His crew hived on a patch of dirt as kids. Up high and set back from the road, the Snapper-to-Kirra panorama was part of the view: the plain to the west, Duranbah due east up the river and the Point to the south. If ever there was a hill on the Gold Coast worth claiming, this was it–and just far enough away from the pack to go unchecked. It was the hangout before and after surfs, a den of mischief by night. Dreams were sown here, not all of them nice.

Joel Parkinson is again hanging up there, as vanguard of the new Australian push. His old mate Dean Morrison too, just 50 yards south. It’s a tale that puts them in freshly-built dream houses on what is now a rich man’s row, complete with twist. In a sitcom sense their mutual neighbor, conservative and having just puffed up at some wild goings-on at Dean’s joint, is now decidedly puffing down into a cloud of depression. Joel has just introduced himself as the new home owner in no uncertain terms. It spells fun for the boys, better than any piggy in the middle they can remember in infant school. The plot will resolve itself after one party too many and Mick Fanning’s booming wealth to the fore, leaving the stunned gent with an offer he cant refuse.

It’s a year since Joel Parkinson was the target of far and away the boldest attempted poaching in the sport’s history; it’s a day before the start of the World Title season; it’s a couple of hours since officially moving into his home. A giant Flatron TV shows a surfing video to an empty lounge room. His girlfriend is asleep upstairs after a Gold Coast Awards banquet that Joel would rather have missed. An American buddy is out to the world in a side room after a hard night. A top-of-the-line V8 is in the garage, one of two. The only magazine lying around is Wheels. — Derek Hynd

SURFER Moving into a place like this gives you all you’ll really need for 10 years. As a kid you used to come here often. Did you envision what it’d be like to one day have it as yours?

PARKO Not at all. There seemed to always be rumors of people buying it. Even my dad tried to get it…but with the land and how big it was he probably figured it was just not worth it.

Going way back this spot probably had a lot of indigenous significance, starting as a likely landmark and fishing lookout.

PARKO Yeah. It feels full of good energy up here.

Well, with one day of the off season remaining does it feel like you’ve had a decent break?

PARKO It’s been, what, two months? I’m glad its over. A month of that was spent partying, which is fine. It’s the only chance I’ve had to wear off the steam. The last two weeks I haven’t done much.