Pro Spotlight: Joel Parkinson

I first met Joel last year after he’d just been held up and robbed at the end of a shotgun. He was well on his way to winning the Junior World Title. Now a year later, he’s just won a seat on the WCT and recently purchased a new Holden SS muscle car that was rumored to be a real ass-clincher. He invited TransWorld SURF master-photographer Steve Sherman and me up into his third-floor apartment that overlooks Kirra from the front porch and Rainbow Bay and Greenmount from the back.

Joel was very gracious and humble, even though he’s touted constantly as Australia’s next world champ. After a few runs of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, we got down to business. I pressed record on my taper and nervously tried to roll through some of my moronic questions, all while trying not to sound like a total jackoff.I started with some lame, standard, “surf style” questions to get a feel for him. Then I tried some of my “Aussie style” questions. Parko was a great sport, and he did his best to teach me about Australian surf culture.-C.C.

[IMAGE 3]When I went to interview Joel Parkinson for his Pro Spotlight, I decided to try to relate to him by using some Australian terms and some slang I hoped he could relate to.After studying some of the interviews and stories in Waves magazine and watching endless hours of Aussie television, I had the background and notes to do my best to make Joel feel at home with my tape recorder in his face.

CALLOUTS”On making the WCT It’s kind of changed my life, but it hasn’t changed me as a person.”

“The froth scale measures how much someone torques it up. You know, he’s frothing-he’s got his froth beard on.”

“Chucked a boomerang? Probably not since I was a kid.”

“When I was a little kid, we had one in the back shed. My dad just went, ‘Hey, that’s a redback spider. Look out!'”

How has making the cut on the WCT affected your life?
I don’t think it has at all. Actually, it kind of has. It’s affected my life by changing my plans. That’s pretty much about it. As in what I was thinking I might’ve been doing, now it’s changed my plans of what I hoped to have done. It’s kind of changed my life, but it hasn’t changed me as a person.

Are there any events you’re looking forward to?
Definitely. I can’t wait for the contest at J-Bay. I can’t wait for Tahiti ’cause I’ve never been there. Where else are they?
In Europe or something laughs?
The ones in Australia, for sure.

Who are you going to be traveling with?
Probably travel a fair bit with Nathan Hedge, or whoever. Pretty much most of the Aussie crew. I like traveling with Hedgie ’cause we traveled a bit last year on the ‘QS, so you kind of feel like you started something. So now we’ll take it to the ‘CT.

How do you think the ‘CT party scene will differ from the ‘QS scene?
I don’t know. I’ve never been to a ‘CT party laughing.

Here’s where I started doing a subtle Australian accent.

Who’s more badass, Australian footy players or American football players?
Oh, I’d get killed if I didn’t say Australians! Yeah. I mean, they’re both pretty heavy. I used to write them American players off ’cause they wear all the padding and stuff, but they do get pretty gnarly-they get worked. But so do the Aussie guys.


When was the last time you chucked a boomerang?
Chucked a boomerang?
Probably not since I was a kid.

Who do you reckon does the biggest hacks on the Goldie?
Who do I think does the biggest hacks?

I’m trying to use Australian slang.Cool. Hack, that’s a good one. Biggest hacks?
Just a local guy, Jay Phillips. Jay Phillips has got some pretty crazy hacks.

What does a froth scale measure?
Froth scale laughs?
Have you heard about the froth scale?
On Jay Phillip’s hack?
The froth scale measures how much someone torques it up. You know, he’s frothing-he’s got his froth beard on. You’d jjust say, “Yeah, he’s got the beard on.” “Yeah, you’re frothing, man!”

I learned this one in Waves: Have you ever had your grass cut by a mate when you’re tuning a chick?
Laughing I don’t know. Possibly. Shit, it probably happens right in front of my face. I’m hopeless when it comes to shit like that.

When do you usually start rolling your wheels, and why?
Laughing hard Rolling your wheels! I think that could mean when you start jerking off, or whatever you guys call it.

What does it mean when someone has cags the size of a small bus?
More laughing F-k me?

What’s your favorite kind of sanga?
Ham with my grandma’s tomato relish. It’s really good.

What’s a wallaroo, mate?
A wallaroo?
There’s no such thing. It’s either wallaroo or a kangaroo. Or it could be a football team, The Wallaroos.

Crocodile Dundee Part Three is coming out soon. Are you excited?
Good! I like ’em all.

Ever had to deal with a deadly redback spider?
Yeah. When I was a little kid, we had one in the back shed. My dad just went, “Hey, that’s a redback spider. Look out!”


After talking for a while and seeing racing pictures on the walls, I realized Parko is a total car fanatic. He just got this crazy Holden muscle car that’s all tricked out and cherry. He gave Tory Barron a ride in the day before and he told us we had to get Parko to give us a ride around the block. The thing was a monster-fast, powerful, and in total control. You can tell Joel loves his hot rod.

So how much wrench time have you put in?
Wrench time?

Working on the car.Oh, I don’t know. Not much. I put oil in it this morning.

Do you ever race?
No. I’d like to, but I can’t.

I made up a little quiz of Australian things to give to Parko and he easily aced it. He’s a true Aussie. Right on, mate!

V.B., Four X, or Crown lager?
Crown. I’ll have a Crown right now!

Why do they call the town down the road Surfer’s Paradise?
Because it is. They’ve got the best nightclubs in the world, the best waves just south of it, it’s clean, and there’re good beaches. It’s f-ked, actually laughs. It sucks, it’s very seedy.

How many states are in Australia?

What side of the road do Aussies drive on?
The right.

How many stars are on the Aussie flag?

Who’s Australia’s most famous rock band?

What’s Australia’s main export?

What’re Australia’s police called?

What’s Australia’s main airline?

How long is the plane ride, in hours, from Sydney to LAX?
Fourteen hours, five minutes.

What’s Australia’s favorite pie filling?

Good job, Joel. Thanks and good luck with the frothing hacks on the world tour.I reckon I aced that one.