• Parko Claims Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay

JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa (Wednesday, July 15, 2009) - 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.

"Wow - 10 years seems to go by really fast," Parkinson said. "I've enjoyed coming here every year since that first one, and it's been a pretty incredible trip since then. To bring it together 10 years down the track, it's a pretty special feeling and all I can say is that it's a fantastic event and I'll be coming here as long as I can."

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."

Unfortunately for Hobgood, inconsistency plagued the back half of his Final clash with Parkinson, and the Floridian was unable to find a rhythm in the challenging conditions. However, today's Runner-Up finish marks second career result at the venue for Hobgood (the other to Slater in 2003), an impressive feat for a goofy-footer.

"It's an honor to come here every year," Hobgood said. "The place is magical and it's just so beautiful. It's easy to get distracted by how beautiful it looks when waves are coming down the point. Joel (Parkinson) opened up with that really good wave and at that point, the only thing I could do was pray for an 8-footer to come through. It's not an easy wave for goofy-footer's to excel at, but I feel really fortunate to finish in the Final. It's a great result for me."

1 -
Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.97
2 - Damien Hobgood (USA) 6.44

SF 1:
Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.83 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 16.47
SF 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.73 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 13.67

QF 1:
Kai Otton (AUS) 16.17 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 10.83
QF 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.66 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 10.83
QF 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 19.20 def. Sean Holmes (ZAF) 9.84
QF 4: Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.73 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 14.30

Heat 6:
Dane Reynolds (USA) 15.66 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.83
Heat 7: Taylor Knox (USA) 12.57 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 6.04
Heat 8: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.60 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.97

1 -
Joel Parkinson (AUS) 5076 pts
2 - C.J. Hobgood (USA) 3672 pts
3 - Adriano de Souza (BRA) 3613 pts
4 - Taj Burrow (AUS) 3460 pts
5 - Damien Hobgood (USA) 3374 pts
6 - Bobby Martinez (USA) 3357 pts
7 - Mick Fanning (AUS) 3350 pts
8 - Kelly Slater (USA) 3030 pts
9 - Tom Whitaker (AUS) 2942 pts
10 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) 2896 pts