“Be­hind the per­fec­tion of a man’s style, must lie the pas­sion of a man’s soul.”

Tracks - - Parko - Os­car Wilde

How­ever to em­bark on a suc­cess­ful 20-year-ca­reer you have to start think­ing about your surf­ing. For the very best surfers that’s pretty much all they ever think about. “You never switch off, 100 per cent, ev­ery heat, ev­ery train­ing ses­sion,” he says. “You are con­nect­ing the dots ev­ery free surf. It’s such a good feel­ing know­ing I won’t be do­ing that from now on. I’m pulling that out of my surf­ing. I’m not go­ing to be wor­ried about what’s in the first turn, what’s in the se­cond turn and what’s in be­tween. I can’t wait to miss some sec­tions.”

Such is Parko’s ca­sual ap­proach, it’s easy to for­get just how much work and sac­ri­fice has gone into surf­ing and com­pet­ing the way he does. For the ma­jor­ity of his ca­reer it was, mis­tak­enly, taken al­most as a lack of ef­fort. His smooth style and abil­ity to make difficult things looks easy, in­stead of gar­ner­ing more points, ac­tu­ally cost him heats.

“I would be try­ing re­ally hard and I thought the judges weren’t re­ward­ing it be­cause maybe it looked easy or was mis­take free and so there was lit­tle drama in my waves,” he says. “Then I would put my arms out and add a big wing span on the same turn and peo­ple would say, ‘That’s sick.’ I’d be like it’s the same shit. It’s all smoke and mir­rors. Some­times you had to fake it to make it.”

“The king of that is Kelly,” he says, clearly get­ting on a roll. “He’s done so many amaz­ing turns where I swear his board has done the same thing, but he’s put his body in dif­fer­ent po­si­tion and made it look amaz­ing and dif­fer­ent. He’s won heats and events do­ing that. He’s the mas­ter of dis­guise. Occ was pretty good at it, just a well­timed hair-flick was worth a point.”

A lot was made of the phys­i­cal transformation made in the years be­fore Joel won his world ti­tle. And in­deed it was dra­matic. With Wes Berg on board Parko un­der­took the first sys­tem­atic train­ing regime of his life. His diet too was un­packed. Beers, one his great pas­sions, was re­placed by tea. That World Ti­tle year of 2012 was built on herbal tea. His whole life be­came about dis­ci­pline and plan­ning, not tra­di­tion­ally Parko’s strong points.

Photo: Shields.

Parko the tube mas­ter rel­ish­ing the chal­lenge posed by a green beast with a few kinks and bumps.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.