After the latest round of foot surgeries and a few weeks on the coach, the prognosis on Joel Parkinson's return to surfing is…well, it's not great. We'll let him explain it.
Words: Nathan Myers
SURFING: What's the status on the injury.
JOEL PARKINSON: Well, the cut was real bad. But it's really the fact that I severed through the muscle that holds the arch of my foot and the tendon behind that, the one that holds all your toes in line. So, basically, I severed through that tendon and that muscle, so my arch was split in two. That's the part that's gonna take a long time to heal.
The photos look like something out of a First Aid manual.
It's not pretty. But the surgeon was stoked on how it all went. The cut is already healed real good, but the hard part is that I can't stand on it for six weeks. That's how long it's gonna take to heal 'cause I've severed through the muscles and tendons. It all has to bind back together before I can walk.
So, how long 'til you're surfing again?
The doctor said I won't surf until the 9th of October. He says, "It'll feel like you're standing on needles and you won't surf well, but you'll be back in the water and a few months later you'll be back to surfing without pain." I'm really just hoping to come back for Triple Crown. If I can make it to Hawaii I'll be stoked.
How do keep from going insane?
Ah, just day-to-day. Set new little goals every day.
You have a baby on the way, right?
Yeah, that's one bonus. If it had come down to the title or seeing the baby be born, I was gonna go for the title. I'd come to terms with it that. But now I'm not going anywhere. That's the one blessing. Maybe that's my son talking to me going, "You can't not be there." The fact that he's due on October 10th and the doctor says I can surf on October 9th…I'm thinking, That's weird.
Describe the moment it happened.
I was in the barrel and the foam-ball picked me up and just as it picked me up, it pushed me forward and I just dove with it. It didn't hit me that hard, just kinda sliced past my leg and I was like, "Whoa, that might have nicked me." So I felt down to my foot and all four fingers just went right up into my foot, 'cause my heel was just dangling off. And then I lifted my leg out of the water and looked at it and my heel was two inches lower. And I just went, "Fuck off!" Blood was spurting all over. I copped the next two waves on the head and got washed in, and then it was all over.
Do you think about Mick's injury fueling his comeback to win a world title?
Yeah, I have been. The feeling of being immobile is not good. It's like, I still have so much pain to go through before I can surf again. And I go, "Mick did it; so can I." But fuck, after everything that happened last year, didn't I go through enough?
Sucks to lose that momentum again.
Mate, I was feeling so good. I trained up. I was really, really fit. I almost started backing away from my training and just focusing on my heats. I couldn't surf enough. I was like a man possessed the last few months, just trying to get a result. And then it all just went pear-shaped.
All for a reason?
All for a reason.
What's on TV?
Watching the footy right now. Pretty much all I can do.
[Get the latest from Joel sitting on his couch, watching TV and reading fishing magazines at: http://joelparko.com/ ]