- 15 December 2012 | Surfing
Joel Parkinson has conquered the 2012 ASP World Tour, in a dramatic photo finish race lived and surfed at the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons.
The 30th anniversary of the Triple Crown had to deliver one of the most incredible days in the history of surfing, with a building westerly swell and trade winds pumping at the iconic Hawaiian break.
Kelly Slater, the hunter and the greatest competitive surfer ever, wanted it all, for the 12th. Joel Parkinson was chasing his first ASP World Tour title for 12 years.
Slater was forced to do better than Joel Parkinson. In the morning, the 11-time world surfing champion had a tough encounter: Gabriel Medina and Josh Kerr in Round 4 of the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons.
After having to surf and win the Round 5 against Miguel Pupo, Slater put the pressure on Parkinson's shoulders, as the Australian had to keep moving in the competition to maintain his world title hopes.
In the Quarterfinals, Parkinson took over CJ Hobgood. Kelly Slater had a friend to beat: Shane Dorian. And what a battle in the Backdoor heaven, with a perfect 10 and a final decision after the buzzer.
Again, pressure was back on Joel Parkinson, in the Semifinal against Damien Hobgood. The Australian nearly survived the heat and Slater was coming up to meet Josh Kerr. All nervous systems activated. Waves didn't come and Slater saw the Aussies opening the beer cans. Who is actually Joel Parkinson?
"One day you wake up feeling good the next day you wake up feeling like a loser. This morning I felt like a Champion when I woke up. Like Andy always said 'I got this, huh?' I dedicate this to my family, Dad who used to take me to contests when I was 10, my wife and my mom and kids, this is all for us," said Parkinson.
The Australian went on to defeat Josh Kerr and claim his first Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons and his first victory of the 2012 ASP World Tour season. It couldn't get any better.
Portuguese surfing fans have reasons to smile. Tiago Pires secured a qualifying seat at the 2013 ASP World Tour, in the last 30 seconds of the Josh Kerr versus Yadin Nicol clash. The Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons 2012 was a memorable event.