consistency is a warm blanket. He's had a quarters-or-better for every result of the year (counted, that is) and, if all falls into place, that's where he'll be at Pipe. And probably, so too will Kelly. And then it's the battle of the highest placegetter! Does Joel deserve this title? Can a man win a legitimate world title without a contest victory? Is he worried about the greatest surfer who ever lived? These are the things Stab had to know. So, we called and found Joel driving through Coolangatta with his son.