2009 Quiksilver Pro: Final Day Redux

Out on the road, opportunities arise, travel plans change, and contacts call from the highway saying they're turning around for you, and that if you don't want to miss your ride 9 hours south to Newcastle, you'd better be ready to go right quick. Sometimes these things happen when there's an important surf contest building to a crescendo on the final day of the waiting period, and sometimes quality reporting is sacrificed in the name of the next assignment. It's unacceptable, so to give the ending of the Quiksilver Pro its due attention, here is the final day redux: The Significance of Joel Parkinson's victory.

Way back in Round 1, when the waiting period seemed inexhaustible and Slater was still a smart Fantasy pick, a pretty exciting heat hit the water at Duranbah. The three-man, thirty-minute display was especially good viewing for the following constituencies:

* Regularfoots (Naturalfoots)
* Fans of good style
* Australians
* Americans
* The Momentum Generation
* Kelly's detractors
* Power surfers

Who could please all these groups at once but Taylor Knox – Captain America, oldest man on tour and author of the rail surfing textbook; and Joel Parkinson – Coolie's own style maestro and one from the short list of potential title usurpers to Robert Kelly Sla10.

But neither icon came away from the heat victorious: Knoxy was passed up by The Third Man, Jay Thompson, who snatched a necessary 5.67 with 44 seconds to go for the upset. Parko came last, storming up the beach in frustration and ignoring requests for photos and autographs en route to the competitors' area. Now note, even Wardo stopped to sign a few t-shirts after losing prematurely in Round 2. Wardo. Obviously, Joel was not a happy camper.

Remember how Matt Damon had attachment issues in Good Will Hunting? How he pushed away those he loved so as not to be hurt when they left him or disappointed him, as they ultimately would because all things pass? Remember? Maybe Kelly is doing that now. A lot of people think he is; they say he plays it cool and acts like he doesn't care about the tour because such an attitude makes it easier to brush off the pain of loss. It's certifiable.

Parko is NOT doing that. Parko wants to win, and he'll tell you that to your face if you can get it close enough to his (not an easy feat; he's got a busy face). Joel took his heartbreaking, last-second loss to {{{CJ}}} Hobgood at Mundaka in 2008 and poured it like kerosene over his competitive fire. He skipped Brazil, trained like Oscar De La Hoya and showed up in Hawaii with a very clear, well-articulated goal: to win the Triple Crown. No beating around the proverbial Naupaka bush when he got to the North Shore; he was there for the cup. And he got it, along with wide acknowledgement as the season's standout surfer (again, not an easy feat; everyone in the surf universe is there competing for attention).

A recent interview with ASL's Chris Binns contained the following exchange:

You went over to Hawaii this year openly wanting to win the Triple Crown and it worked. Reckon that approach might be worth employing again, say, for this year's world title?

JP: For sure man, I worked hard for it. I set a goal and instead of just surfing heats and contests I actually strived for something and I was really stoked when I got it. It definitely made success sweeter.

Elsewhere, Joel reiterated, "It wasn't just about surfing for me. Every year I set myself goals but I haven't really focused on doing everything I could to reach them. I didn't work for them, I just surfed for them. It takes more than that, I think."

So now here's a man possessed in 2009, having thrown his cards on the table and put it out there that this is the best he can do. And he gets last in his first heat! Quite a kick in his well-defined, Wes Berg-trained stomach. Hence, to come back and win the Quik Pro showed a special sort of ment