“Style is character.”
“When I’m surfing for pleasure the aim is to surf without glitches,” he says. “I don’t want to catch water or have water coming over my rails and have it neat and nice. For me it was never about going the biggest or craziest, but surfing hard and feeling satisfied to finish a wave where I didn’t catch and have to rectify a mistake which means you were forced into a decision.”
Parkinson is now looking to evolve that approach outside of the rigid confines of the tour. With Parko able to fully express himself, to surf his own lines, in his own way, style wise, the next phase of career might be incredible.
“I’ll tell you now I’m not riding a standard 6’2” squaretail for a long time if ever,” he says. “I’ve been on the same boards for 20 years. I’m hoping I will be surfing better waves with a bit more freedom next year. I’m loving Foil boards, like addicted, and I can experiment and see what happens with my style. It’s really exciting to think about where I can go with my surfing.”
His style has become one of the sport’s templates for making surfing timeless and classic. It’s also a reflection of the man himself. For most of us our surfing style represents a deeply personal part of who we are and the way we like to be perceived. Joel is no different.
“I agree that there’s definitely a link between the way you surf in the water and the way you act on land,” he says. “I mean look at Mick, he’s pretty technically sound and he’s a guy who is a deep thinker who’s always trying to be clinical and make the right decision. I think he does the same with his surfing. With me I think the emphasis has always been on enjoyment. I enjoy life, I like having fun and I hope that shows in my surfing.”
Where Parko will be spending most of his time in retirement.