Nightmares and Dreams
Year after year, Pipeline delivers moments that are etched indelibly into surfing history.
Joel Parkinson, the defending Billabong Pipeline Masters champion and 2012 ASP Men’s World Champion, has experienced the agony and ecstasy of competing at Pipe and reflects on a couple of those moments...
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In 2009 when I lost to Mick, that feeling was heart wrenching. I walked down the side of this house here at Pipe and punched the crap out of the wall and blew my knuckles up, and that feeling of all the hard work and the disappointment of being so close… Halfway through that year I really started thinking, “This is it Joel, it’s gonna happen.” Then I blew my ankle out and it all went away. And Mick was amazing. He surfed an amazing couple of events that year and came back with a vengeance. That year lives with me more than anything. I lost the title because of my ankle and it came down to just a few heats in the end. It’ll always haunt me to lose that lead after being so far in front.
To go down and chair Mick up the beach straight after I’d lost in 2009, it was hard. It was really hard to get out of the house and walk down there but once I was down there I was stoked because I could see his excitement and he was crying in joy of his Title. I knew deep down I had to do it but I was so angry and frustrated at the time, and I just wanted answers, I wanted to know why things had happened the way they did and I didn’t want to leave that thought process to go congratulate the guy who’d beat me. Once I got down there though it was all sweet again. I felt good that I’d done it and I was so glad I hadn’t just locked myself in my room and let that moment go. It was a tough moment but if I hadn’t gone down there and carried Mick up I’d be living in regret the rest of my life.
“In 2012 it was so much different between Mick and I. He knew coming into Pipe that he was a real long shot to win the world title. He had a pretty relaxed attitude because he needed a miracle. Even if Kelly and I had both lost out early, Mick put himself as the 100/1 shot. Mick lost out early to Shano and as soon as he lost his heat he sent me a really good text saying, “Go hard, I’ll be in your corner, I’ll be waiting on the beach for you.” And he was, the first guy there when I hit the beach after the final. I knew he’d be there and it was so awesome that he was.”