Parkinson Defeats Fanning To Reclaim World Junior Crown
Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia (Thursday, Nov 8) Elite top 45 surferand 1999 event winner Joel Parkinson (Aus) today reclaimed his throne bysecuring the 2001 Billabong World Junior Championships. Up against closefriend and 2002 World Championship Tour (WCT) member elect, Mick Fanning(Aus), ‘Parko’ topped off a brilliant junior career in his last eligibleattempt, pocketing US$6,000 along with the prestigious crown.
Offshore 4-5 foot (1.5m) waves persisted throughout the morning at KilcundaBeach, approx. 10-minutes drive from Phillip Island, with the entire contestsetup, including surfers, judges, officials, media and spectators alike, allmaking the move.
Parkinson, 20, who accepted a wildcard position as the event’s top seed, wasalways a favorite. With one junior world title already to his credit and themost WCT experience in the field, many expected this result. Pitted againstFanning in the final, however, he was forced to elevate even his own act.
After only 30-seconds into the 35-minute decider, ‘Parko’ picked off thebest ride of the entire event to be rewarded a near-perfect 9.5 for hisdisappearing act within the wave’s barreling section, as well as thecloseout re-entry and then weightless floater he executed. From there hewaited patiently for his remaining scores, and even lost the lead, buteventually sealed victory with a 7.65 at the 30-minute mark.
“Thanks, yeah definitely,” exclaimed Parkinson, upon exiting the water andhearing the comment it was a storybook finish to his junior career. Then,when asked about his amazing first wave, responded, “I actually paddled outbefore the final and a saw a good right-hander, so I knew I was looking forone of those. Then that set came and I got into it (laughs). When I heard9.5 (announced) I was like, ‘here we go!’ I thought I had a bit of a lead onhim, but then he came back. I shouldn’t have ever thought I had Mick.
“I’d hate to say I have more experience than Mick ’cause he’s prettyincredible, but I’m happy with the man-on-man format and we’re going to bedoing a lot more of it in the future,” he added, since this was their firsthead-to-head clash. “It just won’t be for a world junior contest, that’s all(more laughs). I couldn’t ask for a better end to my junior career.Actually, I couldn’t have asked for a better junior career. It was prettyall-time.
“I thought Mick would be in the finals as all the way through he was the manto beat,” he continued. “I had a pretty tight semi, but I got there and gaveit everything and am pretty stoked.”
Fanning, the current runner-up on the World Qualifying Series (WQS) andwinner of the year’s first WCT event as a wildcard, at nearby Bells Beach,appeared unstoppable throughout the tournament. The 20-year-old top scoredduring most rounds, which included the highest combined tally of 24.4-pointsin the fourth. He was equally dynamic on the left-handers he opted forduring the final, but these proved not enough against Parkinson’s firstright.
“I saw him drop into it and thought, ‘Oh, here we go,'” explained Fanning.”Then nothing else really came. I thought it would be possible to come back,but it took me half the heat to get that 7.65. I just couldn’t find anythingbetter.
“Yeah, at one point,” he joked when it was pointed out he did hold the leadmid-way through. “As soon as he got the 9.5 I knew I had to get a couple of8’s or something similar, but it didn’t happen. You get that, but I’m stillstoked.”
Finishing equal third today in the Billabong World Junior Championships andadding to the Australian domination was Kirk Flintoff and current two-time(2000 & ’01) Australasian Junior champ Adrian Buchan. Both 19-year olds havethe chance of qualifying again in 2002 and possibly finishing even higher,especially given the absence of those who eliminated them this year.
Flintoff was in fine form all week, giving Parkinson a good run for hismoney in the first semifinal. DDespite utilizing the lefts on his forehand,the goofy footer required a 6.61 when the siren sounded.
“I knew if I got the right waves and surfed well I had a chance of beatinghim, but it wasn’t the case,” acknowledged Flintoff. “Parko surfed too well.He’s a hard one to beat, bit I’m still stoked with third.”
Buchan, who seemed a dark horse for the title, following his decisive winover Dane Johnson (USA) in their quarterfinal this morning, also gaveFanning a real test in their semifinal. Being another goofy footer, he stuckto the lefts throughout and trailed, only to finally pick off a right at theend for his best score of 8.0. At this point he required another 7.51 toadvance.
“It’s a bit of shame not to make the final, but it just didn’t happen,” saidBuchan. “I didn’t use priority to my advantage a couple of times. To finish3rd to Mick and Joel… I’m stoked. It’s been a great contest and I’m stokedto end up in the semifinals and lose to one of the best two surfers.
“Hopefully next year I’ll be back and give it another shot,” he continued.”This was the first time in a man-on-man format, so it was good experience.”
The quarterfinals this morning saw more of the international contingentrepresented, with current two-time (2000 & ’01) European Junior champ PabloGutierrez (Spn), Bruno Santos (Brz), Sean Moody (Haw) and Johnson all tiedfor equal fifth.
A presentation then took place at the Phillip Island Boardriders club,before most of the world’s best surfers, aged 20-years and under, beganmaking their way to Hawaii for the last WQS event of the season, beginningnext week.
Official Results of the 2001 Billabong World Junior Championships
1st Joel Parkinson (Aus) 23.55 – US$6,000
2nd Mick Fanning (Aus) 20.4 – $3,200
Semifinals (2nd place getter finishes equal 3rd and receives US$2,700)
SF1: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 20.80 def. Kirk Flintoff (Aus) 19.4
SF2: Mick Fanning (Aus) 22.25 def. Adrian Buchan (Aus) 20.4
Quarterfinals (2nd place getters finish equal 5th and receive US$1,400)
QF1: Kirk Flintoff (Aus) 19.25 def. Pablo Gutierrez (Spn) 13.15
QF2: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 20.0 def. Bruno Santos (Brz) 17.75
QF3: Mick Fanning (Aus) 18.5 def. Sean Moody (Haw) 16.15
QF4: Adrian Buchan (Aus) 21.05 def. Dane Johnson (USA) 15.7