Joel Parkinson to be inducted into Australian Surfing Hall of Fame after stellar career

Former world champion surfer Joel Parkinson is to be inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Parkinson will be its 44th inductee and follows in the footsteps of his good mate Mick Fanning, who was inducted last year.

The 41-year-old retired from professional competition three years ago and now lives on the southern Gold Coast with his wife and children.

He holds several titles, including world junior champion in 1999 and 2000, and world champion in 2012 — for which he was runner-up in 2002, 2004, 2009 and 2011.

Despite a long career of two decades, Parkinson, known as Parko in the surfing community, said he was shocked to be inducted alongside world greats and called it a lifelong dream.

“When I first found out, I was gobsmacked,” he said.

“I thought all my years of getting awards or trophies was over.”

Joel Parkinson wins at Bells Beach in 2011, defeating good friend Mick Fanning.(Supplied: Kirstin Scholtz (ASP))

He said becoming a world champion was something that every kid dreamt about.

“I’m still a surfer at heart.

“I still feel like I’m a bit of a grommet in some ways, and I think that’s the beauty about surfing — it really keeps you young.”

Joel Parkinson competing in France
Joel Parkinson slashes the top of a wave in France.(Supplied: WSL/Poullentot)

Never missed a day

Parkinson was born in Nambour on the Sunshine Coast where his love for surfing first ignited.

By the age of 13 he had moved to the Gold Coast where he started surfing alongside locals Mick Fanning and Dean Morrison, and his hobby soon became a passion.

“It really got me when I was in Year 5,” he said.

“I was playing football and I was still surfing a bit.”

By the time he started Year 6, and over a Christmas break he will “never forget”, it had become a daily occurrence.

“I never missed another day of surfing,” Parkinson said.

Along with Fanning and Morrison, he went on to re-establish Australia as a powerhouse of men’s world professional surfing. 

A man standing next to a surf board looking at pictures on a wall.
Joel Parkinson will become the 44th inductee in the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame.(ABC Gold Coast: Tara Cassidy)

No one ‘more deserving’

Surfing Australia CEO Chris Mater congratulated Parkinson on his upcoming induction and said his impact on Australian surfing had been “immense”.

“He’s paved the way for more than one generation of Aussie surfers, inspired us all with his beautiful style, and proved himself as an ultimate competitor [by] coming second in the world title race four times,” he said.

“He finally bagged the world title in 2012.

Parkinson will be inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame on the Gold Coast on Saturday, joining other names such as Peter Crawford, Stephanie Gilmore, Col Smith and Layne Beachley.

A man speaking to media at a press conference.
Joel Parkinson won his first world junior championship in 1999.(ABC Gold Coast: Tara Cassidy)

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Reference-www.abc.net.au

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