POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 22, 2010
Seven months of frustration turned into a day of elation for Australia's Joel Parkinson yesterday.
Parkinson won the Reef Hawaiian Pro men's surfing contest yesterday at Haleiwa Alii Beach. It was his first contest following a seven-month hiatus due to a foot injury.
"I would have been happy just to surf in the first heat," he said. "To come back and win ... regardless of what place I got, I was just stoked to be back. That's all I kept telling myself, and it worked for me."
The final day of the four-day contest was staged in wave-face heights of 6 to 12 feet at Alii Beach.
Parkinson proved that he is not just recovered from the injury, he is once again a contender for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing championship.
Reef Hawaiian Pro
1. Joel Parkinson (Australia), $20,000
2. Joel Centeio (Hawaii), $10,000
3. Julian Wilson (Australia), $5,100
4. Heath Joske (Australia), $4,900
5. Tie: Tom Whitaker (Australia) and Granger Larsen (Hawaii), $3,000
7. Tie: Daniel Ross (Australia) and Adrian Buchan (Australia), $2,900
9. Tie: Ben Dunn (Australia), Mick Fanning (Australia), Taj Burrow (Australia) and Adam Melling (Australia), $2,400
13. Tie: Brett Simpson (California), Alejo Muniz (Brazil), Dusty Payne (Hawaii) and Blake Thornton (Australia), $2,100
Parkinson, 29, is the two-time defending champion of the Triple Crown, and only one other surfer in history has won the prestigious title three years in a row (Sunny Garcia, 1992-94).
Parkinson won yesterday's 35-minute final in dominating fashion. He was the only surfer in the four-man final to ride two quality waves. His two best waves received scores of 7.83 and 7.17 for a total of 15.0
None of the other three surfers even reached double-digit points.
"You could feel the swell just was dying," Parkinson said. "If the wave was going to break, you needed to be on it and not let anyone else get on it. I got two waves and that's all I needed."
Parkinson received $20,000 for the victory, and dedicated the win to Kauai's Andy Irons, the former three-time world champion who died unexpectedly earlier this month. Parkinson and Irons were members of the Billabong-sponsored surf team.
"That's for you, A.I., that's for you brother," is what Parkinson said he was thinking after completing his best wave in the final.
Joel Centeio of Haleiwa placed second, one year after winning the Reef Hawaiian Pro. Centeio received a score of 6.17 for his first wave in the opening minutes, but then had to sit and wait as the ocean went flat for nearly 25 minutes of the 35-minute heat.
"I knew the swell was dying, but I was trying to be patient," Centeio said. "Mother Nature didn't throw me one."
Centeio received $10,000 and is right behind Parkinson in the Triple Crown standings. "I'm going into Sunset in second place, so hopefully I can do well there," he said.
Australians Julian Wilson and Heath Joske placed third and fourth, respectively. As proof of the frustrating conditions, Wilson did not catch a wave for the first 28 minutes of the heat.
Centeio was one of only two Hawaii surfers to make it past the quarterfinals. Granger Larsen of Maui was eliminated in the semifinals.