Parkinson Claims Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, Solidifies ASP Ratings Lead
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, has claimed the 2009 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay in clean three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) surf over Damien Hobgood (USA), 30, strengthening his stranglehold on the ASP World Tour ratings lead.
Stop No. 5 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay will go down as one of the finest in history, with the two final days of competition enjoying pumping surf and amazing performances, culminating in today’s exciting finale. Parkinson wasted no time in the 40-minute Final, smashing an excellent 9.47 out of a possible 10 on his opening wave. The wave exhibited the Australian’s unparalleled mastery of the Jeffreys Bay lineup, a symphony of beautiful forehand arcs and committed barrel riding, taking off from “Boneyards” section at the top of the point and riding well over 200 metres to the eruption of crowds on the beach. “I knew the waves were dying down towards the end of the day and it was going to be important to get on the board early in Final,” Parkinson said. “I’ve been sitting up the point at Boneyards for most of the event and trying to find the ones that would run all the way down the point – that one was no different. As I stood up I had a really nice line on it and I tried to make the most of it. Turned out to be a crucial part of the heat.” Today’s win comes 10 years after Parkinson’s inaugural victory at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, last ascending the winner’s dais in 1999 when he competed as a wildcard. Throughout the competition, time-and-again, Parkinson proved to be the form surfer, collecting two Perfect 10s (Round 3, Semifinals) as well as several 9-point plus rides as he deftly advanced through five heats of battle. This victory marks the phenomenal natural-footer’s third ASP Dream Tour win this year alone, strengthening his position as frontrunner in the race for the ASP World Title. “The conditions for this event were just unbelievable and the surfing speaks for itself,” Parkinson said. “The past two days are a bit of a blur – so many massive scores and barrels from everyone. In terms of the world title, I do my best not to think about it. In the past, I’ve done my head in by wondering how many points behind or ahead of someone I am, and this season, I’ve just focused on the task at hand. I’ve had a good start, but it’s a long year and a lot can happen. I’m looking forward to heading home to see my family and training hard for the next one.” Kelly Slater (USA), 37, reigning nine-time ASP World Champion and past four-time winner of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, fell to compatriot Knox in their Round 3 bout this morning. Starting the year with three uncharacteristic 17th place finishes, Slater rebounded with a win in Brazil last week, and was poised to threaten the current tour frontrunners with a strong showing in South Africa. However, today’s equal 9th place finish and current ASP World No. 8 rating make a potential charge for an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title much more challenging for the Floridian. “I’m going to probably have to win three straight now to get back in this thing,” Slater said. “If you do the numbers, I think before this contest, Parko (Joel Parkinson) was ten heats ahead of me, and if I want to contend, I need to catch up. That obviously wasn’t happening for me today.” The next stop on the 2009 ASP World Tour will be the Hurley Pro Trestles in Southern California from September 13 – 19, 2009.