COOLANGATTA, QLD/Australia (Sunday, January 20, 2012) – Last night thousands of friends, family and fans of Joel ‘Parko’ Parkinson converged on the shores of Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast to celebrate his 2012 ASP World Title.
The Snapper Rocks car park was transformed into a festival site with music stage, big screens, food stalls and kids games as the Coolangatta surfing community of all ages gathered to honour their latest world champion.
“It was incredible!” Said an overwhelmed Parko. “I looked out from the stage and there were hundreds of faces – friends, family, surfing mates – all these people who’ve helped me over the years to get to the title, and they were all here for me which was pretty humbling.”
Joining Joel on stage were current ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, and current ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone. All three surf for Snapper Rocks Boardriders Club, and the three acknowledged the role the club has played in their surfing development. Also in attendance were Coolangatta’s other World Champions; Mick Fanning, Mark Occhilupo and Rabbit Bartholomew.
Parko was presented with a coffee table tribute book celebrating his career by Billabong founder, Gordon Merchant. This year marks Parko’s 20th year as a Billabong team rider, while Billabong this year celebrates its 40th year milestone. A digital version of Parko’s tribute book can be found at www.billabong.com.au
Aussie rockers Wolfmother headlined the evening, with world champions Parko, Mick Fanning, Steph Gilmore and Occy all joining the band on stage for their closing number.