• PARKO and FRIENDS - Joels New Book


A palm-fringed limestone reef. Boards in hand. The Telo Islands. Three pm. A Tuesday.

Joel: “I’m thinking about doing a book.”

Editor: “What’s your book about?”

Joel: “I dunno… a book.”

editor: “What kind of book?”

Joel: “I dunno… stories, photos. A book.”

Editor: “That doesn’t narrow it down much.”

Joel: “I want a book about me that’s not all about me.”

Editor: “Hmm, a book about you that’s not all about you…”

And so Joel’s Book is born…

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I’ve wanted to do a book for a long time now and I finally pulled my finger out and did it. Okay, when I say “I”, I mean the Flying Pineapple guys mainly, but putting up with them for a year while they did it was pretty hard work on my behalf, so they can’t take all the credit.

When I was a kid I loved my magazines, but I loved my surf books even more. I remember an old book called Surfing Wild Australia. It had a sunset on the cover, I think it was taken at The Wreck in Byron. It had all these incredible photos from around Australia… I think Gnaraloo was in there, Tassie. But Dad had heaps of surf books and I’d lose myself in ‘em for days.

But I wanted to do a book that wasn’t all about me. I didn’t want to do a bio, not yet. I wanted a book that was going to capture the people and places I go… and maybe throw a bit of myself in there for good measure. Most places I go to regularly I’ve been going to for 10 years now, and I’ve been lucky to meet some amazing crew and in that time share some good times and good waves with them. When you travel and stay with friends in other places around the world for long enough, it goes beyond having a roof over your head, you actually become family to these guys and vice versa. Some of my best friends today live half a world away, and I’m lucky that I’ve been given the chance to travel and hang with them at their place. It’s a very cool thing to have, and it’s something common to a lot of surfers who travel around. Surfing’s just got that power to bring people together.

So for most of last year as I travelling around we were catching up and talking story with my friends in Hawaii, J-Bay, Angourie, Tahiti and a heap of other magic little places. There’s some all-time stories in there; me and Rasta cruising through Europe in an old van, the tuna that almost cost me a heat in Fiji, Occy wrestling the seagull in Gnaraloo. And there are some pretty epic photos in there, the best photos of me from the last couple of years as well as photos of my friends and the places they live. Jonny Frank and Shorty did most of the photography, and there are some gems.

I just wanted a book that made people appreciate all the good times and good friends surfing has given ‘em.

PARKO+FRIENDS launches in Australia on February 18 and is available in bookshops or Billabong stockists. It will be launched in Europe and the US later this year.

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