Crown is no Pipe dream

Parko backs mate to claim maiden world ti­tle

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT - MUR­RAY WENZEL

RE­TIR­ING Joel Parkin­son says it's a mat­ter of when, not if, Ju­lian Wil­son joins him as a world surf­ing cham­pion.

The Queens­land pair will brave the famed Ban­zai Pipe­line in Hawaii’s sea­son-end­ing World Surf League event from Sun­day morn­ing.

If Wil­son, equal sec­ond on the se­ries lad­der, wins the Bil­l­abong Pipe Masters and leader Gabriel Me­d­ina doesn’t make the fi­nal the 30-year-old will win a maiden world ti­tle. Parkin­son will farewell the tour af­ter 18 years at the break he con­quered to win his lone ti­tle six years ago.

Run­ner-up on four other oc­ca­sions, Gold Coast’s Parkin­son knows how hard it is to win one but says Wil­son is ready.

“He’d make small er­rors and it’d cost him a heat,” the 37-year-old said. “But his con­sis­tency, ma­tu­rity, mental tough­ness ... he’s ironed out the brain fart mo­ments in a heat where it goes bad.

“Whether it hap­pens this year or next; he’s in his prime and I think be­tween 30-33 is the best time when you still have your youth but you’ve been on tour for some time.”

Wil­son won the sea­sonopener on the Gold Coast de­spite bat­tling a se­ri­ous shoul­der in­jury and his round nine win in France shot him into se­ri­ous ti­tle con­tention.

He is the only non-Brazil­ian to win a leg this year, with Me­d­ina and Filipe Toledo (equal sec­ond with Wil­son) both more than ca­pa­ble of carv­ing up the Hawai­ian break to se­cure the ti­tle.

But the un­pre­dictable na­ture of Pipe means there are no cer­tain­ties, while the with­drawal of de­fend­ing world cham­pion John John Florence – he had hoped to re­turn from in­jury at his home event – is an­other plot twist.

Parkin­son can win a fourth Triple Crown of Surf­ing –a revered side-event made up of two lower-level Hawai­ian lead-up events and the Pipe Masters – and ideally help his mate out by de­feat­ing a Brazil­ian on the way next week.

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