Chris Binns caught up with Parko at Bells to talk all things Margaret River in the count down to the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
Oh for sure, definitely. I was coming off a win at home and I remember thinking back then that you can never back it up, and I went and backed it up! I was over the moon after that, and it still holds a really special place in my heart, it's amazing to this day to walk up the stairs at Margaret River and see your name alongside all the other winners. I always trip out when I come in from a surf and see that and think, 'I've done it before, why can't I do it again?'
Are you excited to surf at The Box this year if you get the chance?
Absolutely, that heat was one of the most fun ones I surfed all year long. I got one heat out there against Filipe Toledo, and it wasn't even pumping Box and it was still amazing. It turns the field on its head if we go over there as well, it's exciting, it's what people want to see, and it's exactly what surfers want to surf. Couldn't be happier to run heats out there.
Tell us about the whole Western Australian experience.
Where do you start? The rawness of it all, the power of the ocean, there's nothing between West Oz and Africa! There are so many elements, the long drives, the bigger boards, hiking in to waves. It's not like pulling into the car park and paddling out like we do on the east coast, you're in the elements. Up north is amazing too. Amazing.
These days you're one of the oldest guys on tour, but you're also one of the fittest. How much more of a factor is looking after yourself on tour these days?
You can't overrate it. I just had a heat at Bells that was such hard work, and every factor, the cardio, catching waves, jumping on and off the skis, you just have to be on top of your fitness. It's not so much surfing for 30 minutes, anyone can do that, but it's the repetition of finals day; surfing four or five heats and knowing that you'll have something left in the tank at the end of it all.
A prime example is when Mick Fanning and I fought out the final at J-Bay last year. Mick's easily one of the fittest guys on tour but we'd both surfed four times in big waves, lots of paddling, really hard work, and we were both starting to cramp up. You know after four heats in big solid waves, really digging deep, it really starts to take its toll.
There's a mental edge that comes from knowing you've got something left to give, you've done it before, been there, and can do it again. There's the emotion of it too, keeping yourself on point and knowing you can take a beating. Not necessarily just at a marathon like J-Bay, but even at a shorter more intense wave like Teahupo'o there's comfort to be taken in knowing you've done the preparation and you're good to go.
Is that fitness and experience going to get you the win at Margaret River?
I hope so! Not going to die wondering.
Good luck Joel.
Thanks a lot!
By Chris Binns for Off The Lip, brought to you by Drug Aware
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach - Update
Joel Parkinson (AUS) continued his love affair with Bells in Men’s Round 1, taking a solid lead over opponents Glenn Hall (IRL) and Miguel Pupo (BRA) with two mid-range scores. The three-time Rip Curl Pro winner looked fired up after his result on the Gold Coast and put on a display of rail surfing to stay on top. A wave from Pupo came just after the final buzzer so wasn’t scored, leaving the 2012 World Champion to take the win.