Joel Parkinson has won the GoPro Challenge Europe edition, which scores him a cool $10k, and some cinematic distinction. While it was his first-ever submission to the contest-within-a-contest, his approach stood out. A panel of five judges -- two from GoPro and three from the World Surf League -- looked at 11 videos, but it was Parko's tube from the banks of Hossegor that had that certain je ne sais quoi.
The GoPro Challenge asks competing World Surf League (WSL) athletes to submit their own GoPro videos from the competition venue and surrounding areas, with clips accepted starting two days prior to the contest window and no later than the conclusion of the event.
The winning video was selected by a panel of five judges -- three from the WSL staff and two from GoPro -- based on cinematography, degree of difficulty of shooting, perspective and overall beauty and lighting. Each requirement held equal weight.
Parkinson just wrapped the European leg of the tour, which included the Quiksilver Pro France and the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal. He finished in 25th place in France and ninth in Portugal -- not his best results, but he was philosophical about how things went.
"They called it off right after my heat," he said of his Round Five loss. "It's hard because the conditions change so quick. It looked like there were some waves but by the time we got out, you couldn't find anything. The hardest thing was watching it that afternoon and it was pumping. ...But you know, you take what's in front of you."
And as for his GoPro success? Parko's pleased with his first-timer's win -- but isn't going to quit his day job.
The Australian tour veteran described his cinematic future as "minimal to none. I don't see myself as a camera guy but I do it often enough. More at home. Kirra and a lot of places that we have, there's a lot of long, perfect barrels."
Catch Parkinson competing next at the QS10,000 Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach, Oahu, followed by the Billabong Pipe Masters, December 8 - 20.