“He most hon­ours my style who learns un­der it to de­stroy the teacher.”

Tracks - - Parko - Walt Whit­man

It’s un­sur­pris­ing that in those years Parko’s style icon was Tom Cur­ren. No one then or since, and Parko might have the best claim, has surfed with the grace and tim­ing of Cur­ren. To that Parko tried, and suc­ceeded, to add some clas­sic Aussie grunt to his de­vel­op­ing style.

“I re­ally tried to em­u­late Cur­ren, but I also loved the rail game of Hoyo,” Parko says. “Ba­si­cally I was into any­one that held a line through their turns. Also when I was about 16 I started get­ting into airs and so watched any­one who was good. Guys like Archy for ex­am­ple.”

It’s not a bad mix of styles to throw into the blender. Add the points, the peers and the DNA and it was fairly clear by Parko’s mid-teens that the world had a special tal­ent on its hands.

By 1996 the Cooly kids were dom­i­nat­ing the Aus­tralian Ju­nior Se­ries and by the time Parkin­son was 18 his spon­sors knew he was ready for the world stage. In July 1998 he was given his first CT wild­card for the Bil­l­abong J-Bay Open.

“It was six foot and per­fect from Bone­yards to Im­pos­si­bles, I pad­dled out through the key­hole, caught my first wave and that was it. I was gone. I lost my mind,” says Parkin­son. “Next thing I was stand­ing there on stage hold­ing the tro­phy, not sure what had just hap­pened.”

He also looks back then when he was right on the cusp of em­bark­ing on a se­nior pro­fes­sional ca­reer as a special time in the de­vel­op­ment of his surf­ing style. “My style has changed so much from to­day to what I was be­fore I was tour bound,” he says. “I look back to that time when I was 17 or 18 and that was when I was surf­ing as nat­u­rally as I ever have. It was pure in­stinct. There was no surf­ing to a cri­te­ria or rep­e­ti­tion through drills. You didn’t think about your surf­ing, you just did it.”

Photo: Bosko

Main: Gold Coast tube run with an Egyp­tian twist. Photo: Swilly In­set: An early visit from the style po­lice helped Parko iron out any bugs in his ap­proach.

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