Few surfers are connected with a particular wave the way Joel Parkinson is with Jeffreys Bay. To be sure, there have been others: Terry Fitzgerald, Shaun Tomson and Mark Occhilupo come to mind. More recently, Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater and Jordy Smith. Parkinson, like the others, has tapped into the nuances of the wave. He's plugged into the pace of the wave with the rare ability to harness its speed and exploit it to his gain, to appear to slow down the wave in a way only transcendent talents can. "When you come here you realize how big the world is," Parko said, "You really feel like you're apart of the planet."
Yet, even with two event wins to his name (including a landmark title as an 18-year-old wildcard), Parko's J-Bay event victory tally seems low compared to the overall impact of his performances. That could be due to his record 15 event appearances and six trips to the Semifinals. His loss in the 2014 Final to sparring partner Mick Fanning and a runner-up to Taylor Knox in 2008 (that included a perfect 10-point ride) must feel like missed opportunities. But the wave and community still bring a smile to his face. "I love coming here," he said, "the beauty of the place is one reason, the wave is exceptional, the people are amazing and it's got that small town community feel, it's a great place to be."
Despite currently being ranked well inside the top ten at No. 6, Parko thinks he's had an unusual start to the season, saying "I haven't really surfed my best, I've had some kind of unlucky heats, I don't know why it's been going that way." But he remains optimistic, "It'll all change here at this wave... fingers crossed anyway."