Another legend calls it a day.
Last week I asked if Parko has one last victory left in him at J-Bay. This week brings news that, whether he does or not, 2018 will be his last time surfing in a singlet there. The big fella is calling it a day, with Pipe to be the final event of what has been a pretty stellar career. He broke the news via Instagram yesterday and also dropped a choreographed but feel-good clip of himself giving the early word to fellow legends Occy and Mick on a recent trip down the coast.
‘I have no more fire or desire to want to win,’ says Joel at the beginning of the clip, confirming what many fans have suspected for a while.
With Taj and Mick having already rode off into the sunset and Joel preparing to join them, the 2019 tour is going to be a different looking place for those of us who grew up watching these icons. It’s the end of an era. One that spawned four world titles (seven if you throw in Andy), countless victories, and a whole generation of surfers influenced in a proud and lasting way by their inimitable wave-riding abilities. Hopefully that influence continues. Hopefully they throw clips at us like apples across a school quadrangle.
When he’s gone, we’ll remember Parko for a lot of reasons. We’ll remember the world title that seemed forever in the wings but finally came with a win at Pipe in 2012. We’ll remember him and Mick in the Waves classic Doped Youth as the legendary Greasy and Lemmy. We’ll remember a hundred other sections from a hundred other vids, but most of all, we’ll remember that style. Smooth as spun silk and all too easy on the eye. One of the classiest to ever stand up on a surfboard.
But for now, Parko has the remaining events of 2018 left, so before we get all teary-eyed and nostalgic, we get to enjoy watching him on the world stage one last time. Judging by his win in the opening round at J-Bay last night, the announcement could bring out the best in his surfing. Against current world number one Julian Wilson and plucky local wildcard Matthew McGillivray, the thirty-seven-year-old showed there’s still no one on tour who looks as timeless and graceful on a reeling Jeffreys’ wall as he does. Hopefully he can take it all the way and put on a final masterclass at the iconic righthander.
The word style is not going to mean the same thing without him.