Parko’s Take

Joel Parkinson on Recovering, Kelly's 10 Titles, and the Thinning of the ASP

Recently sidelined by a nauseating laceration to his foot, Joel Parkinson has had ample time to consider things. From his home on the Gold Coast, with a pair of crutches and more stitches than we care to count, Parko's had to watch as the World Tour's gone on without him. With an onslaught of down days at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, taking the wind out of the World Tour's sails, we rang up Parko to get his take on his recovery, the Teahupoo cut-off, and why he secretly wants Kelly to win the title this year.

So we're about six or so weeks from you slicing up your foot. Where are we at with the recovery?

An always joking Parko, asked the paramedics if they thought he would be able to surf the next day. Photo Shields

An always joking Parko, asked the paramedics if they thought he would be able to surf the next day. Photo Shield

Yeah, well, for the first six weeks I wasn't supposed to do anything at all. Nothing. But about four weeks or so after the surgery I went to the gym and I sort of opened it up a little bit again, and it was pretty painful. I think I made it a little worse. So I went to the doc and he said to take it really easy. Basically, everything that he's said that would happen with my recovery has happened just the way he said it would. He said that after four weeks I'll feel like I can maybe get out a little bit, but that I should really wait until six weeks to actually get out. And that's exactly what's happened and that's where we're at now.

What effect has being away from the tour for the last month or so had on your psyche? Do you ever get depressed?

Ahh, ya know. There have definitely been some hills and valleys...some highs and lows. But you know, the first day that they held J-Bay was the worst. I was looking at the waves and thinking that I really just need to be there and the waves were just so good. It's kinda strange actually...before each event, maybe a day or so before the event starts, my blood always starts to bubble and I always get really anxious. Like, okay, this is it. And I've felt like that before the last two events, even though I'm not surfing in them at all. It's hard.

The last I heard was that you’re looking at making a recovery by October. Is that still the plan?

When I talked to the doctor, he said that I could technically surf in October. And I immediately started thinking that would be perfect for the Search event in Puerto Rico. But then he said that it's really a three-month injury and I'd really be pushing it if I went for that. So, I'm just gonna wait it out and just be back for the Triple Crown in November. I can't tell you how happy I'll be to be back in Hawaii for that.

Now that you're sort of on the outside of the tour for a bit, I'm curious to hear your take on the Teahupoo cut off. Would you say that you are for or against the thinning of the World Tour this year?

I'd say that I'm for it. But it's really a sucky thing to be kicked off the tour. But in the long run, I think it'll be a good thing. But you know, right now, it's gonna be pretty harsh for a lot of people. I'm gonna lose a lot of friends, and you never know, that could be me in one year if I have a bad start. But then the good thing is that six months later, if you have a good run on the PRIMEs and six-stars, you can be back on.

The wave that ended Parko's 2010 World Title hopes. Photo: Shields

The wave that ended Parko's 2010 World Title hopes. Photo: Shield

So now that you're out of contention for a world title this year, who do you want to see win one?

I'd love to see Dean or Andy. But Mick would be good, too. Just because I see how hard he works for it and how bad he wants it. But then, just the thought of Kelly getting 10 would be pretty cool and really good for the sport. I'd probably never say that if I was still on the tour, but his winning 10 would be pretty amazing.