Parkinson scores perfect 20 at the Pipeline Masters
Joel Parkinson surfed a perfect heat to etch his name in the history books at the Billabong Pipeline Masters. The current World No. 4 scored two perfect 10s to become the only surfer to earn a perfect 20 out of 20 heat total at Pipeline.
“I never thought I would get two perfect 10s,” Parkinson said. “It's not something you hear about every day, so I’d never really thought about doing it. I definitely claimed it like I had won an event for a second, but then I had to settle down and tell myself, 'All you did was make a heat!’ The next heat I paddle out for, I'll have to remember that."
Nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) is the only other surfer to score a perfect 20 out of 20. He did so in a 2005 final at Teahupoo, Tahiti to win the contest.
"Kelly did it in unreal fashion, mine was a just in a third round heat, but it's at Pipe and it's definitely something that when I grow old, I’ll think, ‘I did something in my career; my name's next to Kelly’s on that one,’" Parkinson said.
Parkinson finished fifth in Halewia and Sunset – the first two legs of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing – and with Nos. 1 and 2 Payne and C.J. Hobgood (USA) losing today, has a good chance to take it out.
"That was a big heat for the Triple Crown for sure,” Parkinson said. “I have to start thinking more about the Triple Crown now. I have to forget about those 10s and start surfing heats from now on and not get too ahead of myself."
Slater surfed his first heat since clinching ASP World Title No. 9 today and was not surprised by Parkinson’s performance earlier in the day.
“I’d expect Parko to be the guy to do that.” Slater said. “He is such a magnet and not every guy can get in sync like Parko does; he gets on a roll and it gets scary. He will probably go on to win the Triple Crown judging from the heat he had today.”
Slater has won the Pipeline Masters a record five times, but is taking a very laid back approach to the event in 2008. He has already won five events of the nine he has competed in this season.
“A win at Pipe would be great, but to be honest with you, it doesn’t really matter at this point,” Slater said. “Not that Pipe doesn’t matter, but I’m just enjoying not having the constant contest stress. If I win it is definitely a huge bonus, but in a way, I’d like to see somebody else win – someone who hasn’t won it before. I’ve got a couple, Andy’s got a couple, Bede won one last year. Maybe it’s Parko’s year or maybe Brucey will pull off another win here to finish his year off.”
Bruce Irons (HAW) won’t win the Pipeline Masters this year. He lost a very close heat to Tom Whitaker (AUS) this afternoon. Irons has requalified for the 2009 ASP World Tour, but has unofficially said he will retire from full-time competition.
Defending Pipeline Masters and Vans Triple Crown Champion Bede Durbidge (AUS) is into Round 4 after eliminating wildcard Shane Dorian (HAW) today. The heat was Durbidge’s first of the event having been seeded directly into Round 3.
"To beat Shane was a feat in itself so it’s great to start off with a hard heat and get through that,” Durbidge said. “Hopefully I can get the momentum going and just keep going."
World No. 3 Taj Burrow (AUS) lost today which assures Durbidge a career-best World No. 2 rating behind Slater. Interestingly, if Parkinson wins the event and Durbidge loses in the next round, they would both finish the year with 6780 points.
"I looked at the ratings today and I think Taj was the only one who could beat me,” Durbidge said. “If Joel wins then we’re tied so hopefully I can just keep going and I won’t have to worry about it. It would be good to win the Triple Crown again as well."
The Billabong Pipeline Masters will not determine an event champion today. Small surf and stormy weather has prompted event organizers to call the contest off for the day.
Pires, who injured himself during a free surf at Backdoor more than a week ago, suffers from a pinched nerve at the back of his neck and was recommended not to surf at the infamous Banzai Pipeline with this weakness.
The Billabong Pipeline Masters, final event on the 2008 ASP World Tour, was blessed with epic five to seven foot waves for its kick off, with two of four current Dream Tour Europeans getting their start in the event and ending up with different fates.